TISINGER: Some students ready to take the plunge

Sarah Tisinger

The groom looked cute in his dirt-stained dinosaur shirt and the bride’s cupcake frosting-covered smile was bright as the couple took their vows beneath the old oak tree.

The marriage only lasted two days, but the memories of playground weddings lasts a lifetime. As college students, our childhoods are now properly tucked away in moving boxes and our mother’s baby books, but now the old memories of playing house are becoming real.

There are plenty of reasons why teenage, and college-age, students become pregnant. Some is because of television, celebrities and movies. For some, young pregnancy is all their family has known, or they feel that with a child they will no longer feel so alone. For many in the United States, the lack of a proper education plays a large role.

Studies done by the Guttmacher Institute in 2006 found birth control sexual education in school systems is greatly declining, while abstinence-only education rises. Congress is even debating increasing funding for abstinence-only sex education by $28 million. This move is controversial because of the fact that with the rise of abstinence-only education, teenage pregnancies have increased 3 percent within since 2005.

The group claims that, “despite years of evaluation in this area, there is no evidence to date that abstinence-only education delays teen sexual activity. Moreover, recent research shows that abstinence-only strategies may deter contraceptive use among sexually active teens, increasing their risk of unintended pregnancy and STDs.”

The study also shows that almost 82 percent of adults support comprehensive sex education, condom use and all. Although most sex education teachers would like to cover the use of contraceptives, only slightly more than half actually do. Only 20 states require sex education in their public schools. That leaves a lot of room to question whether students are actually being educated or left in the dark during crucial years of development.

Young mothers are not the only family form on the rise, however. More college-age students are considering the marriage plunge. “It’s a very reassuring comfort zone more than anything,” said Laura Barnett, sophomore in history. “Being engaged, as a student, is really challenging, but it is worth it as the same time because you have that back support.”

“Dr. Phil,” the popular television show psychologist, would disagree that student marriage is a good idea.

“In their late teens and early twenties, people are still forming their adult identities, and are still doing a lot of growing, psychologically,” he said in a 2003 interview. “It is best to wait to marry until after about age 27 or so to ensure that this growth curve has begun to slow down. This reduces the chance that people will later come to realize that they didn’t really know themselves yet when they got married, as well as feel that they have grown apart from their partner.”

A few celebrities are also not joining the race to get married. Pop-turned-country singer Jewel and retired bull rider Ty Murray have been together for eight years and are still not engaged. Murray says, “Everybody asks when we’re going to get married, and we just don’t think about it as much. We’re together, so that’s most important.”

Single Facebook members find comfort by joining the group, “Freaked out by all the people getting Engaged, Married, or Pregnant!” The group has over 1,600 members and is growing daily, with most comments pertaining to young marriage or pregnancy.

The moral of the story is this: There are some student couples who are ready for family settings and there are some who aren’t. Becoming educated is the first step to making sure you are prepared for taking that plunge. If you know you are ready, congratulations. If you’re not sure, then please, stop and look both ways before crossing.

Sarah Tisinger is a sophomore in pre-journalism and mass communication