Angela Sachakova met her now-husband, Yuriy Malakov, 27-years old, on Facebook through a mutual friend. Soon afterwards, they were married.
At 18 years old, Sachakova is just a freshman in college.
“To me college is strictly academics, there is no point in wasting time hanging out and socializing when its not really going to help you with your career,” she said.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average national age of marriage is 28. Only 18% of the 20,928 undergraduates surveyed by the center in 2008 reported they were married.
Defying social norms, many in that 18% feel getting married is well worth it.
“We knew that whatever challenges and adventures were ahead, we’d be going through them together and that made the decision to get married very easy,” Joy Wallace, 21, said.
Wallace met her husband Moses Lo when she was a freshman at New York University. Lo, an Australian native and three years older than Wallace, was a transfer student at NYU. When he graduated, Wallace and Lo were eventually forced to deal with a long distance relationship with her in New York and him in Australia.
In her junior year, she transferred to the University of Sydney. They were married in December.
“We reached the conclusion that we wanted to learn and grow together as opposed to apart. Moses was starting his career, which meant we had a stable income so that I could focus on my studies,” Wallace said.
But the decision to get hitched while juggling school work and career ambitions was not easy.
“The decision came down to a question of priorities,” Wallace said. “We chose that our priority was to get married and live life as one and that priority strongly outweighs any negatives.”
Crystal Evans, a nursing student at Pensacola State College was engaged while still in high school. She got married in college and had her first child a few months after graduation.
“Don’t get me wrong, school was stressful,” she said. “We were short on cash and he never had my attention unless he was reading me flash cards to help me study.”
Yet she has no regrets.
“Marriage, in my case, only supported me through my toughest time in college,” she said. “My husband was a huge support, not only financially but emotionally.”
But Chantel Steed, who was married in 2006 while in college and now divorced, advises students to take it slow.
“Wait it out,” she said. “There is so much in your life to look forward to and college is one of these experiences. Go to school and have fun. If it is meant to be then your boyfriend or girlfriend will be there when you are ready.”
Yet not everyone is willing to wait the extra years. For these love-struck couples, marriage is just the beginning of the rest of their lives.
“We don’t feel like we’re missing anything,” Wallace said. “It’s just the opposite — we feel like we’ve gained so much because of our marriage. Just because we are married doesn’t mean that we sit at home and lose contact with friends and go to sleep at 9 p.m. on a Friday night. Instead we are able to live life as a team and go after our dreams together. Every day is an absolute delight.”
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