Katie Linder —
What is the point of a college education? Getting a degree? Getting real-world experience? Having the time of your life while both you and your parents slowly go into never-ending debt?
According to Susan Patton, a Princeton graduate who recently released the book Marry Smart, college-age women should spend 75 percent of their time in college searching for a man to marry and the other 25 percent of the time focusing on other, college-related activities. Patton claims that never in a woman’s life is she as surrounded by intelligent, marriage-worthy men than when she is in college, making college the optimum time to find the perfect husband or risk becoming a lifelong spinster.
Before jumping to conclusions about Patton and her seemingly archaic ideas, it is important to note that she means well. As a woman who admits in her book to passing up potential relationships while in college, Patton claims that her search for a husband was much more difficult after college than it would have been if she would have been searching while in college. In order to start a family, Patton says that she married a man whom she did not love.
Based on her past experiences, Patton seems to truly think that women would be better off marrying early and settling down, regardless of whether or not they are actually in love with the man that they marry.
But when it comes to getting married, what’s the rush?
The whole point of going to college is to get an education that will eventually lead to a career. Some people do see college as a social activity, but in general those end up being the people that have lower-paying careers in the future.
As a young woman in college, the thought that I should spend the majority of time socializing with the opposite sex rather than studying is laughable. In this day and age, women are more independent than ever before. The thought that a woman needs a man in her life, even if she is not in love with him, would be considered offensive to a good deal of women. Women, especially well-educated women, are more than capable of taking care of themselves without a man.
The key to this, however, is being well-educated. Anyone, regardless of gender, needs to have an education in today’s society in order to be successful. When a bachelor’s degree today is equivalent to what a high school diploma was a generation ago, getting an education is more important now than it ever has been before. More people are going to graduate school after finishing their undergraduate studies in order to gain an advantage in the workforce.
In the future, once a woman is done with her education and is working towards making a name for herself, there will be time to start a family. Studies have shown that the later in life a couple gets married, the higher the chance of the marriage being successful. That being said, why should a woman be expected to settle for a man she doesn’t love when there is less of a chance of them actually being together.
The answer is simple. She shouldn’t.
Marriage is a lifelong commitment and something that should not be taken lightly. Saying that women should settle rather than marry for love devalues the sanctity of marriage.
Sarah Patton may think that the best way for a woman to utilize her college education is to search for a husband and, preferably, be at least engaged by graduation.
However, I, and the vast majority of college-aged females across the country, would have to disagree with her.