Thursday, March 20, 2014

Professor Peregrine flies solo

What's it like for your significant other to deal with an academic?

I was just thinking last night about this topic.  You see, I’m a single female academic, so I live alone.  I don’t even have a cat.  That means that I have no one to vent to.  Sure, I could vent to Facebook, but no one wants that (to say nothing of the fact that I am “friends” with all of my colleagues.)  I could call some friends, but they probably just finished listening to their significant other vent to them about their work, or are in the midst of venting themselves.

This leaves me with two options: 1. Suck it up and 2. Talk out loud to myself and admit I’m a crazy person and THEN suck it up.

So, how do I manage?  Obviously, I suck it up.  I’m “lucky” in that there is another professor here who, while not single, is living alone and we vent to each other.  This is risky though, because of the politics involved, but it is the best solution for those times when I absolutely have to vent.

Also? This website helps.  Just reading about others’ experiences, knowing I’m not alone….that helps me suck it up.

-- Professor Peregrine


  1. Me. too - these sorts of spaces are really valuable for venting for us singles.

    I do have a cat but, being a cat, she shows me her butt and walks off as soon as I start to vent. NOT helpful.

  2. Single here, too. More or less having given up having a life for having a career. Though I've recently made some changes that I hope will have a positive effect.

  3. Me, three. Our departmental politics are all the weirder because we have a number of married couples in the department, so you often have to remember not only what projects the person to whom you're talking has contributed, but also which ones are associated with hir spouse (and there's also, of course, the whole tenure-track/non-tenure-track thing; conversations can only be so honest across that sort of class/privilege divide, especially since being married sometimes allows people to cross it -- but only with an outside offer, I'm pretty sure. Fair enough, but discouraging to those of us who don't have the option).

    Whether married or single, I think it's best to have friends outside one's own institution (or at least department), and preferably outside academia. For me, church plays that role, and also serves as a place where I can talk pretty honestly (though perhaps not at great length) about the ups and downs of academic life, while also being reminded, by our discussions about poverty, inequality, social justice, etc. that, even if I'm on the lower end of the income scale for my community/church, I really don't have it bad at all. There are also some other academics at church, but they're mostly at other institutions, so that provides another dimension to the feeling of church as a safe space for venting/comparing notes/comparing experiences.

    I've also got some thoughts on whether being an academic leads to being single, but Ben pointed out to me when I sent in a post a week or so ago that I tend to write post-length comments. So maybe I'll stick those thoughts in a file and see if I can work them up into something a bit more post-like that picks up on Academaniac's comment, and fits with the current theme. For the moment, I'll say that I have had a cat, and that (notwithstanding the characteristic cat behavior to which Grumpy alludes) I would like to have one again (they do cuddle, and purr -- or at least some of them do. I like that. And I do tend to talk to animals, whether they appear to be listening or not.). At the moment, the physical chaos of my environment would need to be considerably reduced before I could introduce any but the oldest, most sedentary feline (and I can't afford the vet bills, or the anxiety, associated with a feline of that description; been there, done that, fairly recently).

  4. Gee, whiz, if I didn't have a real-life girlfriend (and a major crush on Greta anyway), I'd say, Hello there!