Stages of a relationship: Being a lovebird and a student
Seth Atkins, Editor-in-Chief
Love is in the air at North Greenville University. Trying to get that ring by spring while also being a college student can be difficult, but also can be a happily ever after.
To get to that fairytale ending, there are stages. The stages include dating, engagement and then marriage. With each stage comes its own set of challenges and successes. Each one of these stages can be seen right on the NGU campus.
Stage 1: Dating
Dating, this stage is love at first sight. Within this stage, you meet someone that you connect with and want to share life with. You start to devote time to one person in the dating stage.
Abigail Dickerson, junior, and Josh Billingsley, sophomore, have been dating for almost a year now. Being a student takes a lot of time and dedication. Dickerson said, “We are always just so tired from school.” For this couple, class schedules make it a challenge to see each other throughout the day. Summers are also tricky for this couple to see each other because Dickerson lives is Massachusetts and Billingsley lives in South Carolina.
With dating though, Dickerson said, “You will always have someone to hang out with, do homework with, talk to and confide in.” For Dickerson and Billingsley, their relationship makes school more barrable. Billingsley said, “Dating someone who is at the same school and is experiencing the same things is something that helps our relationship.”
Even though dating is just the beginning of a romantic relationship, it can lead to a lifelong commitment like no other or to a simple question.
Stage 2: Engagement
It’s time to pop the question, and that signifies a couple moving into the engagement stage, only if the response is yes. Engagement is an exciting time for a couple because they feel secure in their relationship, and they begin to plan their wedding day.
Gabby Godoy, junior, and Joshua Gasdia, sophomore, have been engaged since Feb. 2022. Being engaged on campus can be stressful and can come with other students being judgmental. Gasdia said, “Sometimes we feel as though people see us being engaged at our age as making a mistake, or just crazy.” However, both work through it by keeping each other accountable in their studies and with their school and life decisions.
The couple look forward to married life on campus. Godoy said, “once you’re married, you can apply for marital housing, and you can get more financial aid.” NGU provides help to their married students by offering on campus marriage housing and scholarships. Before this couple can get to that, they are currently planning their wedding.
Planning a wedding is a large task, especially for an engaged couple in college. The wedding also comes at a price. Godoy and Gasdia parents have agreed to help financially in certain aspects. Gasdia described it as a blessing to them and their day. The couple have also picked up some part-time jobs while they are full-time students to help.
With that in mind, Godoy said, “We have decided to have an intimate, small wedding next spring, and we can say we are satisfied and excited with our final decision as it gives us so much peace of mind.” This decision will help relieve some stress for the couple.
Godoy, soon to be a Gasdia, and Gasdia himself feel at peace with their relationship and look forward to tying the knot.
Stage 3: Marriage
Finally, married at last. Now two people have been made one, and they take on life together.
Student Abigail Thomas, senior, has been married to Michael Thomas, NGU graduate, since Jun. 2022. Abigail Thomas said that one big challenge for the couple has been staying on top of things like laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, school, part-time jobs for Abigail and a full-time job for Michael. Learning to live together as a couple has also been a challenge for the Thomases.
Abigail Thomas said, “Thankfully, we’ve never been afraid to fight, because keeping frustration hidden is dangerous.” She also enjoys having her husband, Michael, as her support system and coming home to his homecooked meals. He also helps her around the house while she is busy at school. Thomas said, “I know it’s sappy, but it’s incredibly stress reducing to sleep next to your loved one.”
The Thomas wedding came with challenges of its own. Thomas had several wedding tasks that had to be done last minute because of her enrollment in summer classes. Thomas said, “Trying to organize my school schedule with Michael’s work schedule is almost impossible, so I had to make decisions and relay information to him.” The decisions made by Abigail Thomas included flower decorations and even the venue choice.
In the end, “The wedding was absolutely beautiful and the end result of being married was so worth the stress,” said Thomas.
Married life has changed the priorities of Thomas. She said, “Before marriage, I made getting A’s a priority. Now, I put in the work to the best of my ability, but my main priority is my marriage.” Thomas says that her husband is her favorite springboard to talk about assignments with and he is her biggest cheerleader.
In the three relationships described, they all show their unique experiences seen in a specific relationship stage and combine student life to make love shine bright.