Annie and Brandon appear to be an average couple. The LSA juniors hang out with friends, study hard, and spend as much time with one another as possible.
Statistically speaking, however, Annie and Brandon are far from average that”s because after an August wedding the couple became two of only a small number of married undergraduates on campus.
“We”re usually met with the reaction “I could never do that,”” said Brandon Kelly. “People seem to feel that marriage ties them down.”
That reaction and the fact that neither he nor Annie knows of anyone else here who is married speak to the small number of students who marry while still in school.
While the University does not keep data on marital status, occupancy rates from Housing do provide more information.
Married couples live in 1,143 (78 percent) out of 1,462 Family Housing apartments on campus, said Jeffrey Micale, data systems manager for University Housing. Of the 1,143 couples, 4 percent are undergraduates, 86 percent are graduate students, and the remaining 115 10 percent are faculty or staff.
For most people, once the initial shock wears off, “it”s more of an admiration,” said Annie Kelly. “There”s a preconceived notion in this culture that marriage means the ball and chain. Everyone feels they”ve got to get a college degree and a stable job before they can get married.”
Given that sentiment, both Brandon and Annie were surprised by the reaction they got while honeymooning in Mexico everyone in Mexico looked at them as being old to be just getting married because Brandon was 20 and Annie was 21.
Brandon said that while a lot of students say they could never get married at this age, for Annie and him who were introduced by mutual friends during Welcome Week their freshman year it was more a question of why not.
To wait until they had graduated before getting married would have been another two years.
“If we feel we”re right for each other and ready to make that commitment, what”s the point of waiting when we have the capability of getting married in college,” he said.
Brandon said he and Annie also felt it wasn”t necessary to wait because their parents supported them in their decision.
Annie agrees that they and everyone else thinking of getting married while in school “really need the parents” support.”
“If you don”t have it, there”s a reason,” she said.
Counseling and Psychological Services does offer couples counseling on a couple-by-couple basis but does not have anything specifically geared toward those looking to get married, said Jim Etzkorn, CAPS assistant director of clinical services.
“We haven”t had a huge demand for a specific service like a pre-marital counseling program. We find out what couples” needs are and respond appropriately.”
Annie said that while many couples may experience difficulty at first adjusting to being married, for them the transition has been extremely smooth.
“I have a feeling of just security,” she said. “It”s a secure feeling knowing he”ll always be there and I”ll always have someone to come home to.”
As for advice for those considering the marriage question: “You really need to think hard and contemplate the commitment,” said Annie. “You don”t want to be standing at the alter saying “Do I want to do this through sickness and in health?””