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Getting the ‘ring by spring’

Molly Madden | Friday, November 6, 2009

While some students might be debating who to take to their SYR, others are thinking of their relationships in terms of lifelong commitment.

Several undergraduates have recently taken the plunge and gotten engaged. Many of these students are learning how to balance being a student and engaged while others are still adjusting to the idea of being someone’s fiancé.

Seniors Elysia Kramer and Andrew Crecelius got engaged last month on campus.

“I live in Zahm and she lives in Cavanaugh,” Crecelius said. “I proposed to her in between the two dorms because I figured it was a place that we could come back to later in our lives.”

Notre Dame senior Colleen Minta and her fiancé Holy Cross College senior Patrick Mac Carthaigh also were engaged at the end of October. Mac Carthaigh, who proposed by Saint Mary’s Lake, said proposing at Notre Dame was important.

“Her dad went to Notre Dame and her mom went to Saint Mary’s,” Mac Carthaigh said. “I thought it would be special to propose to her here and make it a memorable moment.”

While some students choose to propose on campus, others have met their future spouse at some atypical campus events.

Notre Dame senior Mike Brickl and Saint Mary’s senior Kelsey Robertson met each other their freshmen year at Domerfest.

“We are probably the first people that this has ever happened to,” Brickl said.

Because of the stereotype surrounding Saint Mary’s students and marriage, Robertson said she often receives questions about her relationship.

“I didn’t go to Saint Mary’s to find a husband at Notre Dame,” she said. “But a lot of Saint Mary’s girls look at mine and Mike’s relationship and get hopeful because we’re an example of the myth not really being a myth.”

All three couples say that being engaged does affect people’s perception of them once there is a ring involved but that the fact still remains that they are students and have to go to school.

“Some of my friends gush over the fact that I’m engaged but I don’t think there’s really that much of a difference,” Minta said. “We’re not going to get married until a year or so after graduation so there’s no wedding to plan.”

Crecelius and Kramer said they are excited to be engaged but they are putting school ahead of wedding plans.

“I haven’t had a lot of time to enjoy being engaged,” Kramer said. “I’m happy but I need to focus on school.”

“The engagement doesn’t have homework,” Crecelius added.

Being engaged students for more than a year has changed social interactions for the Brickl and Robertson.

“On-campus interactions are very different,” Brickl said. “People treat us differently as a couple than they do as individuals.”

While many people in the Notre Dame community feel that there is a strong “ring by spring” attitude that students feel as they get closer to graduation, Minta said she felt there was no pressure on her and Mac Carthaigh, who have been together for more than three years, to get engaged.

“For us, it was more about being ready for the next official step rather than a set date; it was never about getting a ring before graduation because we knew we were going to be together,” Minta said.

Mac Carthaigh agreed, saying although he and Minta had discussed marriage before, their engagement is more about dedication.

“I felt ready for an official commitment,” he said. “I never thought about ‘when’ we’d get engaged.”

Brickl and Robertson said they see the “ring by spring” outlook more now that they are seniors quickly approaching graduation.

“There are some people that I do think will end up together,” Robertson said. “But there are others that are thinking that there is a clock ticking.”

The pair, who got engaged in June 2008, will get married the Lady of Loretto Church at Saint Mary’s this June.  Robertson said there was no question that they would get married in the Notre Dame community, which was an integral part of their relationship.

“This is our place,” she said. “This is where we met, fell in love and where our whole relationship developed. There is nowhere else that is as special or as sacred to us.”