Even grad students need a little bit of affection on Valentine's Day, especially when the only thing they're having is an intimate date with their studies. Anyone pursuing an advanced degree knows that it takes an extreme amount of time and patience to create a new life for yourself with better opportunities, and NCU believes that everyone has a story to share that explains their love of the journey.
You may be familiar with the 5 Love Languages: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. Each one explains a type of engagement that certain people respond to best when it comes to romance, and to make things interesting, a few of our recent alums have put their own spin on this philosophy to inspire current grad students with their efforts throughout the season.
If you find yourself cozied up to a textbook all night this Valentine's Day, keep these ideas in mind and try your best to make the memories last. Here are 5 grad student love languages to keep your academic heart burning:
1. Words of Affirmation = Defense of Dissertation
Encouraging words go a long way, so why not focus them on finishing up your biggest project? Defending your dissertation requires trust in yourself and a commitment to forging ahead with original ideas, and perhaps no one understands that more than Tim Parker. He earned his Doctor of Business Administration in Organizational Leadership in 2016 thanks to the support and persistence of his family.
"I started my journey for a degree late in life and ran into a few obstacles along the way. There were job changes, the death of a parent, raising two teens (and paying for their colleges); not unlike what many adults face. My academic frustration grew to where I was giving up at the dissertation phase. I was just done with it! But right away, my family stepped in and refused to let me quit. I finally received my diploma in the mail and that made the journey worth it. It wasn't easy and there were lots of sacrifices, but in the end, the encouragement from my family changed everything."
2. Acts of Service = Study Time
Serving others is the key to happiness, but more importantly, you have to take the time to serve yourself in order to find success. This means that grad students should take any opportunity they can to fully process information and use it to their advantage. Lisa Kluetz received her Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology with a focus in General Psychology in 2017, but it certainly demanded a great commitment and many late nights.
"Working a full time job and going to school was such a challenge. I drafted and submitted work on the weekends. I read articles during the week when I could squeak in a few moments during lunch breaks. On graduation day, I walked proudly across the stage. I was nervous and a little melancholy that it was over, but I finally did it."
3. Receiving Gifts = Earning Your Diploma
The feeling can be bittersweet. Years of hard work culminating to one moment that leaves you feeling complete, yet it marks a new beginning of possibility and exploration. Finally earning your diploma is the ultimate gift to receive that solidifies your education, and Pat Squire remembers the day vividly. With a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, she graduated in 2016 feeling a tremendous sense of relief.
"During the last three years of the program, I became the caregiver for my mother who was in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s and on dialysis several times a week. I suffered through the experience, cried often, and relied on my husband and friends for encouragement. Finally, I earned my diploma and felt happy to overcome a difficult chapter in my life."
4. Quality Time = Family Support
There are always friends and classmates to commiserate with, but nothing compares to the endless support and inspiration of family. When the walls are closing in and the pressure surmounts, it's the hearts of loved ones who help to unveil the inner strength to carry on, and in some cases, they even shoulder some of the burden. Jessica Marie Dennison, who received her Doctor of Philosophy in Education with a specialty in Early Childhood Education in 2018, thanks her husband every day for being a partner that she can rely on when the going gets tough.
"I felt nothing but joy, relief, and tears walking across that stage with my diploma in hand. It took me three-and-a-half years to complete my education, along with many many late nights. To make things worse, my daughter stopped taking naps the week I started and my husband started his own doctoral program while I worked on my dissertation. Despite our busy lives, we tag teamed the munchkin and I scheduled homework dates with myself whenever possible. He helped me tremendously and I am forever grateful."
5. Physical Touch = The Feeling of Success
Anyone who wishes for a dream to come true is bound to experience some hardships along the way. For some, the journey is swift despite minor setbacks, but on the other hand, there are plenty of people who face extreme adversity and still have the determination to rise above. In 2016, Samose Mays obtained his Doctor of Education in Sports Management, and that feeling of success has stayed with him.
"When I received my diploma in the mail, I went down on one knee and thanked the Lord for helping me complete my journey. I was homeless at the beginning of my doctoral journey. I worked on my studies during lunch breaks at my job at the community center or wherever I happened to lay my head each night. My girlfriend at the time, who is now my wife, was my biggest motivator whenever I felt like quitting. She told me that was not an option."
Feel the Love from NCU
Spending your time at the kitchen table while everyone else is out to dinner can be frustrating, but trust that your hours of hard work will only pay off in the end. NCU is here to guide you on your pathway to success, so even though Valentine's Day may become another study session, just imagine that your diploma is right across from you cheering you on.
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