As most of us in this day know, “love is an open door” thanks to Disney’s critically acclaimed blockbuster, Frozen. In truth, love is not an open door unless your fridge is full.
Love is hard, especially when at a school like Olivet, where the pressure is on to get the “ring by spring.”
Walking around the park-like campus of Olivet, you can see pyramid folds with signs about young couples counseling. The pressure, when seeing that sign as a single woman, can really put a strain on the need to find “the one” and ensure you’ll receive the popular “Mrs. Degree” along with your B.S. in Engineering.
The U.S. Bureau of the Census statistics show the average marrying age in 1965 was 22.8 for men and 20.6 for women. Based on a similar study done in 2011 by Pew Research Center, the average marrying age for men is now at 29.8 and women have rose to 26.9 as their average.
When asked, ONU freshman Caylee Bourdoin says “I don’t feel too pressured about [ring by spring] before graduation because it’s absurd. Why rush into something just so you can say you got engaged?”
According to Collective MKE pastor, Brandon Brown, getting married right out of college is not the best idea. Brown says he thinks it is best to get out of the “bubble” of Christian schooling for a year before “putting a ring on it”.
“I believe you should wait until you absolutely know for sure,” says Bourdoin. “Even if it is until after graduation.”
Ring by spring is most commonly known among Christian campuses. While most universities have a dating to marriage tradition, it is more noticeable on smaller campuses where safe relationships are a big focus of community life on campus.
The common phrase of ring by spring can go by a different name, depending on the campus. Ellen Butterfield, a Lipscomb University student, said it is known as third swing on campus. “There are all these white chain swings everywhere,” Butterfield said. “The running tradition is if you sit on a swing with someone of the opposite sex and swing three times, you’re going to get married”.
Granted, if you step onto a campus that isn’t so focused on healthy, Christ-like relationships, the pressure, and the talk, go out the window.
Ashley Drake, a freshman at University of Illinois Urbana Champaign states “I feel like there is some pressure to find the one before graduation because there has sort of been an expectation to find someone.”
One of the traditions blatantly listed on the U of I webpage is the Eternal Flame, where rumor has it “a lover’s kiss will bring eternal bliss!” Drake says “there are many people in the world and many college students don’t meet their person in college. It’s [ring by spring] unnecessary.”
“I’m not going to date just anyone to ensure I get one [ring by spring],” Olivet sophomore Emily Henderson said.
Some college students have taken it upon themselves to note the new relationship happenings around campus. While no longer commonly known on Olivet’s campus, the deceased Twitter Page @ONUgirl, was created by an alumnus, Anna (Krajec) Walker, as a satirical page to just point out who’s with who on campus.
“I think [the pressure to marry] is a conservative Christian thing,” Walker said. “I mean the church is always talking about marriage so I think that is where the pressure to marry comes in. It seems like a big deal at Olivet because as a freshman you’re only allowed to see the other gender once a week so it puts an emphasis on relationships.”
Similar to @ONUgirl, there is currently an anonymous Facebook page for students to “secretly” admit who they admire.
The real question Henderson brought up that I feel people should ponder is this: “Why rush just because graduation is coming?”
— Rebecca Dembkowski, Staff Writer, & Allie Alexy, Executive Editor