When it comes to attending a Christian college, several stereotypes surround dating. “Ring by spring,” “the October rule,” – you have probably heard it all. It seems as if some people cannot even go five feet without running into a couple. At the gym, in the classroom – they seem to be everywhere, and they seem to be growing in number. But the real question remains: What are dating and marriage like on a Christian campus? What do others believe about the topic?
No matter where you go to college, whether it be a Christian institution or otherwise, there seems to be a stereotype about married couples, that being that they are either too young or that the marriage might end badly. Truth be told, however, about 28% of married couples in their mid to late 20s went to college or university together, according to a Gitnux article titled “Relationship in College Statistic.” Though that may be small in comparison to the amount that is not married, the truth is that, in the grand scheme of things, that is a large amount of people. The number grows significantly when looking at Christian colleges such as Northwestern. According to Pew Research Center, the typical amount of students who marry either before or shortly after graduating from a Christian college is 65% which, in comparison to non-Christian schools, would be an even larger amount of students. Though this may seem as if it could never happen on a small campus like NW, there are plenty of engaged and married couples around. With these statistics, however, come stereotypes of what couples on campus are like.
To gauge what the real stereotypes and opinions are about people being engaged or married on campus, opinions were gathered from five different groups: those who are married, engaged, in a relationship off campus, in a relationship on campus and single.
The first of these groups that was interviewed was those who were married. Chelsea Thurm, a fifth-year nursing student at NW, has not been married long but has been long enough to know the stereotypes. Her observations almost completely contradict what most people assume. “Being married on campus is talked about and joked about way more than it is actually done,” she said. “It is honestly more common among the juniors and seniors, which I think is to be expected.” She explained how most people put expectations on themselves to be married before graduation and the only real influences come from off campus, that being family. “It’s always the question of ‘Have you met anyone yet?’ when you go home for the first time,” said Thurm. Even after marriage, however, there are still stereotypes. She even joked about how some people react to her being married in college, saying that she is after that “MRS degree.”
Another opinion, comes from Nathan Tornow, who is currently engaged. He explained how supportive people are about his decisions. “Being engaged on campus has been great,” he said. “People have supported us from the beginning of when we first started dating, and now being engaged they have only supported us more.”
Hannah Van Maaren, a current freshman in an off-campus relationship, explained how her experience has been thus far. “It makes it easier to build more relationships on campus,” she said.
Karyss Muyskens, Van Maaren’s roommate, shared this experience from her relationship. “It would be hard to share my time with him and my friends if he were on campus,” Muyskens said. “I think a lot of people can be jealous when you are around your person on campus. But there are also a lot of people who are happy for you.”
And finally, what all of you have been waiting for: What do single people think about couples getting married or engaged before graduation? Allison Sjaarda shared her opinion on the topic, saying that some people are out looking for someone or are jealous of others if they are single, but as for her, she’s content with herself. “I love hanging out with my friends and being able to focus more on academics,” she explained. “It’s more fun to just be friends with everyone anyway!”