Engagements and Marriage Presents Extra Challenges and Blessings to Some Current Biola Students
The recently warm weather seems to be welcoming the new season, blooming with news of engagements and marriage. Valentine's Day may even be causing the common maxim of "Ring by Spring" to weigh more heavily on our minds. Although such a prospect is fun and romantic on the exterior, trouble may often be brewing beneath. It turns out that married or engaged couples in college are the ones that may face prominently more difficult times when it comes to marriage.
Senior Tamara King is a business management major who got married on Jan. 5. She explained that even though she is in her last semester of college, she still finds it very difficult to balance finances. “Obviously I don’t make very much as an intern [at Biola's Human Resources department], and my husband makes just enough to support us, but we have to be so careful not to get too excited when pay day comes around,” King said.
King is faced with more responsibilities when it comes to saving money now that she is married. However, this issue doesn’t only apply to married college students, but also to those who are engaged. Married couples may deal with more complex financial affairs, but engaged students face similar struggles in planning their weddings, while trying to balance it with their studies.
Senior Biolans, Lisa Schlegel and Alex Carpenter, who got engaged two days after their two-year anniversary, find it “relatively hard” to plan and raise money for their wedding.
“We definitely don’t have a lot of money to work with,” Schlegel said, “so we want to focus on the meaning of the event and be thankful for whatever the Lord provides.”
Aside from money, Schlegel also explained the difficulty in housing expenses, insurance, “and all the fun stuff that comes with being an independent adult.”
Monique Renfrow, a junior nursing major, who is also engaged, talks of the challenges in planning on a “low budget.”
“I sometimes fall into the fear that some of our guests may be judgmental of our not-so-extravagant wedding,” she said. “People have made such a big deal these days about the whole event and seem to put less focus on the whole purpose of the wedding itself.”
Apart from the tough conditions these students face, the optimism shines through when it comes to their relationship with their partners and the more positive elements of married or engaged life. Meghan Scheenstra, a senior math major, shared that she expected it to be difficult being married while in college, but she is overall positive about it.
“I love being in college and I love being married. I feel so blessed!” Scheenstra said.
Evangelina Oka, a married junior psychology major feels similarly.
"Marriage has given me a sense of stability because I know that I am going to spend the rest of my life with my husband," Oka said.
King strongly agrees, as she too is thankful for her husband’s encouragement to her “after a long day at school and work.”
And for those engaged, the fun of creating unique wedding ideas can brighten the mid-semester battles with homework. Renfrow explained that her family and friends are highly involved in the preparation for the wedding, which makes the planning “kind of a fun homework break sometimes.” Schlegel also said that her wedding party will basically be “made up of Biolans.”
“We want our wedding to be very unique and special to us,” Schlegel said.
Because Schlegel and her future husband, Carpenter, come from different cultures — Schlegel from a Japanese American culture and Carpenter from Brazil — Schlegel says they want to “incorporate some Japanese, Brazilian and American customs” into their wedding, in addition to their experience at Biola.
From these "grown up" experiences, students learn different lessons that others around them probably have not dealt with.
“There are many more responsibilities and a lot of hard work that comes with getting married — one that I wouldn’t really suggest to anyone unless they were fully determined and also fully confident of God’s blessing on their decision to be married,” Oka said.