2 Years & 43 Weeks Married | PhD Year 2, DONE!!!

Jake officially finished PhD Year 2!!!!!!! We survived another year! (just 3 more to go!)

While the quarter officially ended back in June, Jake and his peers had until the end of July to turn in their Year 2 Papers (basically research papers for their chosen fields within Economics). For anyone who is curious, Jake’s fields are Labor and Theory. And for anyone who is curious even further, Jake’s Labor paper is about “overtime and injury” and his Theory paper is about “recruiters and what type of job applicants they choose to hire.” At this point, even Cindy can probably tell you about the papers since she’s heard Jake present it so many times!

It’s been a stressful month, let alone week, as Jake finished up his papers.  Now that the papers are turned in, a huge weight has been lifted. We’ve been taking it easy and enjoying the momentary stress-free life.

Last year we shared our worries and concerns going in to Year 1 of PhD. Even though we adjusted quickly to Jake being back in school, Year 2 presented us with new challenges. Jake was definitely busier this year and “time” was our main enemy.

On top of his coursework and research, Jake had to TA this year in order to continue receiving his stipend. Jake was excited to TA and actually enjoyed teaching, but it was extremely time consuming. He spent a lot of time prepping his sections and EVEN MORE time grading. It’s no secret grading sucks, but we didn’t realize just how dreadful it is. It seemed like once Jake finished grading one assignment, another popped up to grade. The worst part was when students would ask for regrades– especially regrades on finals– because that meant Jake would spend his vacation (or as Cindy likes to think of it– her time with Jake) grading!

Fortunately Jake received a scholarship that allows him to continue receiving his stipend without having to TA next year. We’re both really happy– Jake especially because this means he can dedicate more time on his research.

To celebrate being done with Year 2, Jake planned a little date night! He made scallops for dinner, we did a virtual murder mystery escape room, and then drove around our neighborhood looking for raccoons. We realized this was our first “date night” since quarantine started… It was nice to have that scheduled quality time!

Year 3 will look very different– not just because UCLA is continuing with distance education until, at least, Winter Quarter, but more so because Jake will no longer have to take classes. Years 3 thru whenever you graduate are devoted to gathering data and writing your thesis. There’s a lot less structure and more independent work, which is where Jake thrives. He might also use this opportunity to learn Chinese at UCLA! Cindy is super excited about that, but we agreed to see how Year 3 starts out before committing Jake to learning a new language.


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