“Ring by spring” adds unnecessary pressure

Gracie Donoghue, Columnist 

Ring by spring. Those three words are daunting for those who are single, and even for those who are in a relationship. This phenomenon is not a new fad on Samford’s campus, but why has it become such a big deal? Are couples ready to be engaged before college graduation?

I am currently in a serious relationship, and my boyfriend and I have had this conversation. Timing of engagements are different for everybody, depending on the seriousness of the relationship and a number of other factors. However, we both agreed that the “ring by spring” phenomenon puts pressure on both partners and that waiting is better for us.

For a girl, there is pressure to get a ring and prove to her fellow colleagues that she is not going to die alone. There is also pressure on the guy to buy a nice ring, plan the perfect proposal and execute the proposal masterfully.

Although some couples in college feel that getting engaged before spring semester is right, such is not the case for everyone.

The quest for a significant other is easy when you put over 5,000 students in the same place. Pairing up is bound to happen, but what about those who are not in relationships? There is even more pressure for single students because they start questioning their character and think that there must be something wrong with them.

It also puts unnecessary pressure on them to find a boyfriend or girlfriend during college to prove that there is indeed nothing wrong with them. Students feel like they are on a life timeline where certain milestones have to happen in a particular order. First comes love, then comes engagement, then comes a diploma at graduation. I personally believe that there is unnecessary pressure on singles and couples because of this arbitrary and completely made up timeline.

During our parents’ generations, people were getting married younger and starting families earlier. However, our generation is getting married and starting families later due to expectations of advancing education and establishing careers. Some people are simply not ready for engagement and marriage because it is, or should be, something very serious and special.
During college, you are constantly changing. Your dreams and values change throughout those four short years. You grow into yourself and decide what profession to pursue. The decision to be engaged and get married is not a prerequisite of graduation, and should not be part of a college checklist. Instead, it should be because you want to make sure you’re engaged at the right time to the right person.

I do not think that the ring by spring phenomenon is just a Samford thing, but I do believe being at a smaller Christian school intensifies this pressure to find “the one God has intended for you.” Living in the South is also in part to blame, feeling the need to have the fairytale life that includes getting married right after college and living in a house with a white picket fence.

These are not bad things to want, but students should never feel pressured to find “the one” just because a few people are getting engaged.
For students who are dating currently, even the best and most successful relationships are hard work, so don’t let getting a ring by spring add any unnecessary pressure. For those of you who are single, don’t waste away your college years trying to find your future spouse instead of building and enjoying relationships with friends. Enjoy your time at Samford and don’t worry about obtaining the famed “ring by spring.”

Donoghue is a sophomore journalism and mass communication major.

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