There’s a button pinned to a cork board in my dining room. It’s somehow managed to stick with me through two cross-country moves and twice as many apartments. A bland, white type-face stares out at me from the requisite red and blue background, loudly proclaiming, “I met my husband at Penn!”

It was picked up years ago as a joke. In a fit of giggles, jaded college friends and I pinned them to our backpacks—an act so painfully designed to be ironic it’s physically uncomfortable to look back on now. “Can you believe these actually exist!?”

I went through the entirety of my undergraduate degree without a single significant relationship. A victim of campus hook-up culture and a steadfast believer that I was just too busy for love. If I said it to enough people it would be true, right?

Throughout the years other buttons came into my possession:
“I met my wife at Penn!” (My heart still fills with joy when I think of my platonically beloved college spouse and go-to party date)
“I met my best friend at Penn!” (Who else would I spend the High Holidays with?)
“Quaker for life!” (lol – but also, I came back for graduate school so that joke’s on me)

But I couldn’t tell you where any of those are now… The only one that’s still pinned to my cork board, two cross-country moves and twice as many apartments later, is THAT goddamn button.

“I met my husband at Penn!”

It caught my eye the other day. I’ll graduate with my master’s degree on the same day as my five-year reunion. And I’m still peddling that age-old excuse… no, no I’m just too busy for a relationship. I might have picked up that pin as a joke, but it’s starting to feel like curse. Either that or I desperately need to examine my own priorities and insecurities while also calling out the toxicity that can exist around developing relationships in a highly competitive environment amid a generation with an increasingly short attention span…. Nah, that fucking pin is cursed.

Well, come all ye loyal classmen now, in hall and campus through… I’ve started to look at Ph.D. applications, and I really don’t need that in my life right now, so help a girl out? Thanks.