College consists of many turning points in a person’s life, but for these MBU students, they are experiencing one of the largest.

Photo by Shelby Wannemuehler


For some students, engagement and college life have become one in the same.

Abby Wickham, senior public relations major, got engaged on Feb. 12, to Jesse Kassebaum, MBU alum.

Ben Carril, senior psychology major, got engaged in December of 2016 to Chelsie Bartley, another MBU alum.

In college, being surrounded by an atmosphere of positive energy has proved to be the most beneficial throughout the engagement process to both Wickham and Carril.

“I think the best part has been just being surrounded by my friends for the, pretty much, entirety of my engagement … having that constant excitement for our upcoming wedding,” said Wickham.

Through the ups and downs during an engagement, the support of friends and the MBU community provide support while preparing for marriage.

“At school, I’ve had so much support from my friends. Support and encouragement and joy from my friends whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed with it. My friends are there to be like, this is such an exciting time. I don’t know if I’d get that if I wasn’t in school,” said Carril.

Though the community that college offers is a major advantage, there are difficulties that occur when managing a college schedule and planning a wedding.

“Being a full-time college student puts a lot of restrains on my schedule. So, using my time well, especially in the summertime, was the most difficult for me,” Wickham said. “And now, it’s trying to get all my homework done before the wedding date and communicating with my professors and just really being on top of my schedule.”

Amanda Morris, MBU alum, got engaged in December 2015, with one semester left of her senior year, and was married in May 2016.

Carril and Morris both echoed the fact that balancing a schedule proved to be the most difficult.

“The most difficult part of being engaged during college was balancing everything: work, school, house hunting and wedding planning,” Morris said.

Carril added: “Trying to balance out school deadlines and there’s a lot of scheduling while you are in school and I am involved on campus, so I have organizations I am in and I am working off campus in addition to that. It has been difficult to balance that out,” he said. “Some people, when they are not in school, have their job and then they can focus on planning and things like that. It’s just a little overwhelming at times whenever you don’t keep it scheduled and maintained.”

Kayla Knapp, resident director at North Hall, got engaged to her husband Brian Knapp with a semester left of her senior year at Spring Arbor University.

Looking back on her engagement, she remembers the pressures that surround the proposal.

“Once you are mutually considering engagement remember that the person matters far more than the proposal and it will automatically be special, even if it doesn’t live up to the fancy YouTube videos,” said Knapp.

Engagement can consist of many twists and turns, but through those unforeseen circumstances, learning to lean on each other is a retracted benefit.

“I ended up getting an internship for the fall semester, so now I am working 27 total hours a week plus taking classes,” said Wickham. “I didn’t expect working that much, but it was an opportunity I did not want to pass up and Jesse and I had both agreed to me working a little bit more hours in order for us to save up to get married.”

In addition to growing closer together, the professors at MBU happily surprised Wickham while discussing her marriage plans.

“My professors have responded really positively and been really supportive. So, that has also made it a lot easier is because my professors have not really given me any trouble about the timing of our wedding and they’ve actually been really supportive,” Wickham said. “Some are allowing me to turn in work early in order to make it a lot smoother for us, so that has been really helpful.”

Through the stress of planning a wedding, Wickham has taken away some valuable advice.

“Be diligent in meeting with professors. Be diligent in looking at the calendar and seeing what days you can take advantage of like …. Labor Day weekend … or Assessment Day, and use those days wisely,” said Wickham.

Wickham’s wedding is set for October, while Carril and Bartley have set December for their wedding.

“Know the expectations of your fiance. Know how you want to spend your time planning,” said Carril. “Some people like to spend their time more on a certain area, or maybe premarital counseling is more important. Know the expectations and have those clear and everything will be good.”

Through wedding planning, Wickham took away some valuable advice on living in the present rather than wishing it away.

“Also, enjoying it. It can really easily become a long to-do list, but this is such a short season. It can be easy to wish it away and there’s been times where I’ve wished it away just wanting to get on to the wedding day itself,” Wickham said. “But, really, it’s a sweet season to enjoy with friends and with your fiance, with your family.”

A year and four months into marriage, Morris looks back at what she learned through her engagement.

“Prioritize and do not procrastinate. Have a to-do list and don’t sweat the small stuff. In the end the floral arrangements will all be fine. Focus on getting married and just enjoy being engaged. It’s such a fun time of planning for your future together,” said Morris.

Engagement is a once-in-a lifetime experience.

Do not wish it away, but take in every moment.

“Enjoy the planning process. Enjoy each day,” said Wickham.

By Shelby Wannemuehler

Shelby Wannemuehler is a staff journalist for MBU Timeline. A public relations major with a minor in journalism, Wannemuehler enjoys working as an intern for a local advertising agency. Wannemuehler plans to continue pursuing a career in the advertising industry after graduation.