I regret being a married college student at Ohio State University. I feel like I wasted my college years.

I regret being a married college student at Ohio State University. I feel like I wasted my college years.
Jenna Lee was married throughout college.Jenna Lee
  • I got married at 19 and started college at Ohio State as a married woman.
  • I struggled to connect with students, didn't live in the dorms, and didn't go to parties.

At 18, I was eager to get out of my living situation. I met a man whom I was interested in, so I rushed the next steps of our relationship.

By 19, we tied the knot, and I became a married college student. I, unfortunately, missed out on a lot of the "normal" college experiences because I spent most of the time with my husband and didn't have that much in common with the other students.

Now that I'm 35 and divorced, I can't help but feel regret for wasting my college years as a married woman. But I'm now realizing it's never too late to experience youthful adventures.

My childhood turned into adulthood before I knew it

My childhood was the opposite of normal, and I couldn't wait to leave it behind. My mother used drugs and drank, but I remained a good student. I got good test scores, and wonderful teachers made my college applications shine. Thankfully, I got into Ohio State University.

The summer before my freshman year of college, I met my future ex-husband. He was quite a bit older than me, had already graduated college, and was living on his own. We quickly became enamored with each other.


I was at his place so often that eventually he said, "You can bring your stuff over if you want." So I did. When his lease was up for renewal, we added my name. When he asked me to marry him, I said yes.

Honestly, at that point, I didn't even think to question it. I was 18, we were dating, and it seemed like we were in love, so we did it. I was 19 and he was 25 when we said, "I do."

When college started, I felt isolated from my classmates

Since I lived with my husband and not in the dorms, I had a very different lifestyle than most students. My whole life was focused on my husband: his friends, his work, and his family.

I scheduled all my classes during the day while he was at work so I could be home to cook his dinner and take care of the house.

As a result, I didn't really have friends at school because none of the people I met knew how to interact with a married 19-year-old who didn't go out to party. I went to classes and talked to people, but I never felt like I belonged. My classmates talked about things I wasn't involved in, and it seemed like they were living in a different world. At the time, I thought I was better and that I was more mature than the "kids" around me, but the reality was that I was still a kid.


I ended up making it through college in three years, and my husband and I went on to work at the same job together. It wasn't until I was 27 that we divorced.

I could've made lifelong college friends and taken trips with them. I could've studied abroad with other students or lived on campus in the dorms. I wish I could've done all those things, but I allowed what turned out to be a messy relationship take control of my life.

I wasn't able to explore like you are supposed to in college. I'd already trapped myself in a "forever." Maybe it could have been different if I'd been different — if he'd been different. Unfortunately, we can never go back.

Now I'm way past college age and looking to make up for the adventures I missed out on

I'm engaged again, to a man who is more of a match for who I am and who I want to be.

Sometimes, I still think about the things I missed out on in college. I'm slowly coming to terms with it all — mostly by doing them all now. After all, there's nothing stopping me from going to parties or the club these days. I can easily travel abroad now. I have responsibilities, of course, but I also have something I didn't have then: money and a newfound perspective. I know who I am now, and I have a partner that is 100% with me and supportive.


I'll never get to do college over again, but I can still go on adventures.