In college, some students are forced to grow up a little faster than others and in different ways.
Cassie Stuart is not your average 21-year-old Keene State College senior— she is also a wife.
Most college students walk around campus without a ring on their left finger, but for some, college isn’t a time for hook-ups or boyfriends/girlfriends.
According to CNN, “Out of 20,928 undergraduates surveyed by the National Center for Education Statistics in 2008, about 18 percent reported they were married.”
Stuart is married to her husband, Ethan Stuart, who is enlisted in the army and will be leaving for Afghanistan for seven months. Stuart said, “We’ve been engaged six months now, not that long, but we had already been engaged when we found out he was getting deployed and we decided we wanted to get married before he left for deployment.”
Stuart said although the wedding may have been a surprise to some, wedding talk wasn’t a new topic, “We wanted to get married, we had been talking about it for over a year now since he left for basic training. He asked me right before it started if I would consider getting married and I said yes.”
Winter break proved to be more than just an average break from school for Stuart.
Stuart said, “He [Ethan] got leave over Christmas … while he was home over Christmas we decided we would get married then. We got married the day after Christmas and he left two days later.”
Stuart said she broke the news to her parents, “The day after Christmas we told our parents. We were like, ‘Well we’re going today.’ We had told them but I don’t know if they … thought it would really happen.”
Stuart said her parents are excited for her, “My parents are happy— they have known Ethan for so long, so many years.”
Stuart’s mom, Nancy Cote said, “Initially I thought honestly they are too young, you know. They’re just so young, they have so many years ahead of them, and they’re going to grow and change; that was my initial thought.”
Stuart echoed her mom and said, “At first everyone was like, ‘You’re a little young. Are you sure?’” Cote said, “My thoughts now are you know it’s their life and they have to make decisions for themselves and it’s their life to live and I just hope they’re happy and I’m okay with it. I just want her [Cassie] to be happy and they have to make their own choices in life and they can’t base their choices on what other people think.”
Stuart didn’t make a large announcement about the wedding. She said, “I told my really close friends, but everyone else kind of found out as a surprise.”
One of Stuart’s close friends Danielle Strauss said, “I totally understand why they had to rush into it given his deployment and everything so she had to mature pretty fast.”
In order to stay in contact with her husband during his deployment Stuart said, “The bases have Wi-Fi so we both have iPhones so we can iMessage if they’re allowed to use the Wi-Fi. If they’re not allowed to use it then they have to wait for phone calls. They just wait in line. They get like a half hour on the computer or they get an allotted amount of time on the phone.”
Stuart also added that, “It won’t be like strictly letters.”
Stuart said, “I’m nervous about it [deployment], [be]cause it is a foreign country and we have had problems with them, but I know things have gotten a lot better over there, and I’m excited for him cause he’s always wanted to join the army.”
Stuart said, “I know he’s really excited about it so I’m excited for him I just try to think about it that way.”
After Stuart graduates from KSC and her husband comes back from deployment, Stuart said they do have a plan, “When he gets back [from deployment] in the end of August … I’ll be going down to where he’s stationed in Kansas … hopefully we’ll have a house on base set up by then so I can move stuff in so that he’ll have a house to come home to.”
Stuart also said, “I’m just excited to be together. Kansas isn’t the most exciting state, but I don’t mind it.”
Stuart, who studies education at KSC, said, “Hopefully I can get a teaching job on base. It makes it a lot easier for when he takes leave time; I get leave time also.”
But while her husband is gone, Stuart said, “I think the crappiest part is he won’t be here for graduation, but it keeps me busy being in school and doing stuff so I don’t always focus on it as much.”
During the deployment Stuart will have a support system.
Strauss said, “All I do is be there for her when she needs someone to talk to and she needs someone to confide in, just understanding no judgment. I know it’s definitely a scary situation to be in.”
Even though this time may be difficult Cote said, “My thoughts are always whatever my kids want I will support them I just want them to be happy and healthy.”
Morgan Markley can be contacted at