Megan Walker, Opinions Editor
Every Samford student knows about the ring by spring phenomenon. Students come to Samford not for a B.A., MBA or Ph.D., but to obtain their Mr. or Mrs. degrees, finding their significant other before they settled on their final major.
I vowed when I was a freshman not to let myself become that Samford student. I came to school to get an education, not an engagement ring.
Fast-forward four years and I found myself standing in front of my then-boyfriend at the Jefferson Memorial looking at said engagement ring. I was elated, as you can imagine, because I would be marrying the love of my life.
The problem came later. As news of my recent engagement traveled to friends and classmates, people kept telling me how happy they were that I finally got my ring by spring or that my four years at school were finally worthwhile thanks to my engagement.
I had become that Samford student I tried so hard not to be. I could not even be excited about my own engagement because my entire university experience had been reduced to that single event.
It took me a long time to accept the fact that I could be proud of my educational accomplishments and be happy for the next big step in my relationship. Getting engaged is certainly not a requirement for college graduation, but the two do not have to be mutually exclusive either.
There are some, I’m sure, who do come to Samford with the sole intent of finding a ring by spring. I wish those people the best of luck. The rest of us, however, do not have to look down upon students who do find soulmates and get engaged or married before graduating.
Serious relationships should be expected with 5,000 top-notch students sequestered together inside the Samford bubble. Students will find others with shared interests, beliefs, dreams and plans, and sometimes relationships ensue. Samford, and college in general, is a natural incubator for relationships, and finding a significant other should be neither praised nor scorned.
I am ashamed that I had allowed myself to create such a negative opinion of individuals who got engaged before they graduate. If two people are fully ready to join in marriage, they shouldn’t have to fit that into a schedule that someone else deemed to be acceptable.
Just because a student gets engaged before graduating does not mean that they no longer want to get their degree or start a career. It just means that they want to experience all of those things with their significant other by their side.
The ring by spring phenomenon was not created to pressure students into finding their significant other instead of pursuing their degrees. Ring by spring emerged as a natural result of students with similar goals and values sharing a college campus for four years, and like going Greek or playing a sport or becoming a member of a club, it isn’t right for everyone.
There is no one size fits all marriage timeline. Some people get married young, some people get married later in life and some don’t get married at all.
Getting a “ring by spring” is not something that needs to happen before you graduate, but it isn’t something you have to refuse either. If you meet the one while in school, don’t let them become the one that got away because you did not want to be a part of the “ring by spring” narrative.
Be proud that not only did Samford give you a high quality education, it also introduced you to the person who you’ll be spending the rest of your life with post-graduation.
Walker is a senior journalism and mass communication major.