Everyone dates in college. It's fun — dates to parties, dinners, movies and someone to buy you a drink or two at the bar. It certainly has its perks but it can be difficult to balance a boyfriend and friends along with everything else you have going. Plus, your friends aren't going to appreciate it when you ditch them for your new boyfriend or when they have to hear about how you broke up for the sixth time this month.
When I met the man who is now my husband, I was a sophomore in college and marriage was nowhere on my mind. We lived in different cities (I lived in Lubbock and he lived in San Antonio), but an increasing amount of our time was spent together or traveling to see one another. Throughout the week, I balanced a full class load, studying, projects, friends, sorority requirements (like community service and meetings) and an internship, and on the weekends, I visited my boyfriend. One semester, I scheduled all my classes on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays so I could spend Friday through Monday in San Antonio. As we grew more serious, my friends started seeing less and less of me. At least three out of four weekends a month, I would drive to San Antonio. Even though that meant a dramatic decrease in college activities, I didn't mind because San Antonio was more fun than a college town, anyway.
Our long-distance dating continued and the summer before my senior year of college my boyfriend got down on one knee and popped the question. I couldn't have been any happier. I finally got to plan the wedding I'd been planning on Pinterest for years. When I went back to school in August, it was so fun to show everyone my ring and tell all my friends, classmates (and pretty much anyone who would listen) the story of the proposal. I didn't think I was in for a huge shock since I was already so busy, but when I realized everything that went into planning not only a wedding but also a marriage ... that's when the stress hit me. I had a lot of juggling to do before I got engaged, but that ring on my finger meant more sleepless nights, phone calls with rental companies, venues, church supervisors and caterers, not to mention a lot of decisions that needed to be made.
About a month into the fall semester of my senior year, I realized that things were about to change. My last semester on campus I didn't go to a single football game, party, sorority formal or anything else that would typically be considered normal for a college senior. If you weren't one of my roommates or in one of my classes, I didn't see you much, and unfortunately for my 4.0, I found myself researching photographers, videographers and reception venues instead of studying economics. Instead of wearing baggy T-shirts every day, I was in wedding dress fittings. I took the fines almost weekly instead of attending my sorority chapter meetings — I was either too busy or that was the first time all day that I could hear myself think.
I still graduated with an above-average GPA and I had three years to make friends who were happy for my engagement and who understood why I was so busy. Before my husband and I started dating, I made plenty of memories at sorority formals and all the other "normal" college experiences. (I know I can go back to a football game any time I'd like.) It's safe to say that I have different memories of my senior year in college than most people but, for me, it's exactly how I'd imagined it. For some people, that might sound terrible. Being "tied down" so early in life? And that's okay, too. Some college students just flat-out aren't ready for a commitment like marriage. If you want to get out there and party it up for four (or more) years — go for it, it's your time. But for others, like myself, that scene isn't all that appealing.
Where my story differs from a lot of girls who get engaged in college is that I did not wait until graduation for the wedding. Thankfully, my last semester was fully online with just six hours of distance classes, so I didn't have to be on campus. However, I'm not sure how much easier that made things. I had an assignment due the day of my wedding. Unsurprisingly, I didn't do it. I just cut myself some slack that day since I had something more important to do. I also had to take a couple hours out of my honeymoon in France to listen to an online lecture. And the funny thing is, I don't regret a single day of it.