When I first started talking to my dad about the possibility of getting married, his first response was, “Don’t drop out of school.” The idea of dropping out for the sake of getting married had never crossed my mind. I had always excused women dropping out to work at home as an archaic tradition that, though still practiced by some, mostly ended with my parents’ generation. However, when my husband proposed to me, the questions started rolling in from fellow students, strangers, family friends and others.
“Will you still go to Whitworth once you’re married?”
“So you’re probably not going to grad school since you’re getting married, right?”
“It’s so sad that you won’t be able to pursue your career now that you’ll be having kids and doing the wife thing.”
My plans haven’t changed all that much. I’m married now, and clearly my future plans have morphed a bit to incorporate my commitment to family, but my personal plans and goals aren’t obliterated.
I did decide not to take an entire year to study abroad, as I had planned to do before getting engaged.
However, I made decisions like these because I can’t imagine a year without my husband, not because I felt a need to fulfill some sort of social obligation and fill my time housekeeping and cooking.
In 2012, being a married woman doesn’t have to mean giving up personal autonomy. More than that, being a married woman definitely doesn’t have to mean dreams of graduating and having a career are obsolete. In fact, according to the American Council on Education, 23 percent of female undergraduates in the United States are married.
Married students who dream of graduate school will take solace in the fact that 43 percent of graduate students are married. Married women may also get a pay benefit once they’re in their careers. According to a 2010 study, married women earn about four percent more than unmarried women in similar positions.
I have no problem with women working in the home or ending their education because they choose to re-prioritize after getting married; however, this shouldn’t be the automatic assumption for young women who choose to marry their significant others.
Trego is a junior majoring in journalism and mass communication and English. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.