Married K-State students juggle school, hobbies, life as a couple

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For many students, marriage as part of a life plan is not an option until after graduation. However, two K-State students recently chose to make that commitment a bit earlier — to marry as students and finish their college careers together as a married couple.

Cole Rickabaugh, senior in feed science, and Briana Rickabaugh, senior in psychology and Spanish, are living the dream of being married while simultaneously continuing as full-time students and volunteering as youth group sponsors at the First Lutheran Church in Manhattan. Cole and Briana, who married on Aug. 10, had been together for four years before deciding to tie the knot.

Cole proposed to Briana on their four-year anniversary, Dec. 6, 2012. The couple met at Shawnee Heights Middle School in Tecumseh, Kan. Cole and Briana attended middle school and high school together before deciding to come to K-State together as well.

“When we decided to get married, I knew it was going to be crazy planning it, but no big deal,” Briana said.

Cole said he thinks his marriage has been a great adjustment. He said that it is the best thing that has happened to their relationship.

“We had been dating for quite a while,” Cole said. “It’s something we had been looking forward to and [then] it [was] finally here. You get to be with that person all the time.”

Briana said she likes the value of the little sentimental things, such as going to the grocery store together while Cole said he appreciated Briana being supportive of him.

“She helps me to be a better person, to be the person I want to be,” Cole said.

The pair noted that one issue they faced while they were dating was working through some obsessive-compulsive traits Briana had. Briana and Cole agreed that they have both changed significantly from that time in their lives.

“I think for both of us, it’s been give and take,” Cole said.

Briana said the proposal was not a shock to her, and Cole said he felt she expected it.

“I didn’t expect it [the] night [he actually proposed],” Briana said. “I wasn’t surprised that [he] did it, but I was shocked that it happened.”

Courtney Claassen, senior in graphic design and Briana’s former roommate, designed the invitations for the Rickabaugh’s wedding. Claassen said the Rickabaughs’ relationship is no surprise to her.

“They are one of the most fun couples I know, and they just seemed to complete each other,” Claassen said in an email interview. “Not only are they taking on a full load at school and working, they are youth group sponsors at the church they got married in. They support each other through it all. Even though they are both very busy people, they know they are coming home to each other and won’t [necessarily] have those times where they can’t see each other because of their hectic schedules.”

Classen said the Rickabaughs are a welcoming couple and that they have helped each other through some major life events. She said they both know how to comfort one another, which is important for two people who are married.

“They are both very sincere and trustworthy, which I believe comes from their great faith together,” Claassen said in an email.

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