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University hears wedding bells as Scarlet Knights get engaged

Across the board, many seniors are making plans. Some are submitting job applications, while others are studying for GREs. There are those working extra hours to put down a deposit for a last spring break trip to Punta Cana, and then there are a handful of students who are preparing to marry their sweethearts after the curtain closes on their college career.

Incoming Rutgers medical school student Roman P. said the gravity involved with making the decision to get engaged is similar to other serious decisions people in their early 20s make when they technically decide their future careers.

“If I am able to decide that I am willing to spend the next 10 years in medical training (for medical school, residency and fellowship), then I think I am able to make the decision of who I want to spend those years and many more with as well,” said Roman, who asked to withhold his last name and his fiance's last name from publication for privacy purposes.

Roman graduated from the City University of New York—Hunter College in May of 2015, and will be attending Rutgers New Jersey Medical School beginning in August 2016. His fiancé, Jessica Y., is a School of Arts and Sciences senior graduating in January 2016. The pair met in high school during a meeting for the school's Russian Club, where Roman was the president.

Love is the obvious answer as to why he decided to marry her, but he said love is not always enough to make a marriage last.

“Jess and I have always had this synergy between us. When we put our minds together, things went so much better,” he said. “There is no one whose opinion and advice matters to me as much as hers does. I imagine my future to be full of my spouse, and I am constantly aiming to do better or to be better, or to succeed at something together.”

To him, Jessica is the only person that he can share these goals with without sacrificing love and passion.

Reactions from Roman’s friends and family have been mixed. He said he thinks his friends know him better than his family does. They see him as an independent and decisive man, while his family has never played much of a role when making decisions for him. Roman said his friends who know him well knew it was coming and reacted with little surprise, but mostly with encouragement and complete faith in Roman and Jessica’s success as a married couple.

When he told his parents that he has been planning to get married all along, their reaction was a mixture of shock and anger.

“Both directed at the fact that I did not share my thought process with them,” he said. “Perhaps I was afraid of their reactions beforehand, but I also was not used to sharing all my thoughts with my family either way. Then came the disagreements about financial stability and future responsibilities. In the end, my family sort of sucked it up and through tight lips expressed their support for whatever decision I make.”

The wedding date is decided to be June 19, 2016. He said Jessica’s parents are obsessed with planning for the wedding and love doing it.

Jessica said she has been thinking about marrying Roman for a long time now, and has seemingly already gone through stages of being worried about getting married at this age.

“But at this point I have very few real serious concerns left, especially having to do with being young,” she said. “Mostly at this young age, I think it's important to think about what constitutes a happy marriage and work on sharpening those good personality traits and ways to deal with certain situations that become more second nature as people get a little older.”

While the “when you know, you know” saying holds true with Jessica, it is still crucial to be realistic about making the decision to be married and not basing actions purely through emotion, she said.

While she was certain inside that spending the rest of her life with Roman felt right, there was a lot of thought and conversation that went into it before they decided to actually get engaged, she said.

Jessica knows Roman to be someone she trusts with her life, and has trusted for a very long time now. She trusts him with herself, her family, to raise their future kids and to always do what will be best for the both of them.

“When you marry someone, you have to realize that this person isn't just your ‘partner in romance,’” she said. “This person is your partner in everything, from vacations and decisions about family to your support system when something is going wrong and your moral compass when you don't have your own, the person who you literally have next to you all the time who is going to live almost every aspect of your life with you.”

Angela Cha, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, has been in a long distance relationship with her fiancé, Jero, for one year.

“Long distance relationships are difficult to say the least. The distance is both a friend and a foe,” she said. “While the distance means that we don’t have luxury of seeing each other whenever our hearts desire, it also forces us to have our own time and space. Yes, it is a challenge, but it has made our relationship stronger and every second we spend physically together that much more rewarding and precious.”

She sent out "a huge shout-out to Skype for making Netflix-and-chill dates possible," and also to WhatsApp for making texting virtually free, she said.

“We couldn’t have done it without you," Cha said.

Cha said the couple never talked about marriage explicitly, but making the decision was not random. Ever since the beginning of their relationship, they talked about a life together and how they will overcome the distance to make sure it happens.

“I suppose with those sort of discussions coupled with how we felt for each other, we already knew it would happen someday. Jero brings out the best version of me. He’s my best friend and the love of my life,” she said.

They have not picked out a date for the wedding yet because they both agree there are other things they need to finish first, such as their college degrees, she said.

Cha’s family expressed many concerns about the seriousness of her relationship with Jero when she gave them the news. 

They feel she is too young and reminded her to put greater emphasis on her career, but they have slowly begun to warm up to the idea. Her friends, on the other hand, have been extremely supportive, she said.

After the wedding, Cha plans to move to the Netherlands to be with Jero.

“I've accepted that I’ll probably be riding bikes more with the rest of the Dutch, shopping less and seeing more cows. I also don’t think they have Dunkin Donuts there,” she said. “But the one part I haven’t accepted yet, and the hardest part that I will have to accept is that I can’t bring my greatest supporters and my friends with me.”

Jessica said if being married feels like the end of freedom, a career, fun nights out, traveling, independence and productivity, that might mean it is too soon to be thinking about getting married.

"Don't get me wrong, there is a lot to be sacrificed when you decide to merge your life with someone else's,” she said. “You have to think about someone else and how it's going to impact them before you do pretty much anything. But that means really different things for different people, so you have to know what that means for you. If it isn't clear, I don't think this decision should be a spontaneous one.”

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