For most students, the Campanile is simply a reminder of campus traditions. But for others, it can be a reminder of wedding bells.
Despite recent studies pointing toward people waiting until later in life, some University students still choose to get married while in college.
“People are indeed marrying later, especially women,” Kevin McCannon, a sociology lecturer, said in an email. “I think the average is 28.”
McCannon said that he thinks this is due to women being decreasingly dependent on men for their economic well-being.
“Opportunities in the workforce have become more available to women, not just any opportunities, but leadership positions and high wage/high skill occupations like medicine, engineering and law,” he said.
However, McCannon said that he thinks being married in college is positive for some couples.
“Although, as someone who was married throughout his entire graduate career, my work quality never suffered, and in fact, I felt motivated to do well and succeed, because I had another person depending on that success, to an extent,” he said. “I might be an anomaly.”
High school sweethearts Jon and Rachel Podschun, both juniors from Winfield, tied the knot in December. Rachel said that they fell in love in high school and have been together ever since.
“We definitely talked about it [getting married],” she said.
“It’s not a hasty decision,” Jon said about getting married younger and in college.
The couple said that transitioning from dating to engagement to marriage was not a huge difference, as they had been living together prior to their wedding.
“The only thing with marriage is that if you get mad, you can’t leave,” Rachel said. “This is forever.”
The couple said that they think people should not be so negative about others that get married young in life.
“I feel like there’s just a stigma if you’re settled down in college, you’re weird,” she said.
For sophomore Carley Blevins, who met her boyfriend, Zach Shepherd, in an English 102 class last spring, waiting to get married until later on in life makes more sense to her now.
“Marriage is obviously a huge commitment,” she said.
She said that she thinks that students like her can be independent and become financially stable prior to a wedding.
“I think it’s personally really important, especially like being in college, and only being a sophomore in college, I think it’s really important to live out your college life independently,” she said. “I feel like this is really the time to accentuate our independence and figure out who we are personally like as individuals before we completely commit to another person.”
Junior Aaron Morris and his wife Karla Gonzalez, a senior, were in each other's lives for a while, as they met in middle school before they decided to date. They married in September 2015.
Gonzalez said that people are always surprised that she and her husband have done so much while still being students.
“Most college kids are broke, for you to be like ‘You got married, you went on a cruise, you’re doing so much and you’re still in college,' that’s kind of crazy,” Gonzalez said.
The pair lives on campus and are currently enjoying their married life.
Like the Podschuns, senior Alex Robinson and his husband, Luis Lopez-Santiago, recently tied the knot, in January.
“Honestly, it’s very odd [getting married young] because it’s usually straight couples who tend to get married very young,” Robinson said. “I only know of like one or maybe two other gay couples our age, and they don’t even live here.”
The couple met in 2013 and moved in together in Lawrence in November 2013. They will have been together for four years in April 2017. The engagement and marriage took place within two months, Lopez-Santiago said.
Though getting married in college is not ideal for every relationship, the couples who did choose to tie the knot early in life are happy with their decisions.
“At the end of it, find someone that makes you happy, and don’t do it for everybody else,” Lopez-Santiago said. “Because if this person’s right for you, they’re more important than even family, I would say.”
— Edited by Paola Alor