Ring before spring? Not likely

By Katie Kohls
@KatieKohls

One of the most common complaints I hear from girls on campus is “There are no guys,” meaning guys to date. And they’re not far off. Our campus is about 60 percent female to 40 percent male. Now if you factor in those that are gay, taken, and who you would actually consider dating, the number is significantly smaller. Add in the fact that your friends are also looking and dating, and the dating pool at UF becomes very restrictive. So to any girl that hopes to find her future husband at UF, good luck to you.

Now my friends and I have all bemoaned our perpetual singleness, but it has always been short-lived self-pity and we get back to living our lives. We may hope for a kind boyfriend to show up, but for many it isn’t a priority that we are actively scouring for. Since many of my friends and I are graduating, there seems to be two groups that my classmates fall into as we head toward the end of our senior year: either we are still hopelessly single or we are getting married this summer. If I am invited to every wedding, I will have no less than four this summer alone, and one that I am in. Wedding season has begun, and it’s a sobering reminder to us single folks.

Now I realize the appeal of having a boyfriend/fiancé/husband at this point in our lives. We are graduating and starting over. To have that point of consistency and support is appealing. Someone to talk with and share the burden of choice with. That anchor to keep some semblance of consistency in our lives. At the same time though, I appreciate that my graduate school choice is left up to me. I can go anywhere I want without factoring in or worrying about the state and health of my relationship. My family will love me anywhere I decide, and my friends are all scattering too. I don’t have to worry about being four hours away from my significant other. I can go anywhere and meet anyone without the pressure of being accountable to someone.

Now while I realize this and continue to have career aspirations that include a Ph.D., travel, and years left of school, there are others around me that have different ideas. Over Christmas break, my aunt didn’t care that I was going to graduate school. Her only concern was that it was time for me to find a husband and start a family. While I do hope that is in my future, at this point it is not the priority. I have time later. I also had other adults wonder if I not having the “ring before spring” was affecting me. For those who are unfamiliar with this term, at some schools, girls literally have that as a goal: to get an engagement ring before the spring of their senior year. If you want to spend thousands of dollars and days of stress and tears just to get your MRS degree, more power to you. But I want to do things beyond just being married, and their asking if I was sad that I didn’t have a boyfriend felt a little like a slap in the face. Like seriously? Is my self-worth really dependent on if I have found a boy to put a ring on it? Do my academic accomplishments mean nothing?

I was hurt and frustrated. I felt like I was being recognized as a poor, lonely girl that couldn’t catch a man. And that my accomplishments, my research, my life beyond having a boyfriend, meant next to nothing. I realized though, in my frustration, that I am doing what I want. If I agreed with them, I would be sad and feeling lonely and wanting that special someone. But I am planning for graduate school, looking to the future, and getting excited for the path that lies ahead. I am worth enough all on my own thank you very much.

So if you are struggling with your seemingly perpetual singleness, please don’t. Getting that ring before spring is not the be-all-end-all. I promise it will be okay and you will find someone someday. You just may have to move out of Findlay to do it. And if you really want someone to listen to you and cuddle with, adopt a dog. They are much cuter and don’t require as much effort.

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