The Perks of Being Married to a Scientist

A big thanks to Charlene from From Bisons to Buckeyes for taking over the blog today in the next Perks of Being Married to My Spouse post!

My husband, Pearson, is a biophysics graduate at The Ohio State University. In a few more years, he will have a PhD. Basically, in short, he's a mad scientist.

The whole time we dated through high school and college, he planned to go to pharmacy school after graduation. But toward the end of his undergraduate career, he started to realize that he really liked the learning part of science. He liked doing experiments and observing what happens. And he didn't want to pass out pills for the rest of his life no matter how much it paid. Thus, here we are in Columbus, Ohio while he gets his PhD.

As with any profession I'm sure, there are both pros and cons of being married to a scientist, but the pros certainly outweigh the cons.

He doesn't have set hours or time off.

While Pearson typically works lots of long hours, they aren't really set in stone. Especially since he's not TAing (teaching assistant) right now. If he has some appointment or somewhere he needs to be, it's not a big deal to leave the lab during the day. If we need to go somewhere for the weekend, we can! That is, as long as he lets his boss know within a reasonable amount of time. There's not a set number of vacation days and no process to get vacations approved so as long as he's responsible about it, it's very flexible.

He gets a stipend and free tuition while at school.

Pearson is technically a student, but because he is getting a PhD in the sciences, his tuition is paid for by his adviser (or boss) and he gets paid a stipend for working in her lab and assisting her in some classes. This means we won't have student loans to pay back in addition to our undergrad loans and we sort of technically have two incomes right now.

He's curious.

Scientists are naturally curious. It's their job to poke around at things and run experiments just to observe what happens. This can be a bad thing, like when Pearson was so curious at Christmas time that he risked ruining a whole batch of candy just because he wanted to see what would happen if he took the lid off too early (it was a very sensitive recipe). But it's also a very good thing. He always wants to try new things and experience life to the fullest. He's not afraid to jump head first into an adventure and encourages me to jump with him. How can I say no?

He's spontaneous.

Scientists are also typically spontaneous. They just don't like structure. One thing Pearson really doesn't like is a strict schedule. When we go on trips, he likes to just wing it. I, on the other hand, am very detail oriented. I would schedule every minute of every day if I could. so we certainly balance each other out. I learn from his spontaneity every day and I have grown to love it.


He works late hours.

Pearson works and average of 65 hours per week. This means I hardly ever get to see him. Cooking dinner is hard because he's not home at a decent time to eat and I never know when he will be home until maybe 30 minutes before he walks in the door. We can't make plans very easily, especially with other people, because he doesn't know when he'll be done that day and most likely will be working late. But I know that this is temporary, especially since he's not interested in going into academia as a career, and that it will all be worth it one day.

He is often tired and stressed.

When an experiment doesn't work like it's supposed to or a lot of work goes to waste because the laser wasn't optimized, it's frustrating. And when you have a boss who's expecting good data to take with her to a conference where she'll have to give a talk, it can be very stressful! But I just listen to him rant if he needs to and everything usually dies down.

The pay isn't great.

Pearson gets paid very little for the work he does. Granted, he's still technically in school, but he's not "studying". He's not even taking classes right now. Instead he's working crazy hours in the lab. If you broke down his pay by hour, he gets paid quite a bit less than minimum wage. But he's not in it for the money and we would do just fine on my salary alone if we had to, so we can't complain too much.

Being married to a scientist has its good points and bad points and I wouldn't want it any other way. I love that scientist of mine and am so excited for many more years in this role as his wife!

Who are you married to? What perks come with the territory?

enduring all things