Married students stay together despite challenges


Roberto Hodge | The Daily Eastern News Kelsey and Stephen Jackson laugh together as they recount how they met through a unique circumstance Wednesday in Mary J. Booth Library.

Roberto Hodge, Multicultural Editor

Her best friend was a mutual friend of his, and through a series of awkward phone switching and a sudden change of heart, the two became a couple, dated and were then married a year and a half later.

Kelsey Jackson, a senior elementary education major, and Steve Jackson, a sophomore at Lakeland College, are two married students.

Both laughed during the memory as Kelsey explained the situation.

One day while Kelsey’s friend was grounded, she borrowed Kelsey’s phone to call her boyfriend, Steve.

From there, Steve took Kelsey’s number, broke up with the friend and started dating Kelsey—after about three days.

Their relationship mainly consisted of phone calls since they lived two hours away, coupled with the fact that Steve’s parents did not approve of Kelsey because he was Pentecostal and she is a non-denominational Christian.

“It was difficult. I only got to see him eight times the entire time we were dating during the 11-month period,” Kelsey said.

Steve said they had broken up a few times and were even friends prior to dating.

Four months after they started dating, Steve said he proposed to Kelsey in the rain.

Kelsey said she had always pictured a more romantic proposal, which didn’t exactly play out like the scene in her head.

“I didn’t want to kneel down; it was raining,” Steve said with a smile. “Let’s get this over with.”

Kelsey said she knew the proposal was coming as she was buying her wedding dress earlier that day and Steve had picked out the ring with her father.

Despite knowing it was going to happen, the moment still felt magical to her.

“I didn’t want to lose him again,” Kelsey said. “We were going to do what we wanted without their approval.”

All differences aside, Steve’s parents love Kelsey and both parents are supportive of the couple, she said.

They married before entering college and lived together with Kelsey’s parents, which helped because she was going away to Eastern, as she always wanted to be a teacher. Kelsey said she had researched the institution since she was 16 and it is the university she always wanted to attend.

Steve said going to college also benefitted him because he wanted to do something more with his life.

He didn’t want to sit around and work at a dead-end job, so he’s studying computer-aided drafting.

“I wanted to do what my dad did,” Steve said.

Realizing being married sets them apart from a traditional student, the couple made light of how other students perceive them.

“‘You’re married, what?’” Kelsey said.

“’Already?’” Steve interjected as they both smiled.

Many times, Steve would say something under his breath and Kelsey would reply with a comment, promting Steve to chuckle.

Both are full time students and part-time workers at Pizza Hut, but in different locations, so they do not get to see each other as often as either would like.

“He’s already in bed by the time I get home,” Kelsey said.

On average, the two only get to see each other 30 minutes a day except for Wednesday or Sunday at church.

Since the two are married, they fill out their taxes jointly as many married couples do. Kelsey said their financial aid splits and some goes toward Eastern, while the rest is for Lakeland College.

They receive enough as it covers most of their college expenses such as housing and tuition; however, their first year was hard for them financially as she was the only one working.

When it comes to children, both agree on the notion, but when numbers start flying, the two seem to be deeply divided.

Kelsey said she wants five children while Steve said he would rather go the more traditional route with one boy and girl.

Kelsey said she already has five names picked out, but they want to wait until after they both graduate from college.

“I want to be like the next Duggars,” Kelsey said jokingly as Steve smiled.

Roberto Hodge can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected] .