Viewpoint: Girls hoping for ring by spring should aim higher

By Taylor Griffin

Most little girls dream of growing up to marry their handsome, Ken doll Prince Charming in a fluffy white ball gown with pink flowers on every open corner as doves ascend into heaven — some garbage like that.
I was not one of those girls.

From the time I was 8 years old, I wanted to grow up to become a successful lawyer. Plans have drastically changed, and I’m now en route to becoming a journalist, a continuing path I’ve worked my you-know-what off to pursue.

As a transfer student, I’m still learning about Baylor’s culture. However, as I learn more about it, the more it saddens me.

I quickly noticed that many of the ladies here choose Baylor solely to find a husband, particularly if he’s dishing out the big bucks for pre-med or pre-law.
I’m not sure where it was coined, but the term “ring by spring” is without a doubt a theme at this school.
Unlike these girls, I am by no means waiting in line with my left hand extended. The entire institution of “ring by spring” is utterly pathetic to me. The idea that a girl will spend upwards of $200,000 for a degree just to pursue a comfortable trophy wife position absolutely baffles me.

Have we not moved passed the age of needing a husband right away to feel complete? Where is these ladies’ self-worth in their professional life?

The young women here who plan to snag a husband on their way out the door have little respect from me. Finding acceptance and financial security in another person are traits that I find weak and degrading.
Growing up, my smarts and talents, I was told, were worth more than anything, and my parents raised me to be self-sufficient, independent and hard working.
In the world outside my small East Texas town, I notice the big difference in upbringings, and although most people ooh and ahh over the sparkling rock on their lucky friend’s finger, I’m trying to hold down my lunch.

While my friends are out playing the dating game, I’m diligently working toward a career in which I can take pride. Countless hours digging deeper into my field have made me a much more well-rounded individual.
I spent a summer interning in Washington, D.C., among the country’s brightest professionals in my field, many in their mid-20s who never once stopped to think about settling down in the near future.

Several of my high school friends have gotten engaged and married during or shortly after they graduated college. These four years in a college setting are fleeting, and it’s a shame to see them begin their lives away from home already tied down to another person. Although I’m not surprised; many of these girls were airheads in high school, too. Some things never change.

I do have a wedding-inspired Pinterest board that I started as a helpful bridesmaid in my dear friends’ nuptials, and I have since added a pin here and there. What’s so wrong with coveting pretty table arrangements?

I do have some reservations to my thought process on the matter. The aforementioned couple has been married two years this December. In their mid-20s, it’s evident that beyond the initial infatuation, they’re still hopelessly committed to each other, even with the ebb and flow of the past two years.

However, both of them will admit that while they don’t regret getting married still in college, it’s a significant amount of work, almost like a second job to keep afloat.

Developmental psychologist Erik Erikson infers in his psychosocial stages of life model that the basic conflict of the adolescence stage ages 12 to 18 is identity versus role confusion. Essentially, in order to successfully move on to the next level — young adulthood — a person must have control over his identity and self. Failure to do so results in a muddled sense of self-worth.

In the young adult stage, humans are meant to form intimate and meaningful relationships with other people, including both friends and significant others.
However, without a complete understanding of self, success in this stage is nonexistent until it occurs.
In essence, my problem lies with the mentality behind young marriage.

Psychologically, it’s impossible to fully give yourself to another without knowing who you are first. I can hardly imagine that the majority of these couples eager at the door of the chapel are exceedingly mature for their age and ready for such a commitment.

Why waste these few precious years to be young and free from marital responsibility? Taking time after college to live is not just for professional development or financial stockpiling.

It’s mostly to do with personal growth without answering to another person.

It does work for some. Both sets of my grandparents were married very young, and both couples are still married today well into their 70s and 80s.

However, the culture and society since their time has shifted, and today, a lot of young adults are still riding the financial coattails of their parents.

By the time my grandparents were my age, they were already settled with kids on the way. With doors standing wide open for me and my future, I can barely fathom slowing down to start a family now.

I have no crazy aspirations or plans that I need to get out of my system before settling down. However, I do have plenty of goals I want to achieve personally and career-wise before I tie the knot.

It’s not that I’m callous; I’m simply motivated. I’ve got a lot of living to do before I plan to live it with someone else.

Taylor Griffin is a junior journalism major from Tyler. She is the arts and entertainment editor for The Lariat.