Granny or Grad Student

A few months ago I was enjoying the finest cuisine Bloomington has to offer in the form of Kilroy’s $2 Tuesday quesadillas with a few other penny-pinching grad students. I had eaten my full of the cheesy goodness, so I pulled out the Tupperware I had brought with me, the one I purposefully carried to $2 Tuesdays knowing there would be left overs. I then proceeded to pack away my leftovers and the leftovers of my comrades who hadn’t so brilliantly thought ahead.

It was then that fellow grad student Josh Sites looked at me weird. Getting slightly self-conscience, I said defensively, “What?! I’m a grad student!” as if that would explain what I now realize must have looked like irrational hoarding behavior. “Grad student or granny?” Josh quipped back.

I laughed with him then realizing how much my life has changed in the past two years, how fully I had embraced the grad school life and how that acceptance in many ways aligns my behaviors more with that of senior citizens than of a 20-or-30-something. With that in mind, here are five more behaviors that are proudly shared by grad students and grannies (and grandpas) alike.

1) Clipping coupons for EVERYTHING.

It wasn’t until coming to grad school that I really started to appreciate that infinitely long strip of CVS coupons that come with your receipt. Now I appreciate the money-saving tips my grandma gave me and I clip coupons with glee. I am never satisfied unless I’m saving at least 15% per purchase; although I one day hope to reach the 20% savings mark my grandma manages to hit.

2) Going to bed at 9 pm because you are legitimately tired.

Before grad school, trying to go to bed early usually meant drinking some Valerian tea and listening to soothing wave sounds to convince my body to give in early. Now, sheer mental exhaustion makes it easy to fall asleep at an embarrassingly early 9 pm, just after Jeopardy. Some nights my grandma and I are definitely on the same schedule.

3) Carrying around giant bags with way too much stuff in them.

Whether it is a purse, a backpack or one of those “hip” shoulder bags, grad students all have to carry around bags that are way too big. Just like grannies, you never know when an emergency might strike so you need to carry around all the necessities including: aspirin, Band-Aids, protein bars, Starbucks Double Shot, your Chromebook, red pens, pencils, and an extra notebook. Our bags are more stuffed than Mary Poppins!

4) Wearing “comfortable clothes” all the times.

Grad school is no longer a time of vanity. Much like grannies, we give into the comfort of sweatpants, crocs and buns, which are not only comfortable but practical given the hours upon hours of sitting that are mandatory in grad school.

5) Not understanding today’s youth.

Even though many of us were “the youth” just a few years ago or are still currently clumped into that group by elders, there is something about living in a college town and teaching 18 year-olds, that just makes you shake your head and yell “get off my lawn,” something I actually yelled at a herd of youth who had congregated on my porch over Little 5 weekend. I definitely channel my inner granny on the weekends downtown.

Although sometimes it seems slightly depressing to have gone from “youth” to “granny” in two short years, what grad school has actually taught most of us are the lessons that grannies know well: life is too short to care what other people think of you. So grab your big bag, your crocs and your Tupperware and let’s have a night out on the town … as long as I’m home watching “Murder She Wrote” by 8 pm.