Class, lunch date with a friend, class, gym, library—a pretty normal schedule for a typical Bowdoin student. When you add going home for dinner with your husband, however, you are no longer in the realm of conventionality.
Married students at Bowdoin are rarely spoken about, perhaps because there is currently only one. Jamilah Gregory '11 got married this past summer and currently lives off-campus with her husband, David Gregory.
Though Gregory is an exceptional case at the College today, years past have seen more married couples on campus.
According to the November 10, 1967 issue of the Orient, it was reported that there were 18 married students among the student population.
All 18 men and their wives lived off campus.
The article, entitled "The Plight of the Married Student: Housing, College Indifference, Money," explored the varied opinions of married students about their expectations and disappointments of the College.
According to the article, many felt neglected by the College.
Joe Pierce '69 said at the time of the Orient article, "The College doesn't recognize that students exist. Everything is for the convenience of the unmarried students and the inconvenience of the married students, who are left out of the planning."
Gregory's experience today, however, contrasts starkly with Pierce's sentiments from 40 years ago.
"Last year, I talked to [the] Registrar, Residential Life and Financial Aid, and I told them, 'I'm getting married in the summer. I'd like to get my name changed, I'm going to live off campus, and I want to see how my financial aid will change,'" said Gregory. "All of my questions were answered welcomingly and supportively. I didn't feel any discrimination or disrespect from the administration or the faculty that I talked with."
In 1967, according to the Orient, The Bowdoin Student Wives' Association served as "an effective way for [wives of Bowdoin students] to meet people with similar experiences." Wives of Bowdoin students connected with one anther, attending knitting classes and getting involved in community service projects.
"Jobs offered to [my wife] by the College were no more than menial time-fillers," said Martin Glazer '68 in the 1967 Orient article.
Glazer also added in the article that there were very few opportunities to blend his life at home with his life at school.
Though Gregory lives off-campus at the end of Maine Street near Fort Andross, she described that her two worlds often become one.
"People see Dave and I together all the time on campus," said Gregory. "I think God has created a role for us together here."
In the past, married Bowdoin students felt that the lack of available housing was detrimental to their everyday living.
According to the 1967 Orient article, Reed Winston '68 said, "The College should have housing for married students. Perhaps if the married student lived closer to campus, he wouldn't feel so apart from the College."
Gregory remarked that if she had wanted to, she could have requested housing on campus, and that it was her personal decision to live off campus.
According to Director of Residential Life Mary Pat McMahon, there have not been any studies or records kept of married students or students with children.
"We want people to tell us about their situation and circumstances—we want people to know that they have options if they're not a typical Bowdoin student," McMahon said.
In the past, McMahon said, "non-student spouses have paid rent to live on campus. And, Mayflower and Brunswick apartments used to be apartments, which were logical for those who wanted to live off campus in town."
Gregory's decision to get married was not one that she took lightly. She said it took much consideration, contemplation, and most of all, prayer.
"Other people perceive [marriage] as binding and restrictive," she said. "Somehow people see married people as less intellectual, ignorant or naive. But getting married was a step of faith. I think every step of our life should be a step of faith. I can't change their thoughts or responses. But, our prayer was that God would be glorified in our marriage."
Gregory acknowledged that her marriage did come as a shock to many of her classmates.
"There were so many reactions when we decided to get married. Sometimes I felt judgment and I tried to understand why. I did not want people to misunderstand my intentions. Not everyone is going to agree, endorse or believe the same thing as us and that's totally understandable. God has really revealed that this was the right time and he's really provided for us this year."
Many students said they could not fathom managing both married and college life.
"It's seen as okay to be a strong, reliable couple, but if you get married, it's as if you're putting education behind your romantic life," said Molly Porcher '13. "But, I guess if you believe strongly enough that you're going to get married, go ahead."
Gregory said her powerful sense of self and faith overrode her initial doubts about being married during College.
"At the beginning of the year, I didn't know how I would manage at all. It seemed impossible to me, yet I knew that God had called [my husband and I] to be together and I knew he would provide."
"My husband told me, 'I don't want you to ever look back and say that you missed out.' He is so thoughtful and self-giving," Gregory said. "He was very intentional saying that we know that God is calling us to be married now, but at the same time, we know that he has you here at Bowdoin for a reason."