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Grad school

mynlieffm at vms.csd.mu.edu mynlieffm at vms.csd.mu.edu
Thu Nov 10 10:43:43 EST 1994

In article <94313.150112MRW5 at psuvm.psu.edu>, Melisande <MRW5 at psuvm.psu.edu> writes:
>As a graduate student, I was wondering about reactions people
>about my dogs (we've been having some health problems that had
>to be taken care of), but that's certainly different than a child
>who absolutely can't be left home alone all day.

	I agree with Linda Evers, if you are still in your twenties I wouldn't
rush to have kids.  You aren't even married yet.  Take time to concentrate on
grad school and spend some time uninterupted with your husband after you get
married.  If you have a baby in grad school you will probably need extra time
to graduate.  Even if your fiance is a non-scientist with a real job he is
probably just starting out and finances may be tight.  Good quality daycare is
expensive.  I would recommend waiting until you are a post-doc.  At that time
you will have very few commitments outside of doing pure research (no exams
like a student, or teaching/grant writing/committees like a faculty member). 
It might extend your post-doctoral years slightly but that is the most
reasonable time to take a break.  If your husband is making enough money it
would be a feasible time to take off 6 months or so (mine wasn't) without
damaging your scientific career.  To give you some background on my experience
- I started grad school at 21, got married at 23, got my Ph.D. at 26 and had my
first baby at 29 in the middle of my post-doc.  I had a very understanding
post-doctoral advisor and my own NRSA post-doctoral grant.  I took 10 weeks off
and then worked Wednesday through Sunday until the baby was 6 months so that
she wouldn't have to go to daycare more than 3 days a week (my husband did
weekend duty).  Before she started solid food at 5 months I once figured out
that I was either nursing her or pumping a total of 5 hours per day in addition
to working full time.  I was a post-doc for 5 years and started a job as Asst.
Prof. at 31.  My second baby is almost
6 months old and I've had a faculty position for 15 months (you figure the
math).  Luckily this one is a much speedier nurser than the first and the
pumping seems to go faster as well.  She started daycare at 6 weeks and I
worked Wednesday through Sunday during the summer months when the undergrads
were gone.  These two kids will probably be it for my husband and me so now
rather than the biological clock I have the tenure clock ticking.  And with a
new baby I feel that I am at a real disadvantage in that arena.  I'm primed to
stay late and work hard but also want to spend my evenings and weekends with my
3 year old and 6 month old.  They grow up so fast!!

Michelle Mynlieff
Dept. of Biology
Marquette University

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