Five Engagements. Five Weeks.
If you are a member of the Orthodox student group, Kedma, or if you have connections to the group, you might have noticed the flood of engagements taking place this fall. Within the Kedma community, five couples recently got engaged, all within five weeks of each other. For the couples, this is a huge time of happiness, but how does being engaged and in school work?
What it’s like being engaged in college
Being engaged is a big time commitment. Not only do the newly betrothed duos need to keep up their relationships and their grades, but they also need to devote time to wedding planning- a time-consuming activity that most college students don’t generally worry about.
“I have work, school, friends, my significant other and now I have wedding planning,” senior Binyamin Besser said. “Slightly more stressful, but not a huge change.”
His fiancee, senior Lila Halpern, finds it slightly more stressful.
“I’m currently studying for the GREs, looking for jobs and applying to graduate schools, all while trying to maintain my grades. Planning a wedding on top of that is a lot of work,” she said.
While being engaged changes the college experience somewhat, some couples share that it’s not as different as people assume.
“For the first few days… it was distracting. I had a new ring on, people were wishing me mazal tov, and I was trying to brush it all off and act like normal … now, I think that I am not really distracted from studying,” junior Avital Gewirtz said.
“It really has not affected me at all … I still have my friends, go to my classes, and participate in extracurricular activities. The only difference is I know who I am going to marry, which is pretty cool,” senior Joey Frankel said.
Besser characterizes it as “having a foot on either side of a doorway. On the one side is the past, with its classes and tests. On the other side is the future, a steady partner and a home to make with them. I’m not really a fan of straddling that doorway, but at this point only time and patience will push me through.”
Couples originally differed on engagement timelines
Although Besser and Halpern had been dating for a number of years through college, they both said that going into college, neither of them expected to get engaged during school.
Alumna Robyn Kalwerisky (‘13) and Frankel also shared this college engagement doubt. In fact, Kalwerisky said: “when I started college, I remember telling myself … that I just knew I wouldn’t be one of those girls that met my future husband at college.” Frankel didn’t have love life expectations coming into college.
For Gewirtz, on the other hand, getting engaged was all part of the plan.
“I would go to college, meet lots of people, and find the person I was supposed to marry,” Gewirtz said, “and lucky for me it did work out that way.”
The most recently engaged couple, Albert Engel (‘13) and sophomore Amanda Drazen, had differing expectations coming into college.
“I thought about timelines in my head … I did expect it,” Drazen said.
“If you’d have told me that I was going to be engaged I’d have said you were a crazy person,” Engel said.
Planning for your friends’ engagements
Engel, whose proposal involved printing a document on a school printer, recommends that others thinking about getting engaged “find a printer that works properly. Also, don’t let everyone else who’s getting engaged pressure you into getting engaged.“
“Sometimes planning can be stressful, but it’s always refreshing when friends get to hear the plans and remind you how momentous each step is,” Kalwerisky said.
In addition to finding time to balance school and engagement, Halpern tries to set time aside with other community members.
“The five engagements in five weeks has been a cause for great happiness in the community, but I have learned to leave my Sunday afternoons free, just in case someone else gets engaged,” she said.
Naomi Ehrenkranz is a sophomore Psychology and English major.