The phrase is commonly known around Hope’s campus: “ring by spring.” You hear it mentioned in a conversation your first year, but you are not sure what it means. What kind of ring? A championship ring? Maybe those people you overheard were athletes. Spring is only a semester away though. How could they expect to be super successful with their sports teams during the first semester? At this point you are confused, so you ask a friend if they know what “ring by spring” is all about. Finally, you are enlightened. Basically, you are supposed to get engaged by spring of your senior year. People tend to sound sarcastic when uttering the phrase, so you assume it is the running joke on campus about long-term relationships. Over the next few years, one or two of your peers end up getting engaged.
You do not think much about it because those people are simply outliers for tying the knot in the middle of college. Senior year arrives and suddenly there is an apocalypse of proposals. Instagram features photo after photo of the boyfriend down on one knee and the girlfriend standing with her hands clasped over her mouth in joyful shock. You read the same captions over and over. “I said yes!” “I am the luckiest person in the world!” “Can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with this guy/girl!” Now the pressure is on for you to get engaged. You sign up for websites like e-harmony and obsess over finding the perfect spouse. You become unable to do homework because all you can think about is love. Your health plummets because you begin living off of nothing but chocolate chip cookies. Alright, perhaps this is getting a bit extreme. Isn’t leaving college and finding an adult career enough to contemplate and deal with in the first place? You can be glad to not have to deal with planning a wedding like some of your peers, which they impressively handle while still in school.
At the same time, it can be hard not to be a bit jealous of the young couples in love. You might think to yourself, “Why haven’t I found my person yet?” Others in relationships might feel the pressure to commit and just get engaged already. Regardless of your relationship status, don’t stress over the stereotype of getting that “ring by spring.” If you are single, there is still so much of your life ahead of you, so there is no need to worry about finding your person just yet. If you are in a relationship, take it slow if that is what seems right for you. That is not to say that no one our age should marry. If you are engaged, congratulations and best wishes to you and your fiancé. As for everyone as a whole, may you discover endless happiness and success no matter what chapter of life you are currently experiencing.