To many people, and especially to Stanford students, getting married or engaged while still in college may sound like a crazy idea. For a few Stanford undergraduates, however, tying the knot during their time here has been the right choice.
Lexi Keck ’15 and Kyle Pollock ’14, who met through Cardinal Life, a Christian fellowship on campus, got engaged in December last year. Balancing the planning of a wedding with a normal student lifestyle posed challenges, both acknowledged, but ultimately the additional effort proved worthwhile.
“The commitment aspect and the covenant aspect [of marriage] are huge because that’s what separates marriage from just a casual relationship,” Keck said.
Hannah Boyd ’14, who is engaged to Graham Thompson ’14, described the marriage process as “challenging but exciting.”
Boyd and Thompson met the first day of freshman year in their Program in Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) class. They got to know each other better through their church and, after studying abroad together in Cape Town, South Africa, decided that they “had enough to know that this was what [they] wanted forever.”
“I would say I’ve grown so much through dating Graham,” Boyd said. “Either through the way he’s changed me or the way that the situation has challenged me and made me grow. I wouldn‘t trade it for anything.”
For the engaged Katie Nelms ’14 and Luke Amuchastegui ’14, challenges are a natural part of the process.
“Basically, we’re doing a life together now – it’s not just what he wants to do or what I want to do,” Nelms said. “That comes with a lot of compromise and sacrifice. Words that are used in such negative ways can be really beautiful when you’re doing them with somebody and for somebody and when there is love and trust.”
According to Boyd, many people that didn’t know the couple well reacted negatively to their announcement, expressing concerns that they had rushed into the commitment at an excessively early age.
“I think [their reaction is] mostly surprise and excitement and then thirdly probably maybe questioning,” Thompson added. “Even within our group of friends there has been some…resistance to change – we’ve had both good and bad.”
However, the couples agreed that they have ultimately met with a positive reaction from the Stanford community.
“Stanford is a pretty open community and I found it to be very true even in the situations [where] people have to be open in a very different way than what they are used to,” Nelms said.
“People are excited for us, but I don’t think they’d want that for themselves,” Pollock said. “They’re kind of like ‘Oh that’s great for you! I’m not at that place at all but I’m glad that you’re in that place.’”
Pollock framed the decision to get married as particularly distinctive given the backdrop of Stanford’s “hookup culture.”
“I feel like there is kind of a culture against dating at Stanford – at least serious dating,” Pollock said. “I think people are more okay with something like hooking up after a Friday night party.”
“It really stems from not wanting as much commitment [and] focusing more on success and school,” Keck added. “What I learned in most of my classes are super important [but] I think relationships have been the biggest aspect of my time at Stanford.”
According to Nelms, there are better ways to do romance than common Stanford practices.
“It’s a time issue and taking the time to get to know somebody and really care deeply for someone that transcends the romance aspect,” she said. “I think that if people would just care a little more and invest a little more in the people that they’re with, a lot of people would have more and easier time dating and getting to know each other.”
While the couples have had a Stanford experience largely distinct from that of the typical student, most didn’t mention anything other than going out to dinner for Valentine’s Day.
“I’m not a huge Valentine’s Day person,” Nelms admitted.
Her fiancé, however, supported her by giving the perfect answer:
“I think every day is Valentine’s Day!” Amuchastegui concluded.
Contact Sevde Kaldiroglu at sevde ‘at’ stanford.edu.