Put a ring on it
Marriage is an everlasting commitment between two people to be with one another for the rest of their lives. For a majority of college students, the thought of marriage is not an option they would embrace, or even an option at all.
But on the other hand, there is always the minority who go against the norm.
On the campus of UW-Eau Claire, four of those students decided to tie the knot at an early age for many different reasons — one of them being the love they felt from the moment they met each other.
Senior business administration major Jake Meurett says that there was never a doubt in his mind he would marry his wife, Samantha Meurett, after he met her early in high school.
“It was never something we really had to declare,” Meurett said. “It was just the bond that we had … we always knew that we would get married, and so did the people around us.”
After meeting his soon-to-be wife in high school at D.C. Everest near Wausau, Wis., the two soon decided they wanted to go to the same college and continue their lives together.
After they made their marriage official on July 21, 2010 the following months brought to light a glaring problem that the two needed to address.
“The biggest downside with our marriage is that we are no longer with our parents’ health insurance,” Meurett said. “She (Sam) got chickenpox actually … we didn’t have health insurance for that so that set us back quite a bit.”
Meurett went on to say that things seem to even out for him and his wife. Because the two now file “married” on their financial aid instead of “single” they reap the benefits of more financial aid.
“My wife and I had never got a refund check in the mail before,” Meurett said. “This semester we both got $4,000 back in the mail which was a really nice surprise.”
For senior political science and spanish double major Megan Heinz-Schaffer, she shares Meurett’s claims that marriage is basically a new label for them and says that the biggest difference of marriage is living together with her husband.
Heinz-Schaffer’s husband takes night classes at Chippewa Valley Technical College while Heinz-Schaffer takes a majority of her classes during the day at Eau Claire, so she said that keeping their relationship spark is not a problem at all.
“We sort of have opposite schedules, so its somewhat good in that regard that we don’t see each other all the time,” Heinz-Schaffer said. “So its really fun when we are together because it is somewhat of a treat and we don’t take our time together for granted.”
Heinz-Schaffer also said that she is not very different at all than single students on campus because she does a lot of the same things that her single friends get to do. The only difference is that she is 100 percent committed to her spouse and is not looking to date.
“I still do all the things I used to do (before I was married); I still go out, (I’m) still active on campus and I still do my homework and all the things a regular student does,” Heinz-Schaffer said.
Tying the knot is not without its sacrifices. College will eventually come to an end, and by getting married, you have made a pact with your spouse to stay together no matter what.
For senior Information Systems major John Cusick, this may mean relocating to the edges of the continental United States to be with the one he loves.
John’s wife Britta Cusick has plans of furthering her education after her undergraduate studies, which means that John himself will be going with.
“She’s (Britta) going to be going to grad school,” Cusick said. “We’re under the agreement that if she’s going somewhere, I’m going with. D.C., Denver, Baltimore, Oregon … these are all options for post-college for us.”
When it comes to supporting not only yourself as a student and person, but another person as well — Cusick said that there are certain traits that married couples have to tackle head on.
“You’ve got to be mature for sure,” Cusick said. “I see it in my other married friends as well, we tend to be more down to earth … you tend to take on the role of supporting not even yourself, but another person and I’ve noticed I take school even more seriously than I did before.”
The Cusick’s will most likely be leaving after their lease is up in June to start their lives, more than likely, away from Wisconsin.
On the other side of the spectrum, junior Elementary Education major Stephanie Gullicksrud has no plans on moving away from the area anytime soon.
Married this summer in Eleva, Wis., Stephanie and her husband, Tyson, seem to have a bright future ahead of them in northern Wisconsin. Her spouse is studying accounting at Chippewa Valley Technical College and Gullicksrud said he has aspirations to take over the accounting aspects of the family business.
“His family owns a really, really big dairy farm and so he works on the farm,” Gullicksrud said. “This is why it is an absolute necessity that we live in Eleva-Strum. This is fine, too, because we both don’t care for city living.”
Now living with her spouse in Eleva, Wis., Gullicksrud prefers commuting to school over living in the dorms.
“It’s nice cause I really hated living in the dorms … not that I am a non-social person, but I like my space,” Gullicksrud said. “To be together at home is really nice because we don’t have to make plans to be together during the day, it just happens.”
At Eau Claire, it is against the norm for college students to get married at the age they are, but these four students have that one thing in common.
For these four students, it’s not a testament of your background or if you’re going across the country or just down the road. All of these students share a common value of life; finding someone they care about and holding on to them for dear life.