Monday, June 20, 2016


As a naive (with a capital N) 18 year old freshman at BYU, I thought that once you went to college you magically got married 1-2 years later. As dumb as it sounds, 20 sounded far away and so old and mature in the fall of my freshman year.

Look at this baby face... no wonder I was so innocent.
I have no idea why I had that weird idea in my head, besides the fact that my parents and most of my aunts and uncles went to BYU and got married at around 21. I think I kind of got that idea at church too. It's just kind of the typical Mormon culture, and that was the story for most of the adults I knew.

I remember in my French 201 class that first semester I made friends with a girl who was a junior. I saw that there was no ring on her hand and I thought it was strange.

A few months into my freshman year, I came to the obvious realization that my friend was only 2 years older than me (duh)  and wow... that really wasn't a long ways away. I realized that I was lightyears away from being ready for that. I was calling my mom twice a day and still crying myself to sleep sometimes because I was so homesick and I hated Utah. Not exactly a mature adult who was mentally ready to leave home for good.

I still assumed I would get married while I was a BYU student, of course. Maybe as a mature 23 year old instead of 20 year old ;)

Obviously, that didn't happen. And here's why I'm so happy that the way my life actually played out was so much better than what I always assumed it would be like...

-I had time to mature and to grow up alone. I'm an (almost) completely different person than I was at 20. I'm so much more confident and independent. I like myself so much more.

-There are COUNTLESS amazing experiences that I would have missed out on if my life had gone the way that freshman Marissa thought it would. To name the most memorable: my Paris study abroad (at 20-21 years old), living in the Foreign Language Housing for my last 3 semesters at BYU (at 22-23), my Jerusalem study abroad (at 23-24), doing an internship in France and traveling all over Europe (at 24), and living in Israel to do my M.A. (at 25-26).

I had the chance to live in France twice and Israel twice. I traveled to over 15 other countries besides the ones I lived in. I got to travel alone and with friends. I learned how to do adult things by myself for the first time- and in a foreign language. I'm comfortable now hopping on a train or metro in any random foreign country where I don't speak the language. Living in the French House, I met my best friends. I never thought or aspired to get a master's degree... but I'm so happy I decided to go for it and stretch myself academically.

All of these amazing experiences will affect the rest of my life. 

-Lastly, I don't think there was anyone remotely right for me to marry at BYU. I'm happy that I was single at the ripe old age of 24 (there are honestly Utahns who think that's old to not be married haha), when I met David. We are similar in so many little ways and I think we make a great couple, if I do say so myself. I'm thankful we were able to travel and date and get to know each other over a 2 year period before getting engaged.

I guess, in conclusion... I'm glad I didn't feel pressured to conform and try to get married in my early 20s before I even graduated college. It wasn't right for me. It's okay to be wired differently. It might be right for some people, just not me. There was a lot that I feel like I was meant to accomplish and experience alone.

I don't want to sound judgmental towards people who do go that route; I just wanted to say that it's not the ONLY route (even if you're Mormon). Also, I've just been thinking about that the way your life actually turns out might be even better than what you could imagine for yourself. You never know! I certainly wasn't expecting to meet someone in France.

When I decided to go to BYU, I always assumed I would probably end up with in-laws from Utah or Idaho. Lol nope, I'll be spending holidays in the Alps in southern France. Okay, now I'm totally just bragging. But yes, my life is so far turning out better than I could have come up with and I'm glad I was wrong about my future. No complaints at the moment, besides that fact that David is in France and I'm bored.

100 days to go until the wedding :)

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