I Am a Grad School Widow*


I’ve lost my husband. He’s crossed over to a mysterious, distant plane where I cannot visit. It’s called grad school.

Oh sure, he tries to invite me into that world, showing me projects he’s working on and sharing a few stories from class. We’ve even spent time together with some of his classmates, exploring Mt. Lemmon and taking in a fantastic Bon Inver show at the Rialto.

But I know there’s so much more I’m missing. He spends his days learning and discussing site analysis, perspective drawings, AutoCAD, ASLA, UofA—subjects and acronyms I know not of. When we’re outside, he starts pointing at plants and yelling out gibberish Latin phrases that sound like Harry Potter spells. He stays up late agonizing over every detail of his schoolwork. Who is this person????

We both moved to an unfamiliar city, but Travis has a place here. A new community of which he is a real and clearly defined member. But I don’t have that. Since I telecommute and work from home for my job in Austin, I don’t have my own new daily adventure. (I stress the word new here – working in higher ed communications is definitely a daily adventure.) I’m sort of a vagabond right now. I feel left out of Travis’s new life – as much as he shares with me, I’m not an insider. And that feels weird.

But more than feeling possessive territorial selfish weird about Travis’s grad school life, I am over the moon about the fact that he’s found something he loves to do and a community that can help him do it. I love that he has a passion to get lost in.

As long as I get him back from the dead grad school eventually.

*This mildly morbid but ultimately optimistic post brought to you by recent excessive viewing of Dead Like Me. Great show, but a little twisted.

Photo by Loz Flowers

4 Responses to “I Am a Grad School Widow*”

  1. Monica O'Brien Says:

    Grad school is an empty pit of lost time. Both my husband and I are in grad. school – I graduate in December and all I can think is “Never again.”

    Part of the reason I went is actually because I knew he was going, and I thought I might need something to do.

  2. tracy Says:

    Thanks for your comment, Monica. And congrats on being nearly done with grad school!

    Sometimes I think about going back to school, but I’m not sure what degree I’d want to earn. And for all that time and money, I don’t think I’ll go back unless I feel very strongly compelled.

  3. Joseph Says:

    I just came across this as I procrastinated finishing the chapter of my senior thesis that needs to be turned in before the morning. You are such a great writer (and photographer, from the looks of your new photo blog). I’m not suddenly stalking you, I promise, but it’s nice that you have this online repository about your life. I’d like to get something similar started once I graduate. Hope you keep it up!

  4. tracy Says:

    Joseph! So glad I was able to help you avoid important school work. That’s really what blogging is for, when you get down to it. : )

    You should absolutely start a blog! I had one after I graduated from UT, but abandoned it after maybe a year. I wish I had kept one this whole time. I think it’s good for the soul.

    Hope your thesis turned out well, and fingers crossed will see you in May!

Leave a Reply

I write what I know (and love). Mostly higher education, writing and public relations.