Stance: Studies on the Family

Brigham Young University Student Journal

Tag: college

A: Aspirations as a Married Couple

You spend your whole life planning what you want to do and be for the remainder of life, and then . . . BAM! You get married, and everything changes. It’s a challenging experience to try to take two lives with two plans and merge them into one. In some cases, there has to be a lot of compromise so that the two partners can live their idea of a fulfilling life.

When I was deciding to marry my husband, Tyler, I thought integrating my plan into his life would be pretty easy. My plan in life was to grow up, go to my dream college studying the thing I love, marry the love of my life, have some cute little kids, and otherwise insert myself into his plan. I thought my plan was very conducive to married life. This plan would have worked out great, except that life doesn’t always go as planned, and I didn’t have a back-up plan.

Shortly after I married Tyler, I realized that the thing I was studying was not something I loved. This was problematic because I was almost done—and if I wanted to insert myself smoothly into Tyler’s plan, I had to graduate when he did, or not at all; so changing my career track was not an option at that point.

Another problem we encountered was the fact that Tyler’s plan wasn’t fully developed. Sure, we knew the basic outline: graduate from college, get a master’s degree, get a job. But, all of a sudden, we started figuring out that the track he was on would not lead him to the career he thought it would. We applied for internships, but he didn’t get any because he just wasn’t in the right field (even though he’s brilliant, and any company would be lucky to have him).

These problems led to many nights of stress for Tyler and worrying for me. Sometimes we’d lie in bed about to go to sleep, when I would start worrying out loud and end up in a fit of tears. Why aren’t things working out for us? I’d ask. Why didn’t everything go as planned?

Now, I still don’t have the solutions to our problems, but I have a formula for dealing with aspirations as a married couple that I recommend to anyone having similar issues.

First, you have to talk to each other. You have to get together and write down the things you enjoy doing, the things you could see yourself doing as a career, your ultimate dreams and goals.

When you’re done with that, I recommend that you rank the things on your list in order of importance to you. Talk about the things that you feel are non-negotiable, and things you wouldn’t mind doing without. Work out possibilities for the future, and how those things might affect your relationship and your family.

Then you have to make a plan together. And not just one plan, but several that range from broad to specific, from semester to fifty years, from ideal to worst case scenario. This could take several hours, so make sure you have a block of time set aside for doing this, or else you could end up scratching things out at 3 o’clock in the morning.

The last step is making a plan of action for right now. What will you do today to set you on the right path? Even if it’s just research, it will help you out in the long run. Decide on a timely plan for both of you, and help each other out. Remind your husband when his internship application is due. Encourage your wife to look for opportunities to acquire new skills. Take it day by day—if you always make sure you’re on the right trajectory, you will eventually end up where you want to be.

BY CARI AVERETT

Is it Really Mutual?

mobile-phone-791644_1280I remember the first time I saw the commercial for the Mutual dating app. It was hilarious! I mean, it had Stacey Harkey in it so can you really go wrong? But that was mostly it. I was familiar with Tinder and its reputation and wasn’t about to embrace that or “sink to that level.” That included online dating sites and dating apps in general. Sure, I get that there are happily married people out there that met on Tinder, and that is wonderful for them. One of my roommates met her husband through Tinder, and that was great for her! However, I was convinced that dating apps and online dating would be, for me, a last resort.

So, naturally, I have had Mutual for two months.

Yes, I know, right? But, before you start to think that I only did it because I’ve finally reached that “last resort,” let me explain myself:

We live in the 21st century. Now, if that is news to you, then go back to your knitting and watching Murder She Wrote and disregard the rest of my thought dump. If living in a college town has taught me anything, it’s that dating needs to be redefined. Maybe I’m just not that girl that gets asked out every weekend, but in my experience, dates are few and far between. Then, to add to the trouble, there are all these stigmas. People don’t date in the ward because, as they say, you don’t want to “pee in the pool.” People don’t ask out fellow classmates on dates either because if it goes south then you still have class together. People also don’t ask random people on campus out on dates because it’s usually seen as weird (except for my old roommate who got asked out by a random guy on campus and is now happily married to him—shout out to Jane and Nate!) But seriously, that doesn’t usually happen. Okay, so the ward is out of bounds; the classmates are out of bounds; and the general human being on campus is out of bounds. So…how do you meet people?

But there’s more. Excusing the fact that today it seems to be more acceptable for a girl to ask a guy out, I’m a traditionalist, so we are going to make pretend that guys man up and ask the girls out. Guys traditionally have the advantage: they can look at a group of girls and narrow it down to which they are attracted to, and then ask one of the them out on a date to see if they are also attracted to her personality. That’s a much easier scenario than how we girls simply succumb to whomever asks us out! Then, if we aren’t attracted to the guy at all, we have to play the “bad guy” and let them down. I guess this is where online dating sites and dating apps come into play.

Dating has changed and so, I must change with it. Maybe that means I will eventually feel comfortable with asking a guy out on a date; or maybe that means I will cave and get Mutual (oh wait, I did). But I have learned that I can’t pass judgment. I thought dating apps were ridiculous! (I guess I still have a little bit of that still going through my head as I swipe through profiles.) However, I have realized that it is just another way to meet people. And considering that any other aspect of college life doesn’t often result in anything, I figured it could be a good place to start.

I’ve met this really great guy on Mutual and we have been talking. I don’t know if anything will come of it, but maybe something will. Right now we are just trying to see if, well, if things are Mutual.

By Camille Baker

Moving Back Home: 4 Things I Learned as a College Student Living with My Family

mailboxThe last two years of my college life I have spent living at home with my parents and three younger siblings. I moved home after I spent some time—and most of my money—on a study abroad in the British Isles. The thought of moving back home after being on my own was frustrating, but the last two years have been much different than I expected. Here are four things I learned about what college kids and their families can do to make living together a good experience.

  1. Space is blessed. I am gone at school and work nearly all day, and when I am home, I’m usually doing homework. I need a sanctuary where I know I can take time for myself to get things done or just veg out. Families, remember that your stay-at-home college students are still adults with their own busy schedules. Help them by giving them physical and mental space to breathe.
  2. Family is an investment. Speaking of a busy schedule, there just never seems to be enough time for everything! However, even though I have my own agenda, I have found it’s important to make time for the people who not only house and feed me, but the people who also love me. I’ve grown closer to my parents and siblings in ways that I never could have had if I didn’t live at home. If you give them time, they will give you time. It’s a win-win.
  3. Save that dough! If you’re like me, chances are your family isn’t making you pay for everything—utilities, garbage, insurance, mortgage, etc. And with all that extra money, it’s way easier to feel like I have more to spend. But don’t get caught in a trap. Some months I have actually saved less money living at home than I did living on my own. I’ve found that maintaining some form of responsible adult spending habits (like keeping a budget and pitching in on groceries or rent) keeps me from overspending.
  4. Remember to stay socially healthy. Between school and work, I don’t always have the energy (or the desire) to go out at the end of the day. But even though spending time with family is important, participating in activities with my friends and peers is also important. It actually gives me more energy, reinforces my networking, and helps me find new cultural experiences.

—Sarah Perkins, Senior Managing Editor, Stance

Five Ways To Eat Healthier in College

by Amanda Ricks

Eating healthy while in college can be a daunting task. Fast food restaurants, particularly ones with a dollar menu, are cheap and easily accessible, and this convenience can sometimes outweigh the negative consequences of eating foods that have been fried, saturated, or greased.

The following are some tips for cleaning up your diet:

  1. Stock your refrigerator with fresh fruits and vegetables. When it comes to a late night craving, you won’t feel guilty if you’ve snacked on carrots or grapes rather than a doughnut or chocolate cake.
  2. Plan time for your meals. If you plan time, you are more likely to eat a balanced and nutritious meal.
  3. Don’t always fall for the “free candy” gimmicks thrown at you by different clubs. Generally, the piece of taffy isn’t worth the time or signing a piece of paper. If the treat is your sole incentive for going to meetings, perhaps you could better spend your time making yourself a healthier meal that can fill you with nutrients.
  4. Make a shopping list. If you buy food and have meals planned, it will mostly end with pleasing results for your body and your pocketbook.
  5. Take healthy snacks to campus with you. If you have some almonds or dried fruit with you, you are less likely to buy a high-fat, high-sugar candy bar because you’re hungry in between classes. Additionally, carry water around with you on campus. Staying hydrated is key to being healthy.

Eating healthy in college can be affordable if the necessary time is put in. Who knows? Maybe next time you are thinking about making cookies for that cute boy in your ward, you can take him a plate of carrots instead.