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Op-ed: You don’t need to find your husband in college

One woman's take on why university is not the only place to meet the man of your dreams.

By HerCampus.com May 13, 2013 4:35PM

Most girls dream of getting married. Some dedicate an entire Pinterest board to their future wedding before they even have a boyfriend (guilty as charged); others daydream about the day they’ll meet their husband. But according to some, our days to have that fateful encounter are numbered.

Photo: College couple / Paul Bradbury/Getty Images When Susan Patton, a guest contributor to The Daily Princetonian and president of Princeton University’s class of 1977, told her audience that they should find their spouses before they graduate, many college women began to freak out.

“Does that mean my friend with benefits will become my husband?” “Am I deemed a lonely spinster before my life really begins?” Though Patton justifies her controversial claim with her sons’ experiences, her argument is offensive and fails to recognize that restricting yourself to marrying your college beau has its set of drawbacks and limitations.

“Men regularly marry women who are younger, less intelligent, less educated,” Patton argues. “It’s amazing how forgiving men can be about a woman’s lack of erudition, if she is exceptionally pretty.”

Wait a second, so is Patton trying to say that we have to be pretty or somewhat inferior to get married? Perhaps she hasn’t received the memo, but a little bit of personality goes a long way. Suggesting that guys would rather marry a girl with beauty over brains is degrading and fails to recognize that marriage should be much more than physical attraction.

So what does she mean?

“Simply put, there is a very limited population of men who are as smart or smarter than we are,” Patton says. “And I say again: You will never again be surrounded by this concentration of men who are worthy of you.”

We should take this as a compliment to an extent; however, her statement isn’t entirely true. First of all, who is to say that intellect is the only thing that women look for in a spouse? Having a riveting conversation with your husband is important; however, Patton doesn’t acknowledge that there are people who are “street smart” or didn’t have the money to attend a top-tier school.  And quite frankly, I’d rather be with a guy who is loyal and caring than a former classmate who isn’t those things any day.

Though we might be OK with a spouse who isn’t as smart as we are, Patton also argues that men may not want to “marry up.” A powerful and intelligent woman does sound intimidating; however, Patton is also forgetting that there are college men at equally prestigious schools who are “worthy of you.” Though it seems like ages ago, we did apply to a bevy of schools that matched our test scores and GPA.  So unless all the heterosexual male students from those schools found true love in college, which is unlikely, there will be single guys who are “just as smart or smarter than we are” out there after graduation.

With a world of eligible bachelors to choose from, why should we narrow our choices down to the boys who grace our own campus’s quad? Once you graduate, you’ll have so many opportunities to meet guys: work, graduate school, post-work cocktails and your friends, just to name a few.

From a statistical standpoint, young married couples are the underdogs.

Clark University’s Poll of Emerging Adults found that 86 percent of young adults in America expect their marriage to last a lifetime. Though the idea of a college sweetheart is endearing, there’s a big chance you will not live happily ever after. While The Huffington Post reports that the national divorce rate is declining, more young couples are divorcing. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 60 percent of American couples who marry between 20 and 25 [years old] eventually divorce. That doesn’t scream matrimonial bliss to me.

Read the rest of the op-ed on Her Campus here.

More from HerCampus.com:

7 signs he's never going to commit

7 flirty texts to send him

7 scientifically proven ways to make him fall for you

Photo: College couple / Paul Bradbury/Getty Images

May 18, 2013 6:23AM
God I hate these stupid articles about dating advice. You don't know a god damn thing.
May 18, 2013 6:00AM
I wasn't looking, but I found my husband at Cal-state University, Fullerton.  We dated for six months, engaged for four months and got married.  We have been married for almost forty-two years come August 14th.  We married late.  I was 28 years old and my husband was 34 years old.  We worked after high school for 7 years in my case before attending the university and my husband worked 12 years before attending the university.  He is from Israel and me, I was born in the left coast of California in Napa Valley.  We have not children (thank God!) but have a sweet Siberian Husky.  College and university men not boys,are great!
May 18, 2013 3:30AM
Married in college.  Worst mistake ever.  I finished - he didn't.  The man I am with now (although not married) drives a forklift in shipping and receiving.  He is an amazing guy.  I am more educated by book standards, but he definitely has more life experience.  He knows  about life first hand and brings that experience into our relationship.  We meet when I was finishing up in college, but he has no desire for a white collar job.  I think having someone who knows who they are and what they want out of life is a huge benefit.  We may not be married, but we have been together for 22 years.  Maybe not being married is what saved us?
May 18, 2013 3:06AM

Depends on the school, some schools will take anything that comes thru the door.  Others pick the top few.  

She is talking about the top schools, if you are in a top school, I believe she is correct, it's the best chance you will ever have. Lets say the odds are better there than on the street. Chances are he is a worker, has a brain, not a bad guy, and with luck from a rich family. Put the odds on your side. 

May 18, 2013 3:04AM
Two-thirds of the people I went to college with married people from the same college. This was in 1970 but I always thought that what brought people together was the fact that we all shared the same experiences and struggles to graduate from what I thought was a difficult school. Over seventy percent of my class earned masters and doctorate degrees and continue to make significant contributions to this country. Marrying someone who understands the academic discipline and supports the time and effort required helps. Simply, they continue to grow together.
May 18, 2013 2:40AM
I went to a private Christian college and the big joke there was the women were going for a MRS degree.
May 18, 2013 1:24AM
Oops... I found my hubby in college and he is proud to tell people that I have more education than he does. We have been together for nearly 15 years and will celebrate our 12 year wedding anniversary this July. I prefer the situation I am in to the whining and crying I hear from other woman my age (34) complaining and carrying on about how they can't find "the perfect man." Guess what? HE DOES NOT EXIST!!
May 18, 2013 12:14AM
Whoever wrote this is clueless. Guys go for looks. Period. Yes, we're that simple.
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