2021 Anteater Love & Friendship Stories

UC Irvine
11 min readFeb 14, 2021

This month we’re celebrating #UCILove in all of its forms. We’re so grateful for campus connections and those that lift us up when we’re feeling down!

Online connection to IRL match

Kevin & Sebastian

My name is Kevin Vasquez and here is my story with my boyfriend, Sebastian Hernandez-Mendoza. I met my boyfriend when I was a 1st year and he was a 2nd year here at UCI. We met through online dating but since we both were living on-campus, we were able to match with each other. Luckily, I was able to really connect with him online and was happy that he was interesting and funny and just an amazing person. After about a month of texting and chatting online, we decided to go on a date back home because lucky for us, we lived nearby back home as my well. Fun fact, our high schools are rival schools which made things funny and we would always joke about how his high school football team would always beat mine. Anyway, after the first 5 minutes of meeting him in person, I knew I liked him and I was happy just to be around him and in person he was just amazing. He felt the same way and I asked him to be my boyfriend. We’ve had many adventures together and we are going strong and have been together for 2 yrs and 2 months on the 21st of Feb.

Friends for Life

2019 Friendsmas after a VERY COMPETITVE Jeopardy game. Courtesy of Arizah Saif

Everyone tells me that your college friends become your friends for life; If that’s true, I lucked out. My first night at UCI, I was stressed out because I didn’t think I would make any friends. Like everyone else, I just sat in the common room and tried to make small talk with other dorm residents. It was kinda awkward but someone decided to break the tension by playing the game Mafia. Three hours later, we were spread out in our hall kitchen yelling at each other trying to figure out who the Mafia was. It was like we knew each other for YEARS. The rest is history. Every single second I wasn’t in lecture or working, I was around campus with my friends. We would walk around Aldrich Park late at night, attempt to work out at the Mesa Rec Center, and “study” in the kitchen. Most of the time, “studying” meant taking Buzzfeed quizzes and watching random YouTube videos until 2AM. Even when we all moved to different places our second year, we spent time as much time as we could together. Every Friday was “Family Friday” and we would cook for each other; I can confidently say that I am friends with some really bad cooks. We’ve been apart for a year but I know that when it’s safe to see each other, we’ll probably play cards and yell at one another like usual. I can’t wait. Thank you UCI and Mesa Court for giving me my lifelong friends. I love y’all lots.

From undecided to undeniably in love

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Rivera

As two undecided/undeclared freshmen, Ali and I (Stephanie) both enrolled in University Studies 1 in the fall quarter of 2010. One of the very first assignments was a group presentation. The discussion leader placed us in groups of three. It was me, Ali and Patrick. And that’s how we first met. We all exchanged phone numbers to collaborate on the presentation. After a few weeks, the presentation was done and so were we…for a while.

Ali & Stephanie

By winter quarter of 2011, Ali went on to the school of engineering, and I joined the school of computer science. Because of our different majors, we didn’t have many opportunities to take the same classes. We managed to keep in touch occasionally through texts and Facebook messages but not much ever came of it. At one point, we did our best to enroll in the same upper-division writing class but with different enrollment windows and high demand seats, we ended up in different classes yet again. We even went on to date other people but as time passed, we found ourselves communicating more often.

Fast forward to the winter quarter of our third year and we finally started dating. Ali invited me over for dinner at his place in VDC Norte. He had made spaghetti and we watched the Big Bang Theory. Once the date was over, he walked me all the way back to Puerta Del Sol. Just as he was about to say bye, he officially asked me out. We became a couple by the end of February 2013 and have been inseparable ever since!

We’ve created so many everlasting memories with each other and our friends during our time at UCI. We even had the fortune of having former President Obama speak at our commencement in 2014. We both truly loved UCI so much that we came back for seconds. Ali came back for a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering and I came back for a Master of Professional Accountancy (MPAc).

Having lived in Orange County for four years after our undergraduate experience, we always found ourselves coming back to walk Ring Road, grab boba at Cha and bring our meals to eat in the middle of Aldrich Park. We are currently residing in the Bay Area but always make sure to come back and visit UCI every single chance we get!

Being from Los Angeles and Ali being from the Bay Area, we would have never met had it not been for UCI. I am so elated to say that we recently got engaged on New Year’s Eve after eight years together! We will most likely be getting married in Orange County and might even move back one day.

Love in the lecture hall

Amy & Nicolas, Courtesy of Nicolas Perez

My name is Nicolas Perez and I’m a Literary Journalism Major. I met Amy Holliday in my 2nd year here. I saw her in a crowded film & media studies lecture and knew I had to talk to her. There was an open seat next to her, but as I got closer I was overcome with my nerves and actually asked the person on the other side of the empty seat if it was taken. After I sat down, I striked up a small conversation with Amy and we hit things off. The next lecture, she was in the same spot, and I sat down next to her. We went out for coffee after that, and have been together for the last three years.

First comes love, then comes marriage in Aldrich Park

A wedding in Aldrich Park

My hubs Carlos and I met in 1995 as members of the African American Student Union and a part of a very small Black student population (it was 3% then!). I saw him speak at a MLK Symposium that year and was intrigued. We bonded on a Friday night at the end of Fall Quarter over the lyrics to “Jazz (We Got The)”, a song by A Tribe Called Quest, and spent the next two weeks of Winter Break cultivating the beginning of a seriously complex and wonderful relationship

Dawnnesha & Carlos during their UCI days

After 2 children and a move to Oregon, we headed home in 2012 for a very special wedding ceremony at the place where the magic began: UCI. Being in Aldrich Park on that beautiful summer day with family, friends, and old classmates proved to be one of the best days of our lives. Without UCI, who knows what story each of us would be telling today.

Ahnie & Helena

From Roommates to best friends

I met my bestie Ahnie freshman year! She was my very first roommate coming into college and we were each other’s first friends. We both worked for the same housing community job so we had to move in the Summer before school and we instantly clicked. 4 years later we are inseparable and life wouldn’t be the same without my girl by my side.💁🏻‍♀️🤍 We have been each other’s rock throughout college and I’m so thankful for that. We’ve been through so much of life’s ups and downs together and there’s no one I’d rather have laughed in the middle of the street at 3am with! Soo many great memories of just being young and learning how to grow up. After we graduate we’re once again going to be roomies as we tackle our 20-somethings together.💕 Cheers to a solid friendship! 🥂

Will you marry me? UCI is the scene of a sweet proposal

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Kazim

My best friend/life partner and I met our junior year. Fortunate circumstances brought us together in our senior year and 2 years later I decided to ask her to marry me. We both loved UCI and so it was a natural choice for me to pick there to ask her to be my wife.

A UCI Housing romance leads to marriage and baby. Photo: Nimisha Amin, MD

Love match made in UCI Housing

My husband and I met in the dorms! We lived in Viento 1996–1997 and we graduated in 2000. I stayed in Irvine for med school until 2004. We got married in 2005 and here is our 2 year old in front of our old dorm in 2013 when my brother graduated from UCI!

A frontline friendship

I met my bestie at a high school event, the week we were deciding on colleges to attend in March 2011! We both picked UCI, had same major, same career interests, similar personalities and we clicked! Our beautiful friendship 10 years later all started because of our decision to attend UCI together. 10 years later we are PA coworkers on the front line in the ER ❤️

Photo Courtest of thewafinator, via IG
Courtesy of Heather Crau

A decade of love starts in Mesa Court

My now husband and I met move in day in Mesa Court. We just got married last month on the weekend of our 10 year anniversary!

A fine bro-mance

Met my bromate in the summer of ’15. From breakups to falling in love each week, there was only one person we truly gave our hearts to. From early morning trips on the Anteater Express, to late night trips for tacos in Santa Ana. You will #Zotever be my valentine, from now til (the) Infinity… Fountain

A match made in Symbolic Logic class

Jennifer Friend Smith, ’95 & Rob Smith, ‘98

My husband Rob & I met in Professor Woodruff’s Symbolic Logic class in 1994. 24 years into marriage and two kids later we remain Anteaters In Love💙💛

Love & Basketball

So this is Armo and I (Skippy). We met at the ARC playing basketball. Basketball has been a really big part of building our relationship and it has given us some pretty amazing experiences. We won the Mens And Women’s Late Night at the ARC tournament for three years straight (2014–2016), we have won many Intramural championships, and me and some friends started the Women’s Club Basketball with Armo being one of the coaches.

Ball is life! If it wasn’t for the ARC, we never would have crossed paths! He was Business Econ, I was Urban Studies. He is Armenian, I am White/Guatemalan. The thing that brought us together was our passion for basketball. UCI holds a special place in our hearts because we found each other.

Romance is music to their ears

Hannah and Ben at UCI Homecoming, 2018. Photo: Hannah Koury

Ben and I met during our sophomore year in undergrad and have now been together over 3 years. I was a music performance major, he was a mechanical engineering major. I knew him through a mutual friend but we re-connected when I walked up to him on ring road while he was boothing, asking him to join Wind Ensemble as we need more low brass (he played Baritone in UCI’s pep band). He reached out via text, we started talking and the rest is history. We fell in love at UCI and are so grateful for the amazing experiences we got to share together. We’ll never forget our first homecoming together in 2018. I was an intern for UCI athletics and he was in the pep band. We both were busy that day prepping for the Homecoming game but found time to take this special picture together. Each year we hope to return to UCI to recreate this picture.

A campus love match for Roshni & Muhammad

My husband, Dr. Muhammad Nouh, (UCI Class of 2009) and I (Roshni Mehra, UCI Class of 2010) met back in 2006, when I was a freshman, through mutual friends on campus. For years we were just friends and by the end of college, we were such close friends that we were practically inseparable. In fact, we were still just friends in this photo from my graduation, but as soon as I graduated and moved away, we quickly realized there was something more we had found within our friendship and started dating about a month later.

It has been over 10.5 years since we started dating and we’re now happily married (but still best friends) and thank the UCI Admissions office every anniversary for bringing us together so many years ago.

Thank you, UCI :)

An enduring UCI romance

Met my wife over 30 years ago at UCI. We had our wedding reception at the faculty club.

At left, Julie, Roy and the Philadelphia skyline. At right, the early stages of a 30 year romance
Marriage at the University Club



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