Married students offer a glimpse into their lives
Eating in the dining hall. Going out to football games with friends. Studying late at night for an exam. Tatiana and Will DeWitt live like college students, but with a twist — they are married.
On Valentine’s Day 2014, 18-year-old Tatiana Adams DeWitt and 21-year-old Will DeWitt tied the knot at a Chicago courthouse, declaring their love eternal.
“We met when I was a senior in high school and she was a freshman,” Will said. “We were in our high school newspaper class, and pretty much the first day I was highly attracted to her. I came up to her and said, ‘If you ever need anything, give me a call.’ And I gave her my number.”
After completing high school, Will went to Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis for a year. Will said having a relationship with Tatiana was hard, but they worked to continue their relationship.
“That year was probably the hardest year because (our relationship) was over the phone and was strenuous,” Will said. “I moved in with her after that year and we lived together for a few years, got engaged, and pretty much if you’re living with someone, and there’s no issues, there’s no point of second guessing yourself. If you know, you know. So at that point we got married.”
Once Will and Tatiana became engaged, they had plans of getting married, but not right away. Will transferred to Indiana University to be with Tatiana, and they both decided to continue living together.
“I was 18, about to turn 19,” Tatiana said. “He had already lived with my grandma and I before I came to college. I was getting ready to come (to IU) my freshman year, and we still wanted to live together. If we weren’t married, I would have had to live in the dorms. That’s not the reason we got married, but after living together for three years, me living in the dorms and him living in an apartment somewhere would have been taking steps backwards.”
According to Tatiana, her life as a college student is different from unwed students, but has not changed how she views her experience. Although she does not have as many social interactions, she makes sure to stay involved in extracurricular activities by being involved with Camp Kesem, IU Dance Marathon, being a lab assistant for education programs, and working for the IU yearbook and the Indiana Daily Student newspaper.
“I didn’t live in the dorms freshman year, so I didn’t get as much social interaction my freshman year,” Tatiana said. “For a lot of people, the people in their dorms is who they hang out with. Not necessarily people in their major until they start having a lot of classes with them. I didn’t really get that. It’s also a lot less going out. At IU, a lot of people like to have fun. People always call us the ‘old married couple.’ We like to stay in and watch Netflix and that’s perfectly fine with me. We have friends, but most of our free time we are hanging out with each other, not just other people.”
Although missing out on social interactions is a con of Will’s lifestyle, Will said he thinks having Tatiana in his life is a pro because he has a best friend and a support system.
“It’s nice to have someone to be a support system — to make sure I do my homework, and stay on top of things because it’s hard in college to not just let yourself slide,” Will said. “If you have someone behind you who has your back, and someone you care so much about that you want to make them proud, it’s nice to have that. Academically, it’s a big plus.”
Tatiana also said she believes having Will in her life is an advantage because she is not alone and has someone to share her life with.
“College is so stressful,” Tatiana said. “Nobody wants to be alone freshman year. You’re away from home. No matter what there is one person who you’re always going to have there; at the end of the day you go home and have a long day but you’re going to have someone to talk to, somebody who is going to be there for you, somebody who is going to make you dinner. That is definitely the best part: knowing that no matter what the day is I have somebody to go to.”
According to Will, he and Tatiana both have their minds focused on their educations, and are excited for their future.
“I know I’m here and my job is to get a good degree, so I can get a good job and support my future family,” Will said. “I keep my head straight.“
23-year-old Will is approaching his senior year, and 21-year-old Tatiana her junior year, Will said once he graduates he hopes to work online in Bloomington to stay with Tatiana until she graduates.
“I’m confident no matter what we do, we will figure it out,” Will said. “I’m currently working online, and I think I can probably stick with that until she’s out. Then after we can move wherever we want. Right now we’re debating between somewhere south and/or west.”
Tatiana said she may be married young, but she believes her relationship is mature, and she and Will have a team effort on their college experience.
“Nobody wants to hear in this day and age, ‘I’m getting married at 18.’ Most people aren’t mature enough,” Tatiana said. “We both knew it was something really special. I don’t think there’s a perfect time or age for anyone to get married. A lot of people think it’s crazy if you get married young, but it’s been the best two and a half years.”