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Thread: There is no p,h, or d in romance: the graduate student dating conundrum

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    Within my grasp! zappa24's Avatar
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    There is no p,h, or d in romance: the graduate student dating conundrum

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    Before I entered the PhD program, a thought occurred to me (being a single guy) about what type of romance a person in a PhD program could start. The thought was this: there really isn't very much in the way of creating romantic opportunities in a PhD program. First and foremost is the amount time that must be devoted to classes. But, even if you find the time, the question becomes who. It is not the days of John Nash where you can go around dating your students, so people you meet through TA'ing are out. Your pretty much isolated in your own department, which rules out another source. The outside world is off limits because grad students have so few hours to devote to being in the outside world. That seems to leave other PhD students, but if the relationship becomes one of a permanent form, someone will have to sacrifice at least their short-term aspirations in favor of the significant other. It would especially be true for two people trying to get into academics, as it is unlikely for both to get academic jobs at the same or nearby schools of equal stature. When I noted that last point to the people in my study group, another person who is dating a PhD student from another program raised the same concerns.

    (Trying to summon up my best, inner Carrie Bradshaw)
    So, is it the single PhD student's lot in life to study everything but the Book of Love?
    The Ohio State University Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics and me (setting back economic theory since Fall 2007.)

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    Click My Avatar! YoungEconomist's Avatar
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    Speak for yourself, as I definitely plan to have a social life and be meeting women during grad school. I mean, why are you worried about where to meet people? That part is going to be pretty much the same as in undergrad or any other stage in your life (which is not particularly easy, but it's also not particularly difficult). Yeah, sure we all might not have a lot of free time, but that's the case for many people who still meet members of the opposite sex (or the same sex if that's your thing). Besides, why did you make it sound like you are "stuck" with PhD Econ students? There will be people in other departments, working on various masters degrees, PhDs, JDs, MBAs, etc. Not to mention undergrads (unless you feel that's off limits for you) and not to mention people you meet who aren't in college (such as recent grads). In my own personal opinion, meeting people is mostly about someone's personality, social skills, etc. So if you usually don't have much trouble meeting women, then don't sweat it, I'm sure you'll do just fine.

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    Within my grasp! zappa24's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoungEconomist View Post
    Besides, why did you make it sound like you are "stuck" with PhD Econ students? There will be people in other departments, working on various masters degrees, PhDs, JDs, MBAs, etc. Not to mention undergrads (unless you feel that's off limits for you) and not to mention people you meet who aren't in college (such as recent grads). In my own personal opinion, meeting people is mostly about someone's personality, social skills, etc. So if you usually don't have much trouble meeting women, then don't sweat it, I'm sure you'll do just fine.
    I didn't so much mean "stuck" as "more probable to be". That's one of the reasons I noted my study partner, who is going out with someone outside the department. Yet, the problem of being together and not sacrificing one's carrer for the other remains in the future remains. The problem is lessened when the degrees are different. The nature of the PhD placement process still applies: you don't know where you are going to end up. The best offer you get may not give many opportunities to your significant other. I wasn't implying that it made romance impossible (okay, maybe a little for dramatic effect), but it does create obstacles that have to be dealt with. The main point of my post was to see if anyone on the board has had similar concerns because they were dating someone who may end up with a different optimal location than he/she.

    I, luckily, will have some opportunities to get outside my department (I'm planning on trying out for one of my school's choirs.)
    The Ohio State University Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics and me (setting back economic theory since Fall 2007.)

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    zappa24's primary concern seems to boil down to the fact that it is difficult to meet your love in your PhD program courses, while dating the undergrads you TA is off-limits. Both of the listed reasons are usually true. However, I don't see how this situation is much different from a typical undergrad experience for many technical majors. I majored in a "hard" subject. The ratio of girls to boys was like 30/70 or so, and I rarely liked the girls in the same courses anyways. This is usually true at most school but not always (I have met hot female math majors and graduate econ students every once in a while but I admit those are relatively rare). So, how should you meet people? I suggest to develop a life outside of your degree program, at least after the first year exams are over. For example, cultivate genuine interests in non-academic activities of your choice and join a campus club. That's what I did during the last couple of years at my undergrad institution and met lots of great boys and girls who are not math or econ majors. Or maybe you could join graduate student government, or .. If it's not easy to meet people on college campus, then I don't know where it is..

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    I think it's really difficult to meet someone outside of grad school once you're in it. You won't have much time for anything else. I see a lot of people start dating people within their classes, TA group or across departments (i.e. find someone over at the maths dept, vice versa). But I rarely see someone date people outside of this academic environment (unless of course he/she was involved prior to starting the grad program).

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    I have a (non-grad student) friend who met and married a math PhD student on eharmony.com. Yeah, it might make you feel like a nerd, but I think once you're a PhD student (in anything really) that ship has sailed.

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    After 4 years of undergrad its hard to believe that you have not found your love yet. Well try to meet your love before you start your program. There are plenty of beautiful woman around, don't wait until you start your Phd to find one. The longer you wait, the older you get, the harder things become. Go to clubs, socialize, get connections from family/friends, get a social life. I know plenty of Phd students and trust me they make sure they enjoy life as well
    Last edited by IntEcon80; 11-25-2007 at 03:22 PM. Reason: typo

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    Quote Originally Posted by IntEcon80 View Post
    After 4 years of undergrad its hard to believe that you have not found your love yet. Well try to meet your love before you start your program.
    This may not work for internationals. It is hard to start a serious relationship knowing that you/your partner is going for 5 years completely away. Moreover, it is hard to find someone in us, if you want to return to your home country...
    at least ceteris paribus, it is more complicated and brings more opportunity costs.

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    leave it to an economist to use economics terminology twice in once sentence about meeting women :P

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    Olm
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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful. Good post? Yes | No
    Quote Originally Posted by IntEcon80 View Post
    After 4 years of undergrad its hard to believe that you have not found your love yet.
    A bigger steaming pile of **** I have never seen posted on this forum.

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