Life as wife to a student during “exam time”

Exam time: a time of hibernation, recluse, and perhaps a little bit of Facebook procrastination if you can find the time. Now I’ve been out this whole student loop for 2 years now (boy, graduation and all those hours in the lab sure feel like many more moons ago), but that doesn’t mean it’s completely over for me. Aside for my friends (90% still students) who are far too busy to do any social plans, my dearest husband is also studying (he also holds a job at the same time). The plans are for these to be the last of his exams for his honours degree.

I found last year, our first “exam time” as a married couple, particularly difficult. I was lonely and bored, I felt Greg didn’t have time for me, we still tried to work around splitting the household chores, and tried to split Sundays so that he could study, but we could also go out. And he only had 2 exams. This year though (strangely), “exam time” has been almost painless. The irony? I spent time completely on my own, do most of the household work alone, go to sleep well before the night’s studying is over, spend Sundays doing my own thing and Greg has 4 exams, so it’s a lot more studying time he needs to dedicate.

Perhaps it was just being more prepared after last year, and knowing what to expect. Perhaps I’d just come to terms with it.

But I think that I’ve more than just accepted it. I actually want to do all these things. Why? Because I want Greg’s studying to be effortless (well, aside for the hours of studying). Now, this is his focus, and it’s not entirely fair for me to expect otherwise. I don’t want him to have to worry about dinner and dishes etc etc. So yes, every night I come home straight from work, make dinner and only finish everything I have to do at around 9pm (where I promptly get straight into bed).

I guess I’ve become less selfish. I was obviously a needier wife than I ever thought I was. I wasn’t annoying, but back then my “younger”, “newly-married” self clearly just didn’t get the balance (or how the lack of it was ok in that situation). I feel I get it now, and I think I’ve become a better wife from it. You know when you don’t realise how much you can change and grow, until you actually look back?

Instead of being upset about having to take care of dinner on my own every night, I do it without even thinking. Tables set and wine included. Instead of moping about being lonely, I’ve started to enjoy my own company more (and I’ve almost finished an entire season of Pretty Little Liars – I don’t remember when I last sat and watched a series of my choice). I don’t moan about going to bed early and alone, because I know I’m gymming early in the mornings, which is something want and will benefit from. Sundays? I can spend as long as I like leisurely shopping at Mr Price, visit my parents, slouch and do nothing… again, just enjoying my own company.

(Side note: I’m actually very good at enjoying my own company. My radio got ripped out of my car while I was a student, and I never got around to replacing it, so I spend many a morning/afternoon drive in my head. On Saturday afternoon I spent a good hour entertaining my own thoughts. On nothing in particular. Nothing stressful or “on my mind”, just following where my thoughts go and really enjoying the journey they took me on. Things I’m doing, excited for, want to cook, want to buy… it’s a fun activity, you should try it.)

The point of this isn’t really to be gushy about what a great wife I’ve been, or how much more housework I’m doing than usual, or how noble I am allowing Greg to study. The truth it’s only a few weeks of really hard-core studying. During the year when it’s not exam pressure, it’s a lot easier to find that work/university/home/life. It’s just something I’ve been thinking about, and it’s made me realised how much I’ve changed. How my priorities and my thinking on things have changed. It’s funny to think how “immature” or how “needy” (urgh, a word I’ve never associated myself with…) I clearly was. I guess everyone has their flaws, different phases, which always leave room for growth and change.

It’s always nice to notice yourself moving forward.



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