At the age of 22, I’ve been asked numerous times by my parents when I’m going to find “the one.” This concept confused me for so long until a friend and I recently discussed the fear of not being able to find that special someone before graduation in the spring. It seemed like the main concern was we would no longer constantly be in a social setting: constantly meeting new people in classes or at parties.
That’s when I remembered seeing a Facebook post a few years ago from a friend away at another college. The caption read “Ring Before Spring.” What does that mean you ask? It’s essentially the idea that getting engaged by the spring semester of your senior year of college is a top priority, a phenomenon usually occurring at more religious schools.
“Students’ religious reasons can lead to an early marriage … In many religions, sex or sexual behavior isn’t acceptable until marriage,” Terri Orbuch, an Oakland University professor of sociology, who is referred to as “The Love Doctor,” said in an article with USA today,
When I saw that Facebook post daunting the motto, I thought it was a completely ridiculous notion. However, as I begin to approach graduation, I’m starting to realize it could become harder to meet people.
A few thoughts crossed my mind. Maybe I could meet someone at a job, but if we break up, it will be extremely awkward. Or maybe I could meet someone at a bar one night and have that magical glance from opposite sides of the bar, but then it would probably just be a one night stand. Or what if I just start online dating. My brother met his wife on a dating site. But what if, with my luck, I meet a serial killer. I’ve gotten nowhere.
What if college is it?
I decided to ask some other students at this university about this to find out whether or not it is still a main focus in college. Of those who I asked, they had never heard the phrase “Ring Before Spring,” but they had heard of the concept sans scary title.
Do you think this concept still exists?
Manon Quilodran, animal science major: “I wouldn’t be surprised honestly because when you graduate you’re … somewhere between the 22 to 26 range, and I feel like people who are in that age range feel like they’re behind on having a child.”
Sarah Schurman, junior English and education major: “I definitely think that there’s still pressure. I think that the idea that everyone else is finding their husband and everybody else is settling into family life is pervasive, but I don’t think that’s what’s happening at all. It just doesn’t even matter what other people are doing. It’s about you. You’ll find the person, if you find the person, when you find the person, that’s completely specific to you and so that pressure is really imagined.
Shambhavi Kumar, first-year MSI student: “Not at all. In fact, where I come from people get married when they’re 18 … I’m from India, so we always had the conception that in the Western world and in America you don’t have these kind of prejudices of getting married.”
Lashawn Mellerson, senior government and politics major, “No, I feel like guys right now just aren’t there mature wise so I’d be shocked if I found the one before I graduated.”
Have you or anyone you know experienced this pressure?
Quilodran: “I come from a really small town, and a lot of people have either gotten engaged or they’re married … I’m 22 and it’s kind of weird when you’re in a neighborhood and everybody is already married or engaged. I think it might be a small town thing where if you are not actively pursuing a very difficult career … you have more time … to put more effort into a relationship … they can think about getting married sooner because they have that time to think about it.”
Schurman: “My brother never really had a girlfriend in college … and he definitely felt like, what am I going to do, I’m never going to find anybody, especially around his senior year he was kinda like ‘Shit I’m going to be alone for the rest of my life, this is where you’re supposed to meet people because my parents met each other in college.’ Before I was dating my boyfriend I felt like ‘Oh my god everybody’s dating everybody and I’m single, there must be a reason why I’m single.’ I think people think if they’re single there’s something wrong with them, which isn’t true, much more on the female side. I’ve felt the pressure.
Kumar: “I guess that could be because ya know we still have ageism and people still make a big deal about growing old, so I guess if you try to tell your kids that you might not have kids after a certain age … or you’re growing old and you won’t be attractive anymore to find a spouse.”
Mellerson: “I actually haven’t felt pressure, everyone just tells me ‘Just focus and when the time comes it’ll happen’ and actually, my parents are the ones that are really like just stay away from the guys right now.”
Featured Photo Credit: UMD Memorial Chapel (Cassie Osvatics/Bloc Reporter)
Cassie is a senior English major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.