While many students go out during the weekends to mingle with fellow singles, college social life is a different experience all together for those who have already found their significant others.

Though there are no official statistics on the number of married University students, several community officials said they believe the demographic is relatively small on campus. Part of this group, several married undergraduate students, told the Michigan Daily that while they are happy with their choice of wedlock, they feel there is a distance between themselves and single students.

LSA senior Tim McMacken, who has been married since August 2007, said he realizes most students don’t get married as undergraduates and that it has distanced him from other students.

“(Being married) does set you apart, like being a commuter student,” McMacken said. “It doesn’t mean you can’t be social and integrate, it just sets you apart a little.”

Though being married meant foregoing the excitement and uncertainty of dating in college, McMacken said the lifestyle has proven a positive choice for him.

“It’s something that is just very stable and comforting in my life,” he said. “The fact that I can do bad on an exam and have a really rough day, but I’ve got this foundation that I can always fall back on.”

LSA senior Sharan Shokar, who is planning her wedding in June, said she believes it is uncommon for undergraduate students to get married while in school.

“I don’t think it’s the norm anymore to get married so young,” she said. “But my goals were always to go to college, get my degree and see what happens after that.”

LSA junior Nicole Brancheau, who is engaged to be married in August, said one of the difficulties of being engaged or married as an undergraduate female is the assumption by fellow students or professors that being married means she will not be continuing her education or career.

“Some of them assumed that I was getting my degree and going to be a housewife somewhere or just have kids right away,” Brancheau said. “(That) presumption … is something that is somewhat rude, and it’s frustrating when you’re trying to be taken seriously as a student.”

Brancheau also said she is frustrated by the general assumption that married undergraduates aren’t as serious in their relationships as older couples.

“There’s a lot of assumptions in society right now that young marriages don’t have a chance and that, especially in the undergraduate population, that these are sort of impetuous marriages, that they’re not as well thought through,” Brancheau said. “I don’t believe that that is the case.”

Shokar said though she believes there will always be negative stereotypes associated with young marriages, these presumptions didn’t affect her decision to get married.

“You get married because you’ve found the right person and when it feels right,” Shokar said. “And for me that is now.”

Despite these students’ experiences, religious leaders at campus congregations and a University official said they have seen a low number of married students in recent years.

University Housing spokesman Peter Logan wrote in an e-mail interview that while University Housing doesn’t keep data on the number of married students living in campus residence halls, he has noticed a decline in recent years.

“Anecdotally, we are seeing fewer married students take contracts for Northwood Community Apartments over the years, but we have not studied the trend to know why,” Logan wrote.

Reverend Reid Hamilton, chaplain of the Episcopal Campus Ministry Canterbury House, said he has never presided over any marriage ceremonies for undergraduate students in his seven years at the Canterbury House.

“I haven’t had any undergraduate students who are members of the house who have even been contemplating getting married,” Hamilton said. “Everybody sort of graduates first — some get married pretty freshly out of college.”

Similarly, Michael Brooks, executive director of the University of Michigan Hillel, said he thinks it is uncommon for students to get married as undergraduates or prior to coming to college here.

According to 2009 U.S. Census data, 87 percent of males ages 20 to 24 had never been married, compared with 77.4 percent of females ages 20 to 24 who had never been married.

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