Today is our third anniversary! To celebrate, I thought I would write about how we got married in college. Not why we got married in college. That answer is pretty easy - we couldn't wait any longer! But how were we able to do it?
Tuition Scholarships. We didn't talk about marriage in our high school dating years, but we knew that going to the same college was an important step in that direction. We looked at schools where we could both earn full tuition scholarships and Pitt, the highest-ranked academically, was the clear winner.
Student Loans. I took out the standard federal student loans to cover my room and board each year.
Room and Board Scholarship. Adam was all set to take out student loans as well, but then he interviewed for and was awarded a special scholarship that also covered room and board.
High School Jobs. We didn't have to work on campus our freshman years, thanks to savings we accumulated from high school part-time jobs. I worked at Sonic and Adam was a physics tutor. We were definitely glad not to have worked our first year of college, because it gave us time to adjust to everything and make friends.
On-Campus Jobs. Starting in our sophomore years, though, we each worked about fifteen hours a week on campus. I worked in the computer lab and Adam did research with a professor. We also helped out as undergrad teaching assistants at various points.
Summer Internships. We worked full-time every summer. Right after graduating from high school, we both worked at a day camp. During the following summers, I interned at non-profits and Adam did math research.
Real Part-Time Jobs. For the year between my graduation and Adam's graduation, I worked about thirty hours a week as a nanny and an SAT tutor. Both of these positions required a car, so we used a big chunk of our savings to buy one, along with taking out a car loan.
Pell Grant. It was really, really nice to work a bit less than full-time while expecting Claire. I was able to do that because Adam received a Pell Grant from the university for his last year of school.
Departmental Scholarships. In my junior and senior years, I won two scholarships from the business school, mostly because no one else applied. Adam also received awards from the math and physics departments that came with cash gifts.
Outside Scholarships. We were both awarded the Robert C. Byrd scholarship from the State of Texas, which basically covered the cost of our textbooks each semester.
Parental Support. Before we were married, our parents paid for our health insurance, cell phones, and flights home. Every summer until we were married, we had internships back in Houston. So, for a third of the year, our parents still provided food, lodging, and the third family car to commute to work. That allowed us to save almost all of our income each summer, which went to studying abroad, wedding expenses, and eventually a car down payment. While we did get a cell phone plan and provide for our own travel expenses after getting married, thanks to the new health care law we were actually able to stay on their health insurance. However, Adam had to buy student health insurance from Pitt for his last semester, so Claire would be covered from her birth until his full-time job started.
We left Pittsburgh with two bachelor's degrees and lots of good friends. Of course, we also left with student loans and a car loan, debt we would have incurred no matter when we got married. I would say the two years of marriage and awfully cute baby more than make up for it though!