Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How Grad School Prepared Me For Looking After a Baby

Odd as it may seem, there are some things that grad school has done well to prepare me for surviving my maternity leave.

Here are a few:
  • I'm used to being home alone all day because I worked from home often as a student.  This is good, because it can certainly get lonely when you don't have as much contact with other adults.
  • I have learned to understand what at first seems like a whole new language (cries and babbling from the baby, new ways of thinking in papers from a new field).
  • I'm pretty good at having no structure forced on me and somehow managing to get things done.
  • I'm also an expert at being interrupted by more important things. Students suddenly needing help, baby crying...practically the same thing, right? :)
  • I have learned patience.  Lots and lots of patience.  In grad school it has been especially needed for that one paper I've tried to publish going on three times now.  I think it's obvious how it's useful with a 6 month old.
  • Good things can take time (sometimes an awful lot of it), but it's all worth it in the end.
Do you have any others?


Anonymous said...

Some level of organization is required in both instances. Admittedly babies bring Chaos but that must be countered very flexible organizational skills.

iosparkletree said...

Hi Gail, thanks for your post!! I wholeheartedly agree. Being a parent and being a grad student have a lot of similarities, and you can do both at the same time! For me, having a baby meant I had no choice but to take care of a lot of tedious things, and "waste" time not doing thesis work. Obviously, I love my child and enjoy every minute with her. But at the start, I felt that I was "losing" research time every moment I was not doing research. I don't feel that way anymore. I have a better understanding now of appreciating the moment, both when I'm immersed in parenting activities and when immersed in grad student activities. (But I'll never turn down an opportunity to get away and work on my research. LOL!)

Gail Carmichael said...

Good point! I have been making an effort to savor the moments with the baby more. :)

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