I am a student who has been engaged in undergraduate research for one semester now. It is something I am passionate about, and definitely a step in the right direction towards my PhD aspirations. However, it is already pretty time-consuming. With full-time classes, homework, research, and volunteer work, it is sometimes hard to find a lot of time to talk to my partner.
I'll note here that I am monogamous and have been in my current long-distance relationship for about a year. We managed a one-month visit last summer and will be doing the same this summer. I might be applying to a few graduate schools somewhere geographically closer to my partner if any faculty in his area are a good fit with my research interests. Fingers crossed!
However, I have heard and I fully expect that the time crunch is only going to get worse in grad school. I have two questions now. First, between taking my own classes, teaching undergraduates, and doing thesis/dissertation research, how will I ever find time to devote to my partner while I'm in graduate school?
Second, how can I properly communicate with him about what I'm studying, now and in the future? My partner and I have aimed for very different levels of educational attainment: my partner has his country's equivalent of a U.S. high school diploma, whereas I am on my way to a Ph.D. I want to be able to talk about my research to him, because it's a big part of my life and it'd be nice to be able to talk with him about the stuff that makes me tick. But it is a daunting task, because there is not that shared foundation of knowledge. He has not taken the years of classes in a specialized subfield that my peers have. For example, I don't know how to express to him my excitement at finding statistically significant results, when those two words (statistical significance) would be enough to get one of my peers excited with me.