Advice For a Young Woman Contemplating Graduate School

I was contacted recently by a female reader who sought my advice in the face of some difficult decisions that she needed to make in the near future. Having provided her with my thoughts on the matter, I asked for and received permission to create a blog post as a result of our conversation. It is my belief that the questions she had and the challenges she faces are not unique, and that my advice would work well for other young women in a similar position. Now that the background is taken care of, on to the post…

The young lady in question, whom I shall refer to as Jane for the purpose of this post, is a recent college graduate who is currently deciding if she should attend graduate school. She contacted me to see what my thoughts were on the subject. Jane was primarily concerned with how attending graduate school would impact her efforts to marry. Before I explain my answer, a bit of background on her situation:

-Jane is a Christian woman in her early twenties.

-Jane discovered the “Red Pill” around six months or so, give or take.

-Jane wants to marry and have children, and the sooner the better.

-Thanks to her experience with the “Red Pill”, she is aware that prioritizing education and a career can hurt her marriage prospects.

-Jane aims is to marry a devout Christian man that is also “Red Pill” aware.

-The doctorate program that she would attend would take 4+ years to complete, and while not STEM, is not a “fluff” degree.

-The program is also very time intensive and overall is very demanding, which would leave her with little to no time to spend outside of school.

-Thanks to scholarships and fellowships, she would probably not have to incur any debt to enter the program; indeed she might be able to make a little money.

-In terms of job offers, the doctorate would open a few more doors, but would mostly translate into a larger salary for a future job.

-Jane has accumulated very little debt and has a low cost of living at the moment.

With that out of the way, here is a summary of the advice I offered:

Given the nature of the graduate school program, with a four year plus duration and intensive time requirements, I cannot recommend that Jane enter the program. According to conventional wisdom, which is encapsulated in Rollo’s SMV chart, Jane is near the apex of her SMV value. While every woman’s situation is unique, I think Rollo’s graphic provides a fairly accurate representation of average SMV changes over time. Which means that by the time Jane leaves the doctorate program, her SMV will have already peaked and she will have begun the steady fall towards The Wall. Now is the best time for Jane to marry, when her SMV and MMV are at the highest they will ever be.

I advised Jane that unless she could count on finding her husband inside the grad school, attending the program would cripple her chances to find a masculine, God-fearing man. As I explained to her:

You may need to devote a goodly amount of time to finding a husband, with potentially odd hours about it. One week you might not need to do anything related to that quest, while the next you might need to visit several nearby towns or even go to another state to interview/meet a prospective husband.

Given how messed up our current system is right now, it could take years to find an appropriate candidate. Jane cannot afford to lose 4 years of her youth, beauty and fertility on something that ultimately isn’t as meaningful to her as finding a good husband to raise a family with.

She also expressed some concern about what would happen if she couldn’t find a husband. I advised her that she can always continue her education later, it is some that she can put off. But she cannot put off having children. Far and away too many women follow that path of delaying marriage and children in order to pursue an education and career, only to discover their fertility has failed in the meantime.

I am curious if my readers agree with the advice that I have given to Jane, or feel that it is incomplete. So I ask you to chime in with your advice to Jane on how she should prepare for her future. Also, because of this conversation and a comment left over at Cane Caldo’s site [Warning: Crass language/topics in OP], I have been thinking of writing a post containing advice for young Christian women who are looking for a “Red Pill” Christian man. So if anyone has any advice to offer on that front, feel free to leave it here as well.

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34 Comments

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34 responses to “Advice For a Young Woman Contemplating Graduate School

  1. Sorry if this seems a little unfocused, it’s pretty late here…

    Jane wants to marry and have children, and the sooner the better

    and

    She also expressed some concern about what would happen if she couldn’t find a husband. I advised her that she can always continue her education later, it is some that she can put off. But she cannot put off having children

    I think that’s her answer right there. She can have children first and pick up her schooling once the kids get older, but trying to do the reverse would be much harder.

    My only caveat would be…. if she had to pick only one and give up the other, which would it be?

    That said, does the world really need another ______ (whatever field she’s looking at) as much as it needs two more good parents?

  2. Just as whether an individual’s choice of whether to go to church on Sunday or watch a football game, go on a date, or sleep in will show where their values lie in relation to God and the world, her decision here will show which priority she has in her own personal life. Does she value money more than she does a husband? If she has little to no debt, and already makes enough to get by, I personally think that the loss of potential time to look for a husband is far too great, even if it only translated to missing one day a week to do so. That’s 52 days a year meeting various people that you miss out on. If you meet 10 people every day as you go to new places and new groups in search of a spouse (very doable) that’s 520 people a year, or 2080 potential spouses she missed out on. Even five people a day still keeps it at 1040. Neither number takes into account any social circles realizing her search and helping her with it.

    So yeah, the impact of a busy schedule is HUGE.

    People in my life right now are impressed that I go to 3-4 church events a week. A large part of this is for my own salvation as I learn and go through the Catholic confirmation/conversion process, but it’s also making it so that the adults see I’m serious as well as getting a quick handle on Catholic social events here in Tulsa. I’m trying to move fast so that I don’t friendzone myself with a whole parish or community.

    The big advice I’d have towards finding a spouse would be to acknowledge the giant elephant in the room of any social gathering of Christians these days; which is a fear of awkwardness should we ever acknowledge that one of the primary reasons we go to young adult events is to find a spouse. No one wants to say this! Yet we have a huge issue with people staying single, so that the ridiculous term of ‘young adult’ groups in most places accepts anyone between 18 and 35. Middle aged, but still young adult!

    Once doing that, I think the strongest indicator of someone’s seriousness in finding a spouse is the attendance of a variety of social gatherings by different churches. I’ve seen other men doing as I am, and going to any church event where the priest doesn’t violate any major doctrinal beliefs that they wouldn’t want to find in a spouse. If you see someone who goes to an even Tuesday one week, friday the next, doesn’t miss church on Sunday, and will go to that one time prayer/bible study meeting at this other church… Well, you have someone who is making those sacrifices, just as this woman might be making one by not going to get her grad degree..

  3. Elspeth

    Our daughter (a college junior) is not going to pursue a graduate degree after graduation.

    That said, I married while smack in the middle of college (I was slowly working and paying my way through), had children, and finished later.

    I wonder that people feel it’s always either/or.

  4. This is an interesting post, as I will have to go to grad school to complete the requirements for my future job and think her question is applicable to a lot of woman today. I would do what nightskyradio suggested, focus on marriage/family now and when she is older and has kids (who are older) then she can go ahead and get her graduate degree if her husband is OK with it.
    With that said, I would be interested in the topic of your next post. I don’t think I am qualified to give advice though on that subject.
    Cane Caldo’s post was a little…um…too descriptive?

    @Elspeth:
    I agree with your sentiment. I don’t see anything wrong in getting married while in college. While having children may put your education on hold, you can always finish later. That being said though, I would prefer to wait until after I finish college at least to have kids, I’ll be 21 by the time I graduate anyway.

  5. deti

    Another effect that Jane needs to think about is the effect her additional degree and higher earning power will have on her hypergamous instincts. More education and more money means more status, meaning a higher status man will be required to satisfy that instinct. Jane’s higher educational level and earning power means reducing the pool of men who will be attractive to her.

    So it will have a double whammy effect – she’ll not only be older and even less able to attract a man for marriage; the men she will need to attract for a long term relationship will need to be even better and more attractive than if she were to consider marriage now at 21 or 22. .

  6. deti

    There are those who point out that perhaps a third of college women will marry men with no college, or with less education than they. So, it is said, women will have to “marry down” and carry the breadwinning burden.

    This is not sensible. In the long run these marriages don’t appear to work well. Inevitably her drive for a higher status, “better” man kicks in. Most women simply do not want the pressure of earning, and having to earn, the bulk of the family’s living expenses.

    Most men also cannot bring or sustain the LAMPS necessary for the female breadwinner’s attraction vectors: A man with lower education and earning power needs to compensate for that in some other way. He needs to be extremely good looking – a “boy toy”. Or he needs to have some talent or gift, like musical or artistic talent. Or he needs to have come from a high status family – a Rockefeller, a Kennedy, a DuPont. But, in the long run, these male attributes don’t seem to keep these marriages going. When a woman makes the decision to get married she seems to revert to very traditional notions of gender roles, and this seems to be true across all demographics for women. She expects the man to be the breadwinner because that denotes status; and because he’s built for it and she’s not.

  7. @LLB

    Cane Caldo’s post was a little…um…too descriptive?

    In a sane world you would have learned these things by 12 years old; listening to the women at the washing fountain.

    Marriage ain’t for sissies.

  8. Sis

    Some questions:
    -does Jane have a boyfriend?
    -how many years of college does Jane have left?

    Sending Jane home after graduation to wait for a husband to come along seems like a bad idea to me simply because she is in an environment full of single men who are focused on educationally improving their lives. I think she is in the best place for her to meet a single man.

    I recommend that Jane start socializing often, join some clubs (with men in them….think student senate type of stuff or Christian groups), and get a make-over and some pretty outfits and smile, smile, smile.

    Once a person leaves the college/graduate school environment, doesn’t the dating market shrink significantly? If dating is a numbers game, she should stay where she’s at.

  9. Sis

    another thought, at what ages are men marrying these days? Does she need to leave the younger guys and meet some older guys. Is college keeping her in a hook-up environment and a work environment might enable her to meet men interested in marriage?

  10. Sis

    -agree with deti, making too much money will lower her numbers of available men and complicate her marriage.

  11. Deep Strength

    -The doctorate program that she would attend would take 4+ years to complete, and while not STEM, is not a “fluff” degree.

    -The program is also very time intensive and overall is very demanding, which would leave her with little to no time to spend outside of school.

    If the woman in question was blessed by God with an exceptional amount of intelligence the workload drastically decreases because of the amount of studying and effort you have to put into the program decreases.

    Well, I agree and I disagree with the conclusion. On university campuses it is MUCH easier to meet people than having a job and being out of school. Unfortunately, then you also have the priority of school work.

    If the program is on a huge university campus this may be a good “in” if she is able to have involvement with university Christian groups / Churches at least 2-3x a week or more to meet people of similar ages.

    If she does go the route of the grad student, she must have priorities to be married even over finishing the grad program. However, marriage during the grad program can work — there were multiple classmates getting married when I was in grad school for physical therapy.

    I don’t thnk the two are mutually exlusive, BUT it will be very difficult to do both unless the woman is exceptionally smart and well organized.

  12. Deep Strength

    Also, wanted to add that although the university makes it drastically easier to meet people, many of the students are also not looking for husbands or wives. The bonus though is that there are less women looking for husbands so that supply shortage will increase her chances.

    Comparitively to the amount of PUAs and MGTOWs generated by the manosphere the number of Christian men is vastly less. Highly doubt she will meet a red pill aware Christian man unless she attempts to date one of us from the manosphere or sends him to many of these sites after they start a relationship and he hooks (which not many do). Donal, you know the area I’m in. If shes in a similar area and is willing to meet then let me know.

  13. I have some time for brief responses to everyone-

    @ NSR

    From my conversations with Jane, she wants to be married and have children far more than she wants the degree. It is her parents who are primarily pushing her education.

    @ Leap

    I agree that a little bit of time can make a big difference. I just wish that my local parish was larger and had more social activities.

    @ Elspeth

    The problem is that college is increasingly expensive and it is difficult to do the trifecta of go to school, work a job and find a mate. College in the past wasn’t an awful place to find a mate, but times have changed.

    @ Lovely

    If you can still find a mate while in college, than I wouldn’t say it is necessarily a bad thing, so long as you avoid piling up debt and avoid the hook-up scene.

    @ deti

    I completely forgot about hypergamy. No excuse for that, really. Well, in some of my advice to her it was an assumption but I never consider it head on. Oops.

    @ Sis

    To the best of my knowledge, Jane does not have a boyfriend. She has around a year or so left of college.

    Sending Jane home after graduation to wait for a husband to come along seems like a bad idea to me simply because she is in an environment full of single men who are focused on educationally improving their lives. I think she is in the best place for her to meet a single man.

    In the past this would have been true, but to borrow a line from Lord of the Rings… The World Has Changed. The MMP is not like what it once was. I didn’t mention before, but Jane informed me that she has not found many, if any, marriage minded men in college. And those who are marriage minded aren’t husband material. The combined effects of feminism, the economy and changes to the culture has pushed many men away from marriage.

    Once a person leaves the college/graduate school environment, doesn’t the dating market shrink significantly? If dating is a numbers game, she should stay where she’s at.

    The dating market is not the marriage market SIs. As I’ve explained before, the SMP and MMP can confuse, because they operate in the same space. Distinguishing between the two is very difficult. Jane wants to marry, but has thus far failed to have any suitors. I hope the next post can help her with this, but the main point of this post is what her future plans should be.

    another thought, at what ages are men marrying these days?

    The median age of marriage for men is probably up to 29 by this point. Its never been higher.

    @ Deep Strength

    She indicated to me that this is a very intense degree which will suck up almost all her time. Intelligence can only help so much. Not many people go for her major either, so she isn’t hopeful of finding someone there.

  14. Yeah if I was in her shoes…find a husband first. The fact that many guys are starting to prefer to not get married will make things harder…but the longer she waits the harder it is going to get.

    “The median age of marriage for men is probably up to 29 by this point. Its never been higher.”

    I’ve heard between 28-29…thing is once a guy hits 30-35 he is pretty set in his ways. I’m sure I would still consider getting married during this time…but the longer I’ve stayed single, the more I’m starting to get used to it and prefer it.

  15. Deep Strength

    She indicated to me that this is a very intense degree which will suck up almost all her time. Intelligence can only help so much. Not many people go for her major either, so she isn’t hopeful of finding someone there.

    Yeah, I don’t suggest going for other students in her major. Too crapshoot because most probably aren’t Christian unless she is going to a Christian university.

    IF she chose to pursue a graduate degree, I would very highly suggest getting connected in with various campus Christian ministries and groups. To the tune of the 2-3x+ a week.

    If she can’t do that with her graduate degree then I’m afraid I can’t recommend graduate school either. Doubly so if it’s parental pressure and not solely of her own free will.

  16. I thank God everyday that I am graduating with zero debt and will not have to take out loans, struggling to pay for college 10 years after.
    I go to an all women’s college though, which I don’t regret, but the only time guys are on campus is when they throw parties that are not the places where you would want to find your future spouse. They hold other events too where there are some males attending, but they are very feminist. My school attracts a lot of pro-feminist men. There is a really conservative all men’s college nearby (and by conservative, it is on America’s top 10 most conservative colleges list). The only problem with that though is that there is a decent percentage of men there who are racist and I would stay a good distance from.

  17. Elspeth

    LLB:

    You touched on something that is a whole other issue for you and my girls. On the one hand, the only young man who ever asked my oldest daughter out was in fact, white. On the other, we or she doesn’t expect that to be the norm, nor do we necessarily desire it. We’re open to all righteous comers at this point though, LOL.

    @ Donal:

    My situation was exceptional. I didn’t find my husband at college, or at church. I wasn’t attempting to draw a parallel. I was simply noting that if you’re primarily interested in marriage and motherhood, there’s no harm in putting school off a bit, especially if you’re young. By the time I went back I was 30, only had 4 classes left (the only reason I even went), and husband was able to pay for it.

    But yes, college in addition to marriage and family is a difficult bit to pull off. It was difficult 12 years ago, but the cost of tuition has skyrocketed at a very fast rate.

  18. Thats how I feel about mine as well, and the one I go to is too small for a mixed young adults group, instead its all ages men and women divided by sex. Kills me, but hoping I can use it to get on good terms with fathers of the women.

    But I go to diocese events and am looking at finding what I will call a ‘sister parish’ to meet other women. Its hard, but has a bonus of getting me in a church or social groyp three or four days a week usually

  19. @Elspeth: Good to know this isn’t an issue only I’m facing. If it is not to personal to ask, how does your daughter handle this situation? Advice would be well appreciated.
    haha, I actually have no problem with interracial marriage (I’m mixed myself), but there are very few white men I find attractive. I’m not saying this to be offensive or that white men can’t be attractive, just that I have encountered very few. This has to do more so with their personality/attitude than their physical features, if that makes sense. I don’t mean to make generalizations. But yes, would have to agree, any Godly man would definitely have my consideration since so few are around these days.

  20. We don’t have any problem with interracial marriage either. The idea of it was kind of dropped in our lap when the boy (not at all a believer) asked her to prom.

    My oldest is very much like her father in demeanor and will need a man at least as strong to be a good match. As a general rule watching the marriages of the friends we’ve acquired over the past several years, I do wonder if any other race of man will be able to fill those shoes. Latin maybe?

    Thankfully, she doesn’t have the kinds of walls and biases up that I do. When I was very young (19) a white man asked me out and I assumed I would be nothing more than an exotic novelty for him to toy with and I swiftly decided right then and there that it would be a black man or nothing.

    Times have changed, and God is in control. We shall see.

    In other words, I have no answers for you, LOL.

  21. All the white men in my family (except for my great grandfather) were cheaters so, I was (and maybe a little still am) skeptical…But any man who lives a life of biblical manhood would definitely stand out, race not a thought! I sort of understand your earlier experience, a white guy liked me once, but he only dated black woman which made me think, did he have some soft of fetish/novelty sorta thing…I could have been entirely wrong though and probably am.

    haha thanks. I think that second to last sentence was an insightful answer right there. 🙂

  22. Another thought though, Lovely:

    The site I used to blog at, TC had plenty of women of color as contributosr or frequent commenter of color married to white men. Most of them are black (Alte, A Lady, Mary Ellen who blogs @ Working Homekeeper).

    From what I can tell, they all have very strong, masculine husbands. So be open minded should you find yourself having to navigate such a scenario.

    Strong men come in all hues.

  23. Thanks Elspeth!
    I will keep all that you said in mind, when considering a husband.

  24. Elspeth

    Oh shucks. I just saw your comment. You were talking about likelihood of cheating??? That is unreal. If you asked me what race of men would be most likely to cheat I would say Latin, black, white, then Asian. In that order.

    Just based on the limited knowledge I have, black men do more than their fair share of philandering. Mainly because they can. Heck, there are more husbands with adulterous histories in my family than those with histories of fidelity.

    I didn’t know that’s what you meant. That is news to me, LOL!

  25. I advised her that she can always continue her education later, it is some that she can put off. But she cannot put off having children. — Donal

    That’s really the bottom line. If she wants a family, she needs to get on with it. The only caveat might be if the scholarships she has coming have an expiration date. If putting off more school for a decade or more would mean losing tens of thousands of dollars in free assistance, I might be inclined to suggest that she stay in school while looking for a husband in whatever free time she has. But if the money will be there whenever she might want to continue, it’s an easy call.

    That said, I married while smack in the middle of college (I was slowly working and paying my way through), had children, and finished later.

    I wonder that people feel it’s always either/or. — Elspeth

    I too wonder why many people act like it’s impossible to have a relationship (or plan a wedding; that’s always a popular reason to wait) while in college. But then, I never worked very hard in school (before dropping out), and everyone I knew in college — including some graduate students — had time for part-time jobs and social activities, so it doesn’t seem like it would be impossible to start dating someone. Then if the right person comes along, drop out and get on with life.

    But as Donal says, she may need to do more than just go out once in a while and look pretty until she gets snapped up. If she’s actually spending time going to meet guys who contacted her online and stuff like that, making a real quest out of husband-hunting, I can see how it could be difficult to do that while in a tough school program.

  26. theshadowedknight

    First, she needs to know what kind of man she wants, and find out what those men like. Second, she needs to find out where they can typically be found, and start going there. Third, and most importantly, she needs to know what they want in a woman, and be that. The MMP is beginning to trend towards a slant in favor of men with all the cads and walkaways that are not participating. She is facing an increasingly competitive system, and time is not on her side. She is going to be sliding towards the wall, with more men dropping out, so she is dropping in value as the price climbs. That means if she wants to get married, she better start making it her prime directive.

    To go wherever it takes, to kindly and gently seek out men for a husband. Her five year mission, to get married.

    The Shadowed Knight

  27. Find the husband first, absolutely. School will be there later. You know, it’s funny you should mention that her parents seem to be the driving force behind the schooling — I have encountered that attitude a lot with parents where being just a wife and mom isn’t good enough to them for their daughters. Even in my own life, my decision to lay aside a career (although I did finish college, and I don’t think it’s a bad idea for girls to do so) to marry and have children that I stay home with is received by my family as some sort of second rate status. Thanks feminism!

  28. Deep Strength

    @ Elspeth, LLB

    FWIW my family is asian by heritage but we’ve been in the US since the around 1900. My cousin married a black girl from Chicago. Both are Christians.

    A couple of my aunts married Jewish men, two others white men, still others asians. The men have married multiculturally as well though not all of them are Christian.

    Zero divorces through to second or possible to third cousins (though I don’t know how far out if there are any).

    It would be unwise for any Christian to ignore men/women of other races. I would not be opposed to a multicultural marriage, though there are certain hurdles to overcome as I’ve found out through vetting an array of women from different heritages.

  29. @Elspeth, Deep Strength
    My great grandmother was Chinese, random, I know. That is an interesting order Elspeth because most black men I know absolutely love and are loyal to their wives. I do find Asian men attractive, but as cheating and fidelity goes, I don’t know the stereotype for them. I do agree with both of you that it would be foolish for a Christian to block off themselves from a certain race concerning marriage, my family didn’t even do that (as you can see) haha. I think there are attractive people in every race.

  30. jack

    You can generally only achieve one “great” thing at a time. It is unlikely that a person can (for instance) write a great novel while becoming a skilled professional musician.

    These days, finding a suitable person to marry is a full-time job for many, due to the screwed up SMP/MMP.

    This young woman is statistically unlikely to be able to serve both tasks at the same time.

  31. One thing no one else seems to have suggested: Part-time studies.

    Most programs should allow for part-time work and I think this would be ideal in her situation. Talk to your

    First, there is simply no place where marriage partners are more likely to be found than in university; if she wants to meet a husband, she needs to attend university and join a Christian campus club (or two). Almost all my married friends found their wives through a university Christian club.

    Second, part-time degree work would give an excuse to be on campus, while still giving her time to socialize in the Christian campus club(s).

    Third, part-time studies could be continued even once a marriage partner is found and kids are had simply by reducing course-load a little bit more.

    Although, I should warn “Jane” (or anyone else for that matter) that it will be almost impossible to find a red-pill Christian looking for marriage outside the internet. If there are more than a few thousand red-pill Christians in the world, I’d be very surprised. Although, a more traditional, masculine Christian man would probably be functionally similar to a red-pill Christian man.

    Oh, “Jane”, if you’re reading this, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

  32. Deep Strength

    Good alternative FN.

    If that choice was taken it would be better to pursue some sort of Masters degree rather than a PhD since the latter tends to be full time 3-5+ years whereas a master would only take 2-3 years even part time depending on the program.

  33. Ton

    Most of the non college educated men I know who are married to college chicks are still the bread winner. It isn’t hard to out earn most college educated chicks, given what women get degrees in.

  34. bikehiker

    May I suggest she look at men in the military? They tend to be both physically and mentally strong, are more religious than the average, and are much more likely than college guys to be marriage minded.
    They also tend to have a similar problem finding proper women as men greatly outnumber women in their workplace and many military women are not wife material. Churches on or near military bases often have social events that single women are very, very invited to.

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