I went into my PhD program straight from undergrad. But most of my cohort did not. Some of them worked or got their master’s first. So they had a little more life experience than me. And with that life experience came relationships. Most of my fellow grad students were already married or in series relationships when they started grad school.
I was single during all 5 years of my PhD program. And, at times, I felt like I was missing out on something by being single.
You know how it is. Social media showing all of the engagement, wedding, and baby pics at the top of your feed.
But it wasn’t until after I finished grad school that I realized there are a lot of benefits to being single in grad school! And I’m sharing all 9 of the benefits I got in this blog post.
9 Benefits of Being Single in Grad School
When you are single throughout an experience as grueling as grad school, it can be easy to feel like you are missing out on extra support both emotionally and financially. So I wrote this post and filmed this video to show you that your singleness can provide support for you too.
More time to make friends
As a grad student, once I started making friends in my department, I was able to spend a lot of time bonding with them. We would have movie nights, game nights, and potlucks. I got to learn about new cultures and celebrate different holidays with my classmates. I was also invited to join lots of study groups!
Related Post: 9 Ways to Make Friends in Grad School
Free time = Me time
Whenever I got a much needed break from studying, teaching, research, and other duties, I was able to spend that time however I wanted. I didn’t have to spend it nurturing a relationship or catering to/respecting anyone else’s needs. I could binge Netflix shows, eat junk food, and go to the movies whenever I wanted without worrying about anyone else’s schedule.
Girls’ night all the time
When I was in grad school, me and my friends would have a girl’s night almost every week. We loved watching the Shonda shows together (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder). We would also do the occasional crafting project and attempt a Pinterest hack or make Halloween costumes together.
You can be selfish
I’m an only child, so this was easy for me. But when I was in grad school, I really didn’t have to worry about anyone else. When I was stressed out or overwhelmed, all of that anxiety was my own. When I got home, I didn’t have to consider anyone else’s feelings or stresses. And that was nice.
Easier job search experience
The nice thing about being single during a job search is that I could choose to apply for jobs wherever I wanted. I didn’t have to consider anyone else’s opinions and I didn’t have to worry about finding a job for my partner in the new town or uprooting my family. I was able to choose the perfect jobs for me!
Small salary for yourself
We all know grad students don’t get paid a lot, if at all. But the nice thing about being single in grad school is that you don’t have to spend your salary on anyone else but yourself. You could choose to eat Ramen everyday or go shopping with the cash. It’s all up to you!
Related Video: How to Survive on a Grad Student’s Budget
Build deeper friendships
Because I was able to spend so much time with my friends, I was able to develop deeper friendships. Me and my grad school besties would be together all the time. I shared an office with one of them. We would give our tests and assign homework on the same days so that we could have grading parties. The chair of the department started calling us the Three Amigos. And now that we all have jobs, we can visit each other’s towns and not have to spend money on a hotel. Whenever I go to Charlotte or Hawaii, housing is free! Enjoy the view from our sunrise hike in Hawaii!
Conference travel is easier
This is more of a benefit of not having children. But when I traveled to conferences, I could travel alone. I didn’t have to worry about making arrangements for my partner or having to bring kids along. Especially with funding for conferences, you can be funded but your family won’t be. The pic below is me and my friends from grad school having dinner at the Joint Math Meetings in 2017.
I think this is the most important benefit of being single in grad school. I was able to get to know ME in grad school! I know who I am now and therefore, I make way better decisions about dating than I would have back when I was in grad school. I know exactly what I want and I’m less likely to settle. I know my worth.
Those are the 9 benefits I got from being single in grad school. Are there any more that you’ve experienced? This post was not written to bash anyone in a relationship or with a family in grad school. When you are single, it can feel so isolating and lonely and I just wanted to let you know that you are gaining a lot as well by being single in grad school!
And finally, I’ll leave you with a few blog posts by my favorite blogger, Sheila! She always shares the best dating stories on her blog! Here are a few of my favorites: 6 Dating Red Flags to Watch Out For, My Dating Confessions, Top 7 Worst Dates
I find my self crying laughing at her all to relatable blog posts about being a millennial woman on the dating scene.
When you check out her blog, make sure you leave a comment letting her know that I sent you!