The Difference a Degree Makes: Dating Undergrads and Grad Students

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Everyone knows that women mature faster than men. That said, as you wade your way through the college dating scene, you might find yourself growing tired of the undergrads on your floor, and that Sociology grad assistant might start looking mighty fine. Undergrads, grad students…on campus, the possibilities are endless! Here are some of the pros and cons of hooking up with guys gearing up for a Bachelors, and dudes who are striving for a Masters or PhD.

The Maturity Level

Grad students might be attractive if the undergrad who’s crushing on you still hasn’t quite grasped the concept of doing his own laundry. Grad students have been there, done that. At twenty-three and older, they’ve grown up a lot. They probably won’t be engaging in syrup-chugging contests when they have a research project on the horizon.

Still, what about yourself? If you’re trying to make the most of your own undergraduate career, your grad student beau might not be as excited as you are the first time your new fake ID works at the bar and you chug 50-cent Natty Ices for four hours straight.

Point: Grad Student.

The Course Load

Your undergrad guy is taking Racquetball to fulfill his gen eds. Your grad student has thirty hours of lab work scheduled this week and is going to have to bail on the reservations you made for your one-month anniversary dinner. The undergrad is more likely to blow off studying for midterms when a kegger rolls around, but the grad student will be much more weary of jeopardizing his scholarly reputation.

Point: Undergrad.

His Peers

Undergrad Boy hangs out with the kids on his floor. His connections range from his frat brothers to the other kids taking Racquetball for an easy credit to the random kids from Orientation he just happened to click with. The Grad student most likely got the socializing out of his system during his own college career, and hasn’t met many people outside of his own department since embarking on his post-grad journey. That said, if you are chasing an English grad student, expect his social gatherings to involve in-depth discussions of Milton and Blake, and expect the Molecular Biology PhD candidate to have… well… other friends who actually care about Molecular Biology.

Point: Undergrad.

The Taboos

You aren’t going to run into any taboos if you date an undergrad. That is, unless he’s “that guy” who gets so rip-roaring drunk on Friday night that he pees on you in his sleep (come on, everyone knows at least one girl who’s been whizzed on by her drunk mate). However, if your grad student partner is actually a grad assistant, you’ve got a whole new round of issues to deal with. If he’s your current grad assistant, you’re going to have to keep things under wraps, and if his job has nothing to do with you, you still run the risk of him TA’ing for your friend’s class, among other random scenarios.

Still, having a secret affair can be steamy, and if he’s willing to jeopardize his academic career to be with you, it might prove that his intentions are serious. If you are both adult about where each other is coming from, you have the basis of a meaningful relationship. Especially if it means you can wake up dry in the morning.

Point: Grad Student.

The Life Experience

A grad student might be able to give you advice as you ride the ups and downs of the undergraduate rollercoaster. If your grad student guy is in the same field as you, he might also make a good study buddy. On the other hand, the grad student might be too busy writing research papers to be your personal tutor, and an undergraduate boyfriend will ride the undergrad rollercoaster with you, and the two of you can figure out how to win at the game of Life together.

Point: Undergrad.

There are pros and cons to dating any guy, whether he’s older, younger, working on a BA, an MA, a PhD, or a liquor license. Ultimately, a list of pros and cons shouldn’t determine what kind of guy you are looking to pursue. If you have only dated undergrads, just beware that dating a grad student will be an entirely different experience. It might work out well for you, or it might send you running back to the BA-candidate pond, never to look back.

Anyone have any specific tales of trysts with undergrads or grad students?

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