“Oh yeah, remember him?” My friend points to the young man in the sports jacket and gelled hair, sipping champagne. “We went to high school with him. He’s a junior here, and he’s engaged.”
“Sure, yes, I remember. Wow.” Gulp.
I was informed of this while celebrating New Year’s Eve at a college in New York City. On the outside I play it cool. I decide it must be the Andre that’s making me feel suddenly dizzy. But reflecting on this tidbit of gossip, I realize this is now the third person I’ve heard about recently who is my age or younger, and yes, engaged. I tell myself this is normal. I mean, people fall in love in college all the time – yes, keep breathing – and decide they’ve found “the one.” My conscious overrides my attempts at rational thought. Inside, I’m screaming, “we’re just kids!? We can’t get married!?” We were just stressing about prom dresses; why are we looking at wedding gowns? Annie Banks and Bryan MacKenzie, of my all-time favorite wedding movie, Father of the Bride, still have years and years on me, right?
This recent barrage of marriage news has me thinking about the dating atmosphere at Colgate. (Bear with me, interning for a relationship magazine, I’ve been eating, sleeping and breathing relationship facts and figures). I’ve heard numerous theories pertaining to dating at Colgate: some claim that it doesn’t exist, i.e. that we are a “hookup” campus; others claim that dating at Colgate does exist, but only for those rare few who began dating during that pivotal window of opportunity called freshman orientation.
I can’t help but notice that the atmosphere has changed over my three and a half years here. Or perhaps, it is more likely the maturation of myself and my classmates that has led me to believe this change has taken place.
As I look around me, I feel that so much coupling off has occurred recently. This “trend,” however, was not apparent to me during my first year at school. Yes, there were the few who were, impressively, hanging on to their high school sweethearts, but for the most part it seemed that the class of ’06 was taking full advantage of its single status. And why shouldn’t we? When else will we again be surrounded by so many fun, intelligent, and, yes, attractive people our own age?
Now, as we close out our careers at Colgate I feel that suddenly so many of my friends have clicked the “in a relationship” box on Facebook. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Is it simply happenstance? One might argue that it has been a slow occurrence that I have simply been oblivious to, until recently. Maybe we are getting tired of closing out the Jug at 2 AM and walks of shame ten hours later. Is it possible that the — dare I say it — idea of “settling down” has pervaded the thoughts of seniors?
I like to think that couples have formed for the simple reason that we have all grown closer as a class over the past almost-four years. There’s less pressure to impress peers, in establishing friends or reputations, than there was at the start of college. Perhaps we simply have a better idea of what qualities we are looking for and appreciate in others.
Keeping that in mind, I’ve decided to continue telling myself there’s plenty of time. There’s a lot of living and exploring to do out there. Let’s not start looking at bridal registries just yet.