It’s a … !

That’s right! Chic Geek and Chemistry Freak is expecting something wonderful this August! Everyone is so excited about this life-changing event!

That’s right. You guessed it.

It’s a …

Graduate School!

Oh, wait. Did you think I was pregnant?

Nope, no baby. But it is a wonderful life-changing event, and it is happening this August. (Well, actually, this June since I’ll start my work in a lab then, but the “official” first day of grad school is in August.)

Why am I making such a big deal about this? Because it is a big deal! And not just for me but for anyone celebrating something momentous in their lives, be it a new degree program, a job promotion, or an actual baby. šŸ™‚ We have parties for gender reveals, engagements, and weddings, but the only time we celebrate something non-family related is graduating from high school. And while all the family-related events in our lives are important and deserve to be celebrated, why should that take away from the other life-impacting events?

I’m a single woman; I don’t have kids, and I’m not that far away from 30. This is not the opening line to a “Woe is me, I don’t have a man, and my biological clock is ticking” tirade. I love being single. I love getting up and working and only having to focus on that. Before you start feeling sorry for me, my work is very fulfilling to me and it’s a multi-faceted job. I’m never bored, and I always feel like I have a purpose.

I like being able to go and do whatever I please, whenever I please. In the last year alone I took trips to Chicago, New York, and Israel, and I got to do everything at my own pace. I like that my apartment is MINE. I only ever had one experience with a roommate during a summer internship and I vowed I would never have another one. Seriously, if I ever do get married, my husband will have his own place.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m not good at compromising.

I may never get married. And you know what? I would be perfectly fine with that. Sure, there are times I wish I had a husband. Like when I have a car full of groceries and I have to schlep them all the way up to my third-floor apartment alone. Or when the place is a mess, I’ve had a long day at work, and I have to cook and clean by myself. Or when I’ve had a bad day and I want someone to talk to. But then I realize that I can call up my brothers or sisters or one of my many amazing friends and talk to them instead. And also, once I get my Ph.D., I’ll be able to afford someone to help me with the household chores. I just need to hold out until then. šŸ™‚

You may read this and think, “You’re finding fulfillment in only temporary situations. What are you going to do when you’re work isn’t as fulfilling, and you get tired of being alone?”

I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. Maybe then I’ll finally be ready to compromise. šŸ˜‰

And in the meantime, I’m going to kick up my heels and celebrate every possible moment I can. So, in the spirit of celebration, I’m instituting a new trend: the grad school reveal party! In a couple weeks, I’m going to announce to family and friends which grad school I chose at which to pursue my Ph.D. by giving each of my parents a gift from said school. I’m even Skyping in the brothers who live out of state. We’ll eat and play games and just enjoy having a reason to get together and have some fun.

Isn’t that the whole point of celebrating? It doesn’t really even matter what the reason is (as long as it’s positive; no reason to celebrate Uncle Merlin’s death).

But it’s nice to show others that we’re proud of them for the wise choices they’ve made; the hard work they’ve invested; and all of the benefits that have come as a result. Not everyone is cut out for marriage and parenthood (looking at you, Henry VIII); but that shouldn’t make them any less worthy of a good celebration.

Too many people, especially women, are defined by others regarding whether or not they have the capability to “attract a mate” and are fertile enough. Again, don’t get me wrong: marriage and kids are great things to have. But not everyone wants them at the same time. Some of us are going to be older than others, some younger. Some may not even bother.

Maybe if we celebrated other important life events, such as successes at school and at work, we would develop a more inclusive attitude. Maybe we would in some indirect way boost the confidence of those who are waiting for the right person or their first baby to come along and make them feel like a necessary part of society in spite of the fact that they haven’t started their own families yet.

We have enough pressure on us as it is, women and men alike. We’re pressured to go to school, get good jobs, make money, and support ourselves in a nice middle-class style (at least). Many people sacrifice their dreams in the name of being “responsible” so they can earn a better paycheck. (Though sometimes it can be a necessary sacrifice; if you’re looking to be the next famous modern artist, you may have to get used to living with Mom and Pop for a while. But that doesn’t mean your day won’t come.)

And today it doesn’t seem to matter how qualified you are, even in STEM; the jobs are still pretty difficult to come by. Unless you were writing code at age 10 to analyze MLB statistics and mastered French and Mandarin and had also published a novel or two, your chances of being a shoo-in for your dream job are slim to none. Instead, you have to take the jobs that come to you, gain experience, and then eventually pursue your dream job.

And most people get there as long as they keep working at it and don’t lose sight of their goals. But that takes a lot of time and patience, things that always seem to be too far out of reach. That’s why all of these accomplishments deserve to be celebrated.

You landed your first job? Good for you!

You got that promotion you’ve been working toward for so long? So great to hear!

You finally told off your boss and left for another job? You go, girl!

You got your dream job? I couldn’t be more happy for you!

And each of those above scenarios should follow up with, “LET’S PARTYYYYY!!!!!”

Peace, Prosperity, and Organic Photovoltaics

Chic Geek and Chemistry Freak

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