When my soon-to-be wife first raised her desire to ‘go back and do my PhD’, I was naively supportive. Who doesn’t want to tell their high school friends they married a doctor? Who doesn’t dream of free airline upgrades, and that post-PhD salary cascading zeros into their shared bank account? However, as she began her study, it became eminently clear I had drastically under-estimated the sheer amount of time, energy and, let’s be honest, endless boring conversations completing a PhD requires.
For much of the next three years I felt I was cohabitating with a distracted, zombie-like creature who seemed intent on turning our lounge into some kind of double-spaced A4 nest. The paper piled up, the tension increased, and the will to live drained from my body like ink drained from our $14 inkjet printer. It probably didn’t help that she was somehow working ‘part time’ (ie still making more than me) throughout this period.
The above aside, if there was one overwhelming emotion I recall from this time, it was pride. If not a little awe. Undertaking a PhD is such an incredibly brave (and masochistic?) thing to do. Having seen the process at close quarters, I have nothing but respect for my wife – and all who take up the challenge. On a personal note, the horror of witnessing a thesis come together – and a distinct lack of airline upgrades in the years to follow – has rendered me more than content with my undergraduate degree and certificate of participation from a 2004 fun run.