Friday, September 17, 2010

A Few Theories on Happy Valley

I was talking to a friend the other day about dating and marriage in Provo. Here are a few highlights.

From most of the students I've interacted with in the time I've been at BYU, we all agree. There really aren't that many people getting married all the time.

Perhaps the reason for this "everyone gets married" perception is that there are roughly 32,000 students at BYU (probably double the amount at most of the other universities in Utah) and if you factor in UVU and BYU students living among each other, that figure jumps to about 65,000. Then there are all the singles living in Provo/Orem who are not enrolled in school. The number just keeps getting bigger.

Dont you think there might be more people getting married in Provo because the population of young, single people is much larger than other cities? I'm willing to bet the proportion, compared to other college towns, are a little more equal than people want to admit. In short, maybe simple population is a variable people choose to overlook.

On a typical night in Provo, not a lot of us are out on dates. We're all hanging out, doing homework or working. Or sleeping. BYU is academically very demanding and a lot of us have to do homework on the weekends to stay afloat, sacrificing part of our social lives. A lot of BYU students are content to hang out with roommates or friends instead of going on dates. The social life at BYU can be absolutely great.

My friend pointed out the problem is that we're too content with hanging out, doing homework, or anything else that isn't dating. Why would one really want to go out on dates (and deal with the stress of dating) when the social life is great? When homework is less stressful than dating? When you've gotten no sleep all week and only care about crashing?

It seems like people  who get together at BYU do so as an afterthought--kind of like they just backed into it one day on accident. Some of us arent deliberately meeting people and dating.  We have a group project for a class and by the end of the semester we ask a girl out in our group cause we got to know her through the project. We meet people accidentally through class, work, ward, friends, etc.

Most BYU students will agree that marriage is important to them. But is it a high priority right now? Not for a lot of us. Maybe when we move out of Provo into cities where there isn't as good of a social life (or distractions of work and homework), we'll feel getting married is more of a priority and put forth the effort. Or maybe some day we'll just wake up and say "ok I'm ready to get serious about this dating stuff."

But for now, church leaders and others tell us we need to get married but we have a lot of reasons why we're content to just not date and move in that direction. 

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