There’s differing schools of thought about college students getting married while still in school. As with all personal life choices, getting married is a big decision only you and your significant other can make for your own unique situation. What’s right for one person may not be right for another. Here, I’ll share my own story of married life in college and how it has furthered my pre-medical path. I’ll also share the story of my friend Bailey Knop, a nursing student in Alabama finishing up her last semester. I asked Bailey to share her own experience with you so you would have the perspectives of both a traditional and non-traditional pre-health student. Having someone in our lives for support and encouragement has really allowed us to reach our full potential and grow as individuals. Although the main purpose of this post is to share our personal stories about marriage, I want to encourage every pre-health student to find that person (or people) who can be there for you while you work toward your dreams. Life won’t always be easy and you’ll want friends who can be there to celebrate the good and help you through the bad, whether that be a significant other, mentor, bff, coworker, or classmate.
Nicole & Ryan
We met four years ago in Texas while both serving in the Army. His sense of adventure and love of learning immediately drew me in; he’s still my adventuring partner today! I left active duty in 2016 in order to follow my dreams of becoming a doctor and attend school full time. Over that Christmas break, Ryan proposed to me in his childhood church while we were in his hometown visiting family. His grandmother, “Meme,” and Amelia, his sister, asked me for help moving some tables for an upcoming church event…it was a total setup that I never saw coming. Ryan, dressed in old jeans and a flannel Christmas shirt, left earlier that morning to help his grandfather with something. They took me to the church and suddenly disappeared as I walked through the front doors of that little white chapel. At the front of the church stood Ryan, dressed in a suit. He told me that very spot was where he had experienced countless memories in his life, some sad and some wonderful, from boyhood through manhood. Ryan explained this journey was necessary and ultimately it led him to me. He also told me that because I grew up in many different places across the country, and didn’t have a special place of my own, he wanted to share his with me. On one knee he proposed to me with the most beautiful ring I could have ever wished for and, once I said yes…his nephew ran inside to tell him he had to pee! Then Ryan told him, “guess what?” and that I would be his aunt. He got really excited, hugged me, and I’ll never forget that moment for the rest of my life. My sister-in-law was so embarrassed, but I thought it was adorable and wouldn’t change a single thing about that day. We originally planned on a year and a half engagement with a summer wedding but eloped in the botanical gardens when he received short notice military orders to move. Now we’re in a new place and I’m about to start year two of my pre-med path.
From realizing my own dreams and potential through my first year of college, Ryan has been my support and rock. Despite intimate knowledge of the demands this professional choice entails, he encouraged me to take the first step and has never stopped cheering me on. There are some days when all I do is study for hours on end and others when I’m out shadowing, volunteering, or participating in other extracurricular activities. Despite his own busy schedule, he’s always there to support and love me. Last semester, he helped me study for a laboratory final by quizzing me on dissection pictures late into the early morning. Sometimes he tells me to put everything down because we’re going on an adventure so I can relax and recharge my brain. He’s done far more than I can ever give him credit for and I feel fortunate to have him by my side.
Bailey & Drew
Drew and I met for the first time when I moved into my dorm Freshman year. We didn’t realize he had moved me in until after about a year of dating when we found a picture of us on one of the university website pages. Two years ago, we started talking again over the game Trivia Crack. After about a week we met up and one thing led to the next until February 2015 when he asked me to become his girlfriend. Drew and I instantly clicked from the beginning. We had similar family backgrounds, enjoyed doing a lot of the same things, and we both got along really well with each other’s friends and family. It was perfect. After a little over a year of dating, Drew asked me to spend the rest of my life with him and without hesitation I said yes. I’m sure some people thought “they’ve only been dating for a little over a year, that’s crazy” but I would say that after about three months of dating we both knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together and here we are…a month into our marriage and we couldn’t be happier.
Drew has always been so supportive of my dream to become a nurse and I’m not sure if I would have made it this far into the program without him telling me every single day that I could do it. We’ve spent a lot of hours in the library together. Even after he graduated, he would come by and just sit with me for a little while and always offer to help me study. When I got tired of reading my notes he would ask to quiz me. Half of the time he couldn’t pronounce the words right but that was okay because it was at least entertaining and hilarious! Just his presence kept me calm and focused during these stressful semesters.
Nicole Whether you’re married, thinking about getting married, or married to medicine, remember that your path is yours alone. There is no one right answer to life or whether getting married in college is something you should or shouldn’t do, and I’m not here to provide that answer for you. I do want to remind you, however, to remember that no one can go down this path to medicine or through life alone, nor should they. Everyone needs that person for emotional support, encouragement, and to keep their spirits high when the road seems long, whether that someone be a significant other or someone else. Surround yourself with positive people who care about your success and support your decision to enter the healthcare field.
Bailey Don’t let anything stop you from pursuing your dreams. If you want it badly enough you can do it! And, if you ever question why you are where you are or doing what you’re doing just remember Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”