By Joseph Horne:
AC has a significant percentage of married couples continuing their education. More than a quarter of AC students are married, according to Jarrod Madden, senior research associate.
These students face additional stresses that the majority of their unmarried peers don’t have to consider. “Marriage is a much more involved relationship, so it can lead to more difficulties if the relationship is troubled,” Dr. Elizabeth Rodriquez, a psychology professor, said. “If you are not married and there are issues it is easier to walk away or get out of that relationship than it would be for a married couple.”
Many married students often find motivational support from their spouse. “If the loved ones are involved in the process to help the student succeed then it is a group effort rather than one. Married students face challenges against the other. If each member of the relationship can see the value in the success than it usually works better and having the support is more beneficial,” Rodriquez said.
Angel and Brad Johnson are full-time students who work part-time jobs. Angel is a pre-med student and Brad is an audio engineer/music composition major. “Balancing schedules to study and spend time together is a challenge,” Angel Johnson, said. She said that time management and communication are important to their school and relationship success. Staying motivated and driven are also important to keeping on track.
The Johnsons give good examples of what many married college students experience. “Balancing responsibilities is always a difficult task. If one plans ahead and makes sure to stick to a schedule, they will find they have more time than they think. Schedule time to study, know your work schedule and make sure you set aside time for yourself and your loved ones,” Rodriguez explained.
Other AC married couples give more suggestions that have helped. “Asking for help from family members and not being too prideful are important considerations,” Citlaly Zamarripa, sonography major, said. Zamarripa’s husband is a music business major at West Texas A&M and works part-time to full-time hours depending on his schedule. “Finding time to spend with each other is the most difficult part,” Zamarripa, said.
Both couples expressed the need to continually communicate to maintain stable and healthy relationships while balancing work and school schedules. On average, one out of four AC students are balancing school with married life.