Freeze the fiancé search, find your forever friends first

By Julianne Fullerton | Reporter

We live in a culture at Baylor that heavily pushes the phenomenon of “ring by spring,” which makes it easier than ever to get hooked on the dreamy idea of finding your future spouse in college. While many do find their college sweethearts while living in the Baylor bubble, the college experience should not solely revolve around the pursuit of tying the knot.

I grew up believing the cliché that almost everyone meets their spouse in college. Taking a step back, I can confidently say that this is not true for everyone. Don’t get me wrong; I love hearing about college love stories. However, it becomes concerning when people turn their college years into a mission to find their happily ever after.

Instead, I suggest focusing your college experience on finding your future bridesmaids or groomsmen first. While potential spouses may come and go, the pivotal friendships you form during your college years will outlive any heartbreak.

These days, relationships seem to be more fickle — they come and go. It seems like everyone has different perceptions of what dating should look like, how it should feel and what the actual definition of a relationship is. This leads to confusion and inconsistency.

In the midst of navigating relationship problems, or lack thereof, who supports you when you are at your highest moments and lowest of lows? Chances are, your friends have been sticking by you no matter what season of life you’re in. They remain consistent through any curveballs that life throws your way.

One thing I love about the college experience is that everyone has the opportunity to find a steadfast community that can stand by them. Baylor provides a plethora of opportunities to get plugged in.

College is the first time in someone’s life when they truly get to choose the community they surround themselves with. Even compared to post-graduate life, nothing will quite match the freedom we have right now to be intentional and present in creating lifelong friendships.

According to a study done by Stanford University, only around 19% of couples meet their spouse during their college years. In fact, it was much more common to meet someone through a friend or even online.

When someone puts all their time and energy into only pursuing a relationship during college, they often miss out on pursuing other deep friendships outside of that. Friendships help with personal development, and when you spend less time with the people who know you best, you’re only hurting yourself.

Everyone comes into college with their own ideas of what they will get out of it. For some, it’s just a degree. For others, it’s a spouse. For me, I’ve valued finding a community — an authentic community that walks alongside me no matter what I’m going through, whether that be enduring a hard class or needing to find a formal date.

These four short years will go by in the blink of an eye, so why not spend the time intentionally pouring into the friendships around us so that they will last beyond graduation?

When that engagement finally comes around, your friends will be there to run along beside you and share in your excitement. After all, your bridesmaids and groomsmen have been with you from day one, so there is truly no one better to celebrate with.