This archived article was written by: Jenna Rae Rudolph
Fall semester 2010: my husband and I were checking out tables at Club Rush. A friend caught up with us and told us to sign up at the non-trad table. I was confused.
“Henry and I aren’t non-traditional students,” I told him. Then he looked confused.
“Yes you are. You’re married!” A light bulb turned on in my mind. I honestly had not considered the fact that our summer wedding had changed our “traditional student” status. A non-traditional student is a person who is older than the traditional student (generally 25 or older), has a child (or children) or is married.
The more I think about this experience, the more I realize I should have known. So much about college life is different if a person is married. It makes sense that we would be put into a different category.
One huge change is that we don’t live on campus. Meeting people and making friends is a lot more difficult now that we don’t live in the dorms. On that same note, it is a lot more difficult to find time for the friends we had when we did live in the dorms. In the last six months, each of us has only had a handful of girls (guys) nights. Before our marriage, the majority of our nights were spent with friends.
Another difference is that we’re out of the dating and flirting scene. When a guy hits on me, my response, which is now second nature, is always the same: I lift my left hand to eye level and say, “Sorry, married.” Most of my college friends have a much more favorable response. Now, I don’t want to flirt with guys, but I do miss gossiping about bad dates to my girlfriends sometimes. Just like I know Henry did with his guy friends.
It is also strange to have someone to answer to again. Henry and I always tell each other where we’re going, what we’re doing, when we’ll be back, everything. Every morning we discuss our plans for the day, then we check in with each other throughout the day I haven’t done that since I lived with my parents four years ago.
While some of these changes can be hard at times, some things about marriage and in college have no downside. For example, we both receive a Pell Grant to pay for tuition now. Apparently, the government likes giving money to married students more than “traditional students.”
We love each other and love being married. There are definitely challenges – we don’t have enough time together, most of our friends are unmarried, we’re not good with housework – but we’re happy. Everything we do, we do, at least partially, for each other. Being a non-traditional student generally means that your accomplishments are shared and your education is no longer solely for your own benefit. Henry and I are working toward our degrees to benefit each other. USU-CEU is home to a lot of non-traditional students. But just so you know, even though we’re older, have kids, or we’re married, that doesn’t mean that we’re no fun anymore or that we can only hav ===e couple friends (although, those are nice).