Mission or marriage?


Envision yourself in the turn lane in the middle of the road. There are two lanes of traffic on either side, both headed in a definite direction. And there you are, trying to get somewhere, but you are stuck and quickly growing frustrated.

That car, stuck in the middle turn lane, symbolizes the single, female students at BYU who find themselves in the middle of two major trends: a mission or marriage.

Having grown up in Utah my entire life, I was well aware of the notion that everyone who went to BYU was there to get married. So naturally, I was prepared for the abundance of relationships and PDA.

A 2002 study, “A Survey of Dating and Marriage at BYU,” suggested at least two-thirds of both men and women at BYU desired to meet their future spouse at college.

And after moving to Provo, despite being ready for the love bug, I was shocked at an equally dominant trend at BYU: going on a mission.

The “shock” factor comes from living in a freshman ward and taking freshman-oriented GE classes. It seems like everyone is going on a mission. And it seems the majority of those preparing for a mission are the girls.

So what about the drivers of those cars at a standstill in the turn lane? They feel lost, stuck and frustrated because they think they are going nowhere. But those women don’t need to feel that way. They can (and should) enjoy being young and single.

I walk around my freshman dorm and see young women worrying they are wasting their lives because they are not going on missions and aren’t getting married in the near future. Although I think missions and marriage are important, those girls think because they aren’t married at 19 or heading out on a mission, they are wasting their lives.

I have nothing against marrying young or going on a mission. But if it isn’t that time in your life, don’t fret that you are wasting your life. Instead, go out and have fun, experience life while you are still young, single and relatively carefree.

Heidi Ertel

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