Administrators prepare for changed lifestyle


Photo provided by Jennifer Mast.

Harsh Singh


Though the bride usually takes on planning, Mast’s new husband, Jeff Rukstad decided to instead. Along with Principal Mast’s wedding, RBHS’s athletic director, David Egan, will wed Kim Schweikert Nov. 16. Photo provided by Jennifer Mast
Dr. Jennifer Mast, principal, wed Jeff Rukstad at her parents’ home Oct. 12.  Mast, who took over as principal this summer after having been athletic director, said planning a wedding and starting the school year in a new capacity was time consuming.
Photo provided by Jennifer Mast
This weekend, David Egan, who assumed the reins of athletic director for the first time this summer, will marry Kim Schweikert. As seven fall sports’ season began then moved into postseason action, Egan had to balance commitment to Bruin athletics with time management of wedding plans.
“I pretty much just try to devote most of my Sundays and if I’m lucky some of my Wednesday evening to helping Kim with wedding planning,” Egan said. “Sunday and sometimes Wednesday are pretty much the only days when I don’t have something going on related to my position as the athletic director.”
Those who work in the main office knew what he was going through. One door away Dr. Jennifer Mast, principal, had just wed Jeff Rukstad. on Oct. 12 She, too, had taken on the responsibility of organizing a wedding just as she had stepped into the role of principal here.
Although she said she was excited prior to wedding, Mast said she had to find ways to balance her time. She said her experience of completing her doctoral degree helped her handle the stress brought on by organizing wedding affairs.
“Following some of the same patterns I had while I was a student, I would often get up very early and set a certain amount of time to work on the wedding. When the time was up, I switched to principal work,” Mast said. “Starbucks opens at 5:30 a.m. on a weekday and Panera at six, so those spots are often my early morning office. On the weekends, I really focused on the wedding, since I had more access to Jeff and my parents than during the week.”
Even though Egan and Mast are both excited by their new lives, they said there were challenges to working the hours it takes in their field yet finding time for the commitments that came with planning. Both agreed women have more expectations placed on them before weddings than do men.
“I am in the fortunate position that my fiance is doing most of the wedding planning, and so I haven’t really felt that anxiety of making sure everything is planned,” Egan said. “Truthfully, I don’t know if it’s a product of our culture, but more pressure and responsibility seems to fall more to the bride during a wedding.”
Although three out of every five women said they played a more responsible role in preparing for a marriage, according to a survey of 300 women by the Huffington Post, the article also reported men found the process to be more stressful than did women. Mast said she had many responsibilities to commit before her wedding. Specifically, Mast had to do things like make a guest list, manage the RSVPs, communicate with the caterer and purchase hostess gifts for all events.
“I don’t envy Dr. Mast because I am sure there are more steps she has to take than me,” Egan said. “I am not really sure that there is much that I’d have to take that she wouldn’t besides the rehearsal dinner coordinating the attire and information with my groomsmen.”
Mast, however, said she understood the importance of stress management. For instance, she said she continued to do things that were important to her. She participated in the Multiple Sclerosis Bike Ride and visited her family in Springdale, Il. Mast said the biggest stress reliever was when her and her husband went to a Cardinals game the week of the wedding.
“We had a lot to do in preparation for the big event, but taking the time out to go to a playoff game was a really cool memory for us and gave us a chance to get away before the whirlwind of the weekend,” Mast said. “We questioned whether we were doing the right thing before we went, but it was worth it.”
Egan said women have a central role in preparing for a marriage because they typically have more expectations for its preparations than do the grooms. He said it has been rooted with the American culture for a long time.
“It’s a process that would probably take decades to change,” Egan said. “Plus, Americans value tradition and so I’m not sure there is much of a cultural demand to change expectations with regards to male versus female responsibility with wedding planning.”
With the burden of preparing for a wedding, Mast also had to balance preparing for a wedding and being a principal. She said she was already pretty good with managing time, which helped her.
“Every day, there was time allotted for being principal and time allotted for wedding planning,” Mast said. “For the most part, the two didn’t mix.”
Mast also said having two important jobs simultaneously helped her interpersonal skills. She said having two crucial jobs forced her to create a neccessary balance.
“In a way, it was a good start to the principal’s position for me to be planning the wedding because I wasn’t allowed to give an unrealistic amount of time to the job,” Mast said. “It also helped me learn to delegate tasks within the job I might not have otherwise.”
Both Mast and Egan have similar outlooks on the changes they will face after marriage. Other than the fact they will start living with another person, Mast and Egan said there will also be some things they will have to adapt to before things get back to normal.
“The quick answer is life will become about ‘we’ and not ‘me’,” Mast said. “We believe a union is greater than each of independently.”
By Harsh Singh