My partner (TBE Blogger Eli Feret) and I both started grad school at the same time, halfway across the country from each other. While I pursue my Masters of Social Work at Boston College and he pursues his MBA at Chicago Booth, our time spent apart is usually packed with classes, projects, and get-togethers with classmates turned friends.
When I tell people I’m in this long-distance relationship, the most common response is: “Oh, that must be so hard.” There are certainly times when being in a long-distance relationship while pursuing different grad degrees has been challenging, but it has also been empowering and exciting.
This style of relationship took time to adjust to: going solo to events and always being tied to my phone, bantering about the day’s activities. And while studying in different cities gave us flexibility to be around our local friends more, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the “Netflix and chill” nights or rolling over in the morning and seeing my partner resting beside me.
Fortunately, we’ve maintained a steady rhythm of seeing each other every 2 to 3 weeks, mostly by creatively engineering airline reward miles. But no matter how painful the cheap redeye flights have been between Chicago and Boston, it’s always worth it for the excitement of being reunited.
The first day back together is usually a flurry of catching-up on stories, eventually giving way to bouncing work and school ideas off each other. Eli gives me insights on the business aspects of whatever social justice crusade I’m currently beating the war drum on, and I challenge him to consider the societal implications beyond fiduciary responsibility in the business cases he’s studying. These opinions are almost always unsolicited, on both sides, but they’re also an important part of our relationship in understanding and respecting how each other thinks about society and the impact we will make in the world.
Dating a Boothie in Chicago all the way from Boston has had its challenges, however, there are dozens of Booth couples every year that maintain healthy and happy relationships while being geographically separated. For us, having a solid foundation of trust and respecting each other’s goals has helped (mostly) avoid sassy text exchanges or argumentative Skype dates.
Here are a few other tips for people who are thinking about staying in their city while their partner attends Chicago Booth:
1) Try not to giggle every time you hear someone say “Boothie”.
2) Prepare to be jealous of the awesome speakers and opportunities at Booth and the greater UChicago community.
3) Brace yourself for recruiting season.
5) Take advantage of all the cool things Chicago has to offer, like date nights at Adler Planetarium!
Dare to step in to the Boothie arena?