Something GOLD & Something BLUE


Brady Johnson

Imagine the connotations that come with college life. Studying, partying, and pulling all-nighters are experiences that all college students can relate to. Buying a gown for graduation is a big step towards the future, but so is purchasing a wedding dress. Marriage while in college, nowadays, is often  met with questions. Are you sure? Is this just a phase? Do you know 50 percent of marriages end in divorce? All these questions bombard couples, yet some stand defiant and say it’s “true love.” No matter the type of educational institution, young love creeps into student lives.

“We knew very early on that we were in love and that we were going to marry each other,” Adarios Jones, junior, said. “It was getting to that point where we were like ‘we can’t wait’.” Jones and Rene Powers, junior, met in the fall of 2018 and from there they fell into a movie kind of love.

It all started with poetry.

“It feels like we were supposed to meet,” Powers said. After hearing each other’s work at symposium day,  they decided to work together for a spoken word project under professor Rebecca Wee in the creative writing department. Over the course of the term, they spent hours together discussing their project. Before long their personal feelings unraveled in their social interactions.

“I am a very outspoken guy, especially when it comes to my writing, and so I was writing poems about her during the class,” Jones said. “All of them were love poems. It eventually led to her thinking, ‘Hmm I wonder if these are about me?’ Almost every single [poem] was about her.”

Powers and Jones, further in their poetry course, wove in personal details about one another, creating a sort of game.

“Towards the end of the term, we would read all of our work,” Powers said. “We were kind of picking jokes on each other. I had written something about him and it was like a teasing poem. He knew about it and I am sitting there reading it, trying to be normal but I start laughing in class. No one knows what is going on because we had an inside joke.”

Powers thinks the class caught on to their friendship. One person who did catch on was Wee. Two years prior Wee had Jones in a class where they hit it off pretty well. She met Powers this past fall term and immediately saw talent in her poetry.

At the beginning Wee was unaware of the budding romance between her students.

“I didn’t want to approach their poetry assuming that they were writing to or about each other,” Wee said. “Anytime we read poems in the first person, it’s tempting to read them as the writer’s confessions and that’s often not accurate. Writers use personae. They borrow experiences and imagery from places well beyond personal experience, so in workshops we try not to presume that the ‘I’ is the person who wrote the poem telling us a literal truth.”

Towards the end of the class, Wee did start to think that the “you” in Powers’ poems were about Jones.

Jones describes himself as someone who doesn’t like to open up – so much so that he wrote a poem called “Dear Love” expressing how he hated love. Yet, even his own reservations on a relationship subsided when he was with Powers.

“I was like ‘man I am falling head over heels and I am really falling in love’ and I thought it was a honeymoon phase that would pass, but it never did and still hasn’t and never will,” Jones said.

Recollections of their engagement story brought laughter from Powers. Powers retells how they became boyfriend and girlfriend on Dec. 26, 2018. Jones brought up the question with a ring pop.

As they discussed their relationship, Jones sipped coffee out of a mug that had pictures of them. That same holiday break they began dating Jones asked Power’s dad for his blessing. He would later call Power’s mom with the same question.

A mug with pictures of Adarios Jones and Rene Powers. Photo by Brady Johnson.

The proposal would soon follow on Feb. 13. Powers interjects that the whole process may come off as weird to some people. It wasn’t long before both Jones and Powers brushed off any criticism with laughter.

Powers love for space and Jones loves for the theatrical gave way to the perfect plan. An astronomy show in the John Deere Planetarium with a short video on the stars. An interruption with a message, which Powers likens to the Star Wars text crawl, moving upwards on the screen. Jones said his hands were sweating as he dropped to one knee. As all successful proposals go, the answer was “yes”. A cheer erupted from behind them. Professor Lee Carkner, who helped Jones play the video, was excited.

“I thought it was so funny and cute,” Powers said in regards to Professor Carkner taking photos of them along with his congratulations. Professor Carkner mentioned that it is pretty common for students to meet their spouses at Augustana and that “astronomy is the most romantic science.”

Powers and Jones recently told Professor Wee of the engagement by scheduling an appointment. This appointment Wee thought was just another meeting about creative writing, but poetry would not be the focus. Wee said that it was common for Jones and Powers to come to meetings together so when they walked in she thought nothing of it.

Then Wee noticed the ring on Powers finger and a cry session ensued.

“When I see them together, I see two people for whom the other hung the moon,” Wee said. “Neither takes the other for granted. They both realize their good fortune to have found each other, and they seem to have a clear sense of what it requires to keep that kind of ‘luck’ healthy and blooming.”

Announcements of engagement soon fade away to the next important question, when the wedding will take place. Powers and Jones will hold a ceremony after their time at Augustana.

First-years Sam Bruns and Shane Griffin are also holding out until after college, but that didn’t stop them from getting engaged on Oct. 27, 2018.

First-years Sam Bruns and Shane Griffin plan the rest of their Sunday on March 31. Bruns and Griffin will be holding their wedding after they graduate in 2022. Photo by Brady Johnson. 

Bruns and Griffin first met at Illinois Lutheran high school and started dating their senior year. People tend to create lavish proposals; Griffin, on the other hand, saw an opportunity when his car broke down outside of Lake Forest College.

“It’s the weekend before finals and I am trying desperately to find a way back to Augustana,” Griffin said. “We were very stressed and had a lot of stuff going on. We were sitting outside and I realized that going through hard moments is easier if you have someone. So, I just asked her.”

Jones encountered some pushback from loved ones and acquaintances when he announced his engagement. Yet, all the feedback Jones received was to make sure he was ready for marriage. For Bruns and Griffin, they encountered no questions outside of their family.

Marriage can be a transformational experience, but Burns believes her transformational years are behind her.

“I’m not really worried about us changing as we get older because we already changed so much in the time that we’ve known each other,” Bruns said. “I think it will be okay. That sounded unsure, didn’t it?” Bruns and Griffin laughed it off and continue with their playful banter.

Powers mentioned the low number of people who get engaged in college and how most wait until after college to settle down.  Being with Jones has completely changed Powers’ experience being at college. Powers likens Jones as being her home while she attends Augustana.

“Being engaged isn’t really that big of a thing,” Griffin said. “I feel like people think of it as being a huge commitment. Literally, nothing has changed between us and we are going to get married at some point.”

Sam Bruns and Shane Griffin show their rings. The proposal was on Oct. 27, 2018. Photo by Brady Johnson.

Featured Image: Juniors Adarios Jones and Rene Powers discuss where they can find an outdoor grill on April 1. Jones and Powers will be having their wedding after college. Photo by Brady Johnson.