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Married college student shares lessons in matrimony
May 04, 2016

editor's note: This article first appeared in the Jan. 18 Wedding Guide edition of the Daily Nebraskan. It is reprinted here with permission.

Ryan Kathman

I've felt the stares. Seen the quizzical, judgmental looks on the faces of students as I'm trudging to and from class.

"Why is he wearing that?" they seem to be thinking. "Is he really?" "Wow, I didn't think people at school were."

But it's true. And I'm not ashamed. Although the typical college student might see me, at best, as a deviation from the norm and, at worst, a social pariah, I'll proudly raise my left hand in the air and confirm the suspicions: That's right, I'm married.

OK, as much as I'd like to believe that seeing my ring finger causes every young coed's heart to sink, I have no real delusions of my classmates paying one whit of attention to my marital status beyond its indication that I might be able to buy them beer (yes, I can, and no, I won't).

And since I'm a grad student who grew up during the Reagan era, I don't expect to be able to relate all that much with the Clinton babies darting by me, too engaged in text messaging to raise their heads.

Still, it can be strange being the only married fogey drifting in a sea of frat party flirtation and hook-ups.

Mind you, I don't miss those days - I'll take blissful newlywed over lonely lothario any day. But my vast experience (yep, almost 10 months now - double digits!) prompts me to impart some of my wizened advice to any fresh-faced affianced couples who might be reading.

Now, I was lucky enough to not be a poor student with a hectic schedule and measly bank account when I was gearing up for my wedding. Much to my in-laws delight, I'm sure, I waited until after I got hitched to go back to school.

Also, when it came to planning my wedding, I was lucky enough to be a guy, meaning I was allowed to have opinions about the music and the photographer and that was pretty much it.

But the biggest advantage my fiancee and I had was living in Minnesota, hundreds of miles from the site of our wedding in Memphis, Tenn, my wife's hometown and where we met.