Ethar El-Katatney

A Spouse, a House, and…Homework?

Posted in Dimensions (AUC) by Ethar El-Katatney on May 1, 2006

Are you finding it hard to balance between your studies and activities? Well, it might surprise you to find out that right here at AUC, there are students who not only juggle university work and activities, but also a house, a spouse, and in some cases even a child.

21 year-old Aliya Youssef, an Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) graduating senior with a 3.3 GPA, is married with a one year-old girl. She lives alone with her husband and daughter, cooks, cleans and takes care of the house.

“There are times when I’m stressed and feel like I have a lot to do,” she says. “But I never feel cheated out of my university experience because I was a member of almost everything on campus … I was president of Resala a year ago.”

Dina Ansary, a 21 year-old Business Administration senior, who married last June, echoes this sentiment.

“I don’t feel like marriage hinders me in any way,” she said. “I manage my time and set priorities and it’s not difficult to be both a student and a wife.”

The number of females getting married is significantly higher than the male number, owing to the fact that girls traditionally marry at a much younger age in Egyptian society.

Families also play a big role in easing the transition between the girls’ homes and their husbands’ homes.

“I don’t cook or clean and I have live in help,” says Ansary. Youssef adds that her mother baby-sits for her daughter when she is too busy to do so.

Noha Salem, a 20 year-old Business Administration senior who married last June, stresses that being married is not much of a hassle.

“After you graduate, you have to balance your work and home life,” she says. “So it’s exactly the same, except we study instead of working.”

Reactions to AUCians who are married while still studying are varied.

“Some doctors were accommodating when I was pregnant, others weren’t,” Youssef says. “The security guards were especially nice to me, making sure I didn’t pass under the metal detectors.”

“AUCians in general don’t treat me differently just because I’m married,” adds Ansary. “But maybe it would be different if I was pregnant.”

Though many AUCians seem accepting of married students, others disagree with the concept. Nadine Hagar, Biology Sophomore, is very critical of women getting married while still studying.

“What’s the point of getting a college education if you’re already devoting yourself to marriage?” she says. “These girls are not giving themselves an opportunity to pursue a career…I find it very disturbing to think of being married and pregnant at my age.”

However, it’s not only girls who marry at a young age. Nayef Aljedaidi is a Computer Science sophomore who married at age 21 and has two children.

“It’s definitely a huge responsibility,” he says. “When I go home, I have to spend time with my children and look after their needs…My family and my wife’s family don’t live in Egypt, so we’re all alone.”

AUCians’ reactions varied when Dimensions asked if it was more suitable for girls to get married at a young age. Mina Iskander, an Economics senior, believes that marriage is more acceptable for women “since men have the bulk of responsibility in a marriage, and women usually mature faster than men.”

“But in general,” he continues, “marriage at a young age doesn’t lead to a fruitful future life because our interests and expectations about marriage change as we grow older.”

In the end, getting married at a young age is a personal choice.
“I know it’s hard and a struggle,” says Youssef. “But if you’re committed to it, then you will succeed.”

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