This Daily Princetonian piece about marrying college guys makes me really sad

Me nervous at graduation
Me nervous at graduation

College graduation was a miserable time for me, in part because I fell for the totally absurd notion that one has to be miserable after undergrad. I didn’t even want to walk at my graduation ceremony, but my grandparents, uncles, mom, and older brothers had booked their tickets for the commencement gathering well in advance, so I knew I had to put on a smile and pretend I was excited about leaving behind my days as a free-spirited, sun dwelling student. Inside, I was nervous about entering the workforce and even more upset about the fact that I’d gone through four years at a major public university without ever finding a suitable guy to spend time with.

I’d definitely had my fair share of flings, all of which went south and made me resent all college aged men. Unfortunately, I’m never going to stop. I remember thinking about all my friends and classmates who’d coupled up and worrying that I’d missed out by not doing the same. I’d surrounded myself with the wrong kind of men, and I was paying the price for it at 21. Someone had told me that 40 percent of couples meet in college, and this unsourced statistic convinced me that I’d wasted the best dating opportunity of my life on frat boys with wandering eyes and wannabe douchebags who went great lengths to feign sleaziness.

After I graduated, however, things changed. The pool of men improved, mainly because I moved to highly educated NYC and exposed myself to college graduates with full-time jobs, not simply whiskey swilling frat boys with dopey charm and faded sports team shirts. Though I can’t say I’ve met Prince Charming yet, I will admit that I’m so relieved I never ended up with a college classmate, so that’s why Susan A. Patton’s viral Daily Princetonian column on the value of tying the knot with a classmate, specifically a Princeton student, greatly upset me:

“For most of you, the cornerstone of your future and happiness will be inextricably linked to the man you marry, and you will never again have this concentration of men who are worthy of you…Here’s what nobody is telling you: Find a husband on campus before you graduate. Yes, I went there.”

Because marrying at 22 is such a smart idea these days…The author goes on to state that she divorced her husband of 27 years and wishes she’d met someone at Princeton, her alma mater. Her former spouse “went to a school of almost no name recognition. A school that nobody has respect for, including him, really.” And I’m sure that’s exactly why things didn’t work out for the two of them.

While she’s correct that a lot of successful bachelors attend Princeton, she fails to recognize that guys will be guys regardless of academic achievement. I hate to sound bitter, but I truly believe college aged men are the worst breed of human on this planet, perhaps with the exception of junior high aged kids. College boys are awful across the board, whether they went to Princeton or LSU, and I couldn’t be happier that I never ended up with any of the idiots I liked in those years. It really was the best thing that ever happened to me. I got to explore the world at my own pace and not feel weighed down or constantly let down by undeserving men. As awful as dating in one’s 20s can be, especially through the Lena Dunham “Girls” lens, it’s an adventure I’m so grateful I’ve been able to have thanks to post-grad single life.

Though many have been quick to trash the writer, I feel bad for her. Clearly her life didn’t turn out the way she’d hoped, and she’s under the misguided belief that everything would be all right had she just locked someone down at Princeton. It’s as if she thinks nothing in her life has any worth because she’s divorced and didn’t have that college dream guy experience. Stop feeling sad about what could have been and show some gratitude for the positive things that have happened to you since obtaining your degree. Marrying someone other than your college sweetheart isn’t the end of the world. I’m just 24, and even I realize that.

It’s also elitist and unfair to suggest that an Ivy Leaguer is inherently better than a guy from a state school. If that’s not the worst message to send to impressionable college girls, I’m not sure what is.

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2 thoughts on “This Daily Princetonian piece about marrying college guys makes me really sad

  1. Oh my… Where to begin? Finding one’s soulmate in the perverse bubbling stew of college “dating” is hardly a key to happiness, as you have clearly noted, Laura. I dated someone through my four years at Harvard and promptly ended the relationship when I realized I wanted to explore and stretch and travel, rather than settle down with someone for the sake of their stable cash flow.

    I wish there were more people sending these messages (and in louder voices) to “impressionable college girls.” Thank you for writing this.

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