The truth about settling down in college

11Feb 2016
Salima Hamisi
The Guardian
The College Comfort Zone
The truth about settling down in college

You also might be familiar with a certain hot couple in college that everyone doesn’t wish for them to have some future after their college studies. The happily ever after cliché is now popularly known as until graduation ends.

It’s not a surprise anymore when college couples break up just after that graduation ceremony and no wonder it’s a miracle to most college students when the opposite occurs to some collegesweethearts where they have both an engagement and eventually a marriage ceremony together.

Engagement rings, wedding invitations and the Romeo and Juliet couples seem to be trending during and even after college leave alone on social media pages. This becomes something very odd among students due to the well-known belief that relationships that are born in college do not have any valid future. Shiny rings plaster themselves all over their Facebook feeds.

Almost 5 of my college classmates are adjacent to photos of lovers smooching in celebration of either an engagement ceremony, a wedding or anything of that sort.

Sometimes I find myself wondering how those students manage to find time for their life partner while juggling classes, work and a social life.

According to Campus Explorer, about seven percent of college undergraduates are married; however, the number of married adults 25 years of age and older returning to college increases every day. Many college students envision settling down with their significant other and slowly it’s becoming a norm. Contrary to popular belief, it can result in a happy ending for some couples.

A student once proposed to her significant other right in front of thousands of students while giving his graduation speech. He talked about how much he has believed in love throughout his four years of college studies.

“Being in a serious relationship throughout all four years of college was one of the best experiences for me because it taught me so much and it helped me in so many points of my college life,” “It wasn’t always easy, but I’m so happy I had him there with me all four years. “This was said by a student during a farewell party for the graduates when she was asked to speak about one of her best experiences throughout her college journey.

During college, a couple I have known worked part time jobs and participated in different college activities while maintaining a healthy, balanced relationship. They found comfort in each other as they conquered the typical college struggles of prioritizing school, work, social life and finding themselves.

“I would say our first year was our most difficult year. We were branching out into different groups of friends and the stress of both having jobs, classes and figuring out who we were was intense,” Mercy a beautifulyoung lady shared this.

“We made it through because we realized we were better together and he makes me want to be the best version of myself”. Wow, a power couple doesn’t just happen in college, it takes a lot just as mercy shared. What I liked about them is that they strive to be better people when they are together.

Happy ending or not, many people still doubt whether a college relationship can last. Many partners often fight against negative stereotypes about their commitment to each other.

The University of Dar es salaam Joe and her fiancé experience this negativity surrounding their engagement despite their happiness and four years of dating. “They think we’re too young, and because we’re not financially stable or own a house then we aren’t stable and thusshouldn’t get married,” Joe said. “The negativity from others takes us away from the joy of being engaged.”

Considering college popular culture, it’s challenging to break away from common misconceptions about college relationships. We all know that classmate who sleeps with a new “babe” every night they return from the club, but no campus is desolate of students who date for a long time.

A student named Belinda also heard doubts from outsiders when talking about her upcoming wedding. She dated her husband for five years before he proposed in her final year.

“The first question every single person would ask after I told them I was engaged was, ‘How old are you?’ As innocent as that question seems, it made me overthink,” Belinda said. “The implication was that I was too young to be taken seriously.”

While friends and family supported Belinda’s marriage, others reacted cruelly. Some even told her to rethink getting married so young, and that it wouldn’t work out in the end.

“Being judged so harshly made it extremely difficult,” Belinda said. “People’s rude reactions made me feel like I was being irresponsible or naive, when in actuality I’d been preparing myself for this for half a decade.”

On top of overcoming the negative feedback from their peers, the Belinda’s’ financial situation took a toll on them. Who knew love actually costs something? “Everyone knows that ‘college student’ is essentially synonymous with ‘broke,’ and getting married then made it a lot harder,” Belinda said.

“Our parents stopped supporting us financially and we had used a lot of our own money, as well as extra loans to pay for the wedding, so it was hard to learn to stand on our own.”

Marriage, though a seemingly tame lifestyle, often pushes couples to face adulthood prematurely. ”My friends told me after I had been married for a while that it seemed like I grew up a little,” Belinda said. “I still went to parties, stayed out too late and was super childish and silly, but getting married does nudge you to be more responsible.”

These life events and lessons that come with committing to a significant other usually don’t make the typical college experience to-do list. But even though commitment causes some of us to run in the opposite direction, serious relationships in college don’t seem that out of the ordinary anymore. A college engagement now almost equates to a college norm—just as natural as buying someone a drink at a bar.

Despite the negative stereotypes surrounding serious relationships in college, couples continue to show the world that the longevity and success of a relationship after college has nothing to do with age but everything to do with responsibility, strength and dedication.