We started Jake’s Ph.D. Journey exactly 4 years ago. At the time, 5 years of our lives on a reduced income and living like college students again felt like it would last an eternity. We wondered how we would fare financially with Cindy being the primary breadwinner. Would we still be able to experience major life milestones like having kids and buying a house? We worried if we would feel left behind as our friends work normal jobs and build their wealth.
At the time it felt like we were pausing the “normal” flow of life to go on this side journey.
But if this blog is any indication, our life has not paused and we’ve had more adventures than we could have ever imagined in these last 4 years. We’ve taken advantage of Jake’s summers off and traveled– taking long road trips across the U.S. and even visiting other countries. We’ve made many new friends ranging from other Ph.D. students to fellow moms & dads at the nearby park. We got to enjoy living in West LA for a few more years, soaking in that urban life. And we’ve enjoyed the flexibility that comes with being a grad student. We have been able to spend time together as a family in ways that would not have been possible with a 9-5 job.
We thought these last 4 years would drag by and that we would be counting down the days and years until we can go back to the life trajectory we were on. But these years have flown by.
And just like that, this last week, Jake officially started his 5th and final year as a Ph.D. student. It’s a little bittersweet because we’ve come to really love our life and routine over the last 4 years. We’ve planted roots and, in a city that seems so transitory, have made deep long-lasting friendships. West LA has become our home.
While we wish we could stay forever, we know our time to move on is soon approaching. Jake will go on the job market this year. It will be his hardest, busiest, and most stressful year yet. He has to finish writing his draft and then actually apply to tons of jobs. We’re excited to see where we end up. But we’re also going to try to enjoy and cherish this last year of the “grad student” life.