I feel as if I've been coming across a lot of blog posts and articles about motivation lately. I just read a piece in Inside Higher Ed which suggested that grad students should find something they are looking forward to at/after graduation to use as motivation.
I am a very non-traditional grad student in the sense that I am married and a homeowner, and in that I'm essentially a commuter student, since I spend my weekends at home with my husband and my weeks up at school. This has made it very difficult for me to cultivate close personal relationships with any of my friends at school, and impossible to even find friends in my home town. After four years, this has become very draining.
Some of my lab mates had suggested in the past that they'd like to visit me at my home and tour the local college town, which is fairly well-known and has some fun activities to offer. So, last week I sent out invitations for a bunch of them to come down, visit the town, and enjoy a BBQ at my house. All but one of them bailed at the last minute. In the end, I guess they were all put off by the hour and a half drive down. I can't blame them -- I have turned down invitations in the past to do things with them over the weekend because I don't want to make the drive back to school an additional time, or lose what precious little time I have at home for an activity that maybe isn't all that exciting to me. Still, my failed attempt to gather friends at my home highlights the fact that the life I'm currently living is out of whack. Really, I'm living two lives -- a life at school and a life at home, and neither one is complete.
So, one of my motivations for graduating is knowing that when I'm through I will finally have the chance to find a local best friend. Someone who is in a similar place in life (married, homeowner, maybe with a kid on the way -- as I hope to have too once I get out of school). Someone that I can go for coffee with, or to dinner, and talk about the things happening in our lives. It will be nice.