As the engagement announcements begin to roll out, it comes as no surprise that many PLNU students are getting hitched due to PLNU’s “ring by spring” cliche.
Whether it is the popular phrase, “ring by spring or your money back,” or “receiving an M.R.S. degree,” Christian colleges seem to create an expectation that students will be engaged by the Spring of their senior year, but is there truth behind this statement?
Senior applied health major, Marlee Aylward, announced her engagement to Derek Beauchamp on October 13th. “I just got engaged so I can’t really hate on the ring-by-spring meme. I think the reason that people decide to get engaged during their senior year and possibly married right after is that it’s pretty logical timing but every couple is so unique.”
Though it may seem that every couple has their own unique qualities, the consistent pattern of Loma couples getting engaged by their senior year can put pressure on their classmates to lock someone down and be engaged by graduation too.
As the clock starts ticking, many students feel the pressure to find ‘the one’ shortly after beginning school. Junior finance major, Chris Gotz, describes this routine to be systematic. “You plan to meet someone your freshman year, seriously date for the next two years then get engaged by the spring of senior year.”
Senior journalism major, Tigist Layne, states that this cliche is “very real on our campus. Honestly, I think it’s kind of a harmful message because it puts way too much pressure on college students to get married.”
The pressure for students in relationships to soon be engaged is not a new concept on our campus.
Professors Jon and Katie Manning describe dating at Loma as both fun and restricting. “Dating at PLNU was fun in a lot of ways. Older friends would let us borrow their cars so we could go out on dates. At the same time, dorm curfews and open dorm hours were really restrictive in a way that didn’t help us make responsible decisions as new adults, especially freshman year.”
With the pressure, expectations and reality facing several Christian college communities, the need for students to support one another in their seasons of life seems to be an important message that some need to hear.
The Mannings say, “Relationships are hard enough to do well, so it would be awesome if the community surrounding a couple could spend less time making tired ‘Ring by Spring’ jokes and spend more energy supporting and encouraging people who are trying to love each other.”
Layne also says, “Life is like running a race, and the finish line, the goal, is Jesus, your dreams, your passions. If you run that race and stay focused on that finish line, eventually, you will look over and you will see someone running right alongside you, focused on his/her own finish line, and that will be the person you are supposed to finish the race with.”