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The Dartmouth
May 27, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

All Roads Lead to Rollins

You're reaching that age when you can't mention a casual movie date to your mom without her giving you that overly giddy smile. Facebook is notifying you of engagements, and they're not jokes. Your friends are bringing home positive pregnancy sticks and are happy about it. You do your best to ignore all of this and remind yourself that you're still young, you're in college, so there's no need to be rushing into the next stages of your life.

Then, some jerk reminds you of that gross statistic that 10 percent of Dartmouth graduates supposedly go on to get married to each other, and it takes every ounce of self-control you have not to have a complete mental breakdown right then and there.

Don't worry, you are not alone. When you're barely out of the house and still covered by your parent's medical insurance, it's daunting to think that the kid sitting next to you in class could be sitting next to you forever.

In reality, there is some truth to the number. A 2000 Dartmouth Alumni Magazine article stated that since 1976 when the College went coed, 2,548 alums had married other alums. With 25,429 living alumni at the time of publication, the 10 percent rumor seems to actually hold true.

The legend also proves correct for Anna Fagin '13, whose family has multiple pairs of Dartmouth relationships. Her parents, both members of the Class of 1985, met during their time here while working together at The Dartmouth. Her father later proposed to her mother on the Green facing Robo.

A few decades prior, when the school was still all-male, her grandfather, a member of the Class of 1960, met his future wife in at a fraternity house she happened be at Dartmouth visiting one of her friends. While Fagin said she doesn't feel pressure to continue her family's tradition, she admitted that there is something about Dartmouth that makes students prone to matching up.

"We think alike and have similar senses of humor as a community," Fagin said. "It's really easy to identify with Dartmouth kids."

There is certainly no shortage of similar stories of Dartmouth love. Co-president of the Dartmouth Club of Orange County Mabelle Heuston '86 can spout a list of names of fellow students who ended up marrying one another.

She herself married her best friend, John Hueston '86, though she said she certainly never planned it that way.

Mabelle Heuston said she went off to college adamant that she'd marry someone back at the reservation on which she grew up, but her plans quickly changed upon arriving at the College. She and her husband met during their sophomore summer but did not start dating until right before graduation.

"I never thought he'd be a possible mate," Heuston said. "I just thought about what an amazing classmate I have."

She credited her successful marriage to a long-term friendship full of meaningful conversation and honesty rather than to the Dartmouth atmosphere.

"So much growing happens in those four years," Heuston said. "You meet people who will help you through your issues, be there at your lowest and then eventually be there at your highest."

The two were married in Utah on June 25, 1986, right after Commencement. While Heuston said she feels lucky to have found someone so special during her time here, she said she by no means thinks it's the norm.

"It's a different situation for everyone," she said. "You have to connect on a less superficial level. If you can find someone within the College that makes you a better you, then that's phenomenal."

If you think about it, spending four years in a tiny New Hampshire town with the same group of people would increase the likelihood that you will find someone with whom you will make a real connection, so it's really not so bizarre that such a large number of alums seem to end up together. But the truth is, you could just as easily meet someone in graduate school, at your first job or at the diner you eat at every Thursday night. Despite what people say, there may not be that special something in the Dartmouth air that makes people more prone to finding a soulmate.

Although several classes managed to meet this number in the past, the world is also different now.

Since the 1970s, the median age for marriage has increased by over five years, meaning that young people aren't settling down right out of college anymore. Instead, we're exploring higher education, focusing on careers or just experiencing our lives as individuals. There is no longer the compulsion to be immediately married at 22, so don't worry about putting Rollins Chapel on hold just yet.

Yes, the stats are there, but these things can change. Take your time, live your life and marry whomever you please. Or get some cats.

We're not judging you.