A diamond and degree: Students get engaged, married at young age

Engaged Couple

Jamie Brian

For some students, college is more than a place to prepare for a future career and learn more about themselves. They have found someone to spend the future with and learn about each other in the process. 

Taylor Amstutz, a senior exercise science major, has been busy arranging plans for her October wedding when she’s not at Chi Omega events or working at Starbucks. 

Amstutz met her fiancé Zachary Getz through a mutual friend at a basketball game. They went to the same high school, but Getz was older, and they didn’t meet until after graduation. They’ve been dating for three years and decided now was the right time to tie the knot.

“We got engaged over the summer and started planning right away,” Amstutz said. “I think we’ve known for a while now, so it’s rewarding to see everything finally come together.”

At 20 years old, Amstutz is defying a stereotype. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, the median age for a first marriage is 29 for men and 27 for women.

Amanda Price, a junior integrated language arts major, has felt the judgment first-hand. 

“My biggest headache is when I’m at work and someone will see my ring and say, ‘Are you married? You’re too young!’” Price said. “We look at the whole thing as a big picture, and we know what we’re mature enough to do and what we’re not mature enough not to do yet.” 

Price, 25, moved from Michigan to Ohio and got her old job back at Ruby Tuesday. At the end of her shift one night, Price and her coworkers decided to go to Buffalo Wild Wings where she would meet her future husband, Andre.

“This guy walked up and gave me a funny look and sat at our table,” Price said. “I looked at my friend and asked, ‘Why is our waiter sitting with us?’ It turns out he used to work at Ruby Tuesday when I wasn’t there. We just missed meeting each other.”

They bonded over a game of pool at a friend’s house and plans for an official date were made. Playing pool is still their date night, even though she claims that she’s only beaten Andre three times. 

Love comes with some costs. Amstutz said the hardest part is dealing with finances. Her fiancé graduated in May from the University of Akron and has a full time job. She works part-time at Starbucks to try and help with the wedding expenses.

“It’s made me mature in a way of handling school and wedding plans,” Amstutz said. “Making all of that go together well definitely put me through the ringer at first.”

It may be challenging at times, but Kent State alumna Jennifer Schmeiser is an example that college romance can last. She met her husband Pete at music student orientation in August 1998. 

“He was the only one there, playing the piano,” Schmeiser said. “We introduced ourselves and talked while we waited for everyone else to show up. Nobody ever showed up. We were the only two who didn’t get the memo the orientation had been rescheduled!”

The couple married in June 2000 and now reside in North Port, Florida, where they share their passion for music through orchestra.

With busy lives, separate goals and empty pockets, looking for a lasting relationship in college may seem like a risky task, but love can come at unexpected times.

“Don’t just say yes because you’re in love for the moment,” Price said. “Look back and ask yourself if this is something you can do for the rest of your life because the divorce rate is so high, and I think we need to show that true love exists, but it exists because we’re wise about it.”

Contact Jamie Brian at [email protected].