Campus Couple: Gabby and Joaquin

Gabby and Joaquin truly are relationship goals. As I interviewed them, I could see how much they genuinely love and respect each other. Gabby and Joaquin are both nineteen years old and from San Francisco, CA. They are both second-year students majoring in Psychological and Brain Sciences, with Gabby pursuing a double major in History and Joaquin in Sociology. They have been together for three years and one month, which is even more impressive when you consider that this is the first relationship they've ever been in. Get ready for your heart to melt because when I heard their story, mine sure did.

How did you meet?

Gabby: In junior year of high school, we were in the same history class and I always thought he was kind of cute. I invited him to a Google Doc so we could share notes because I thought he was really smart. It just went forward from there. We started talking and had a lot in common.

Joaquin: It’s funny because in the beginning of the first semester, we didn’t even know each other. We didn’t know each other existed. I got surprised because she sent me a Facebook friend request. I thought, “Oh, she seemed like a nice person.” We just started talking and from there she invited me to the Doc and kind of started flirting without knowing.

Gabby: We were in the same group for school because our last names were right next to each other. When we got in our groups, he would just talk the whole time. I can’t say anything because this dude’s saying everything so I don’t have anything else to say. That’s why I thought this guy’s smart, and I really admire that about him.

What was the first thing you noticed about each other?

Gabby: His intelligence.

Joaquin: Her kindness. Since I was “unconsciously flirting,” I saw that she was flirting so I thought maybe there’s something here. I just thought this was worth a shot. I had never had a girlfriend before. Why not?

What is your advice for trying to maintain a relationship in college?

Joaquin: It helps that you’re going to the same University because there’s no distance. We told each other to not let our relationship interfere with our University choice. But we understand that if we’re together we have to share some common interests, so that led us to coming to the same University. We vowed to not let our relationship interfere with our studies. Rather, we let our relationship strengthen our studies. We study together, talk, and we get good grades. But it’s because we have this trust together and we both know that we are capable of doing well. Trust is key in a relationship.

Gabby: It’s about not being afraid to open up to each other. When we let our guard down and when we share our honest thoughts about how we’re feeling, I think that really strengthens our relationship. There were times where we did fight and we had tears rolling down our eyes. They were really bad fights. We just sat down and talked and it changed everything. We were able to figure out that this is my problem and I held it from you. Once we were honest to each other, that really helped our relationship and strengthened it.

What is your favorite thing about each other?

Joaquin: She’s so smart and dedicated. I admire her for that. Sometimes she comes to me and tells me, “Oh my god, you’re so smart. I can’t even get to your level.” I personally don’t believe I’m smart. Also, her tenacity and ambition. How tenacious she is but at the same time how kind she is. That combination and how much she cares is really what I admire. That’s what I love about her more than anything else.

Gabby: The best quality I love about Joaquin is he’s very humble. You just heard him say that “I don’t think I’m smart,” but I think he’s one of the smartest people that I know and he’s very kind. We’re taking the same classes because we’re the same major, but he’s very cautious because I am very ambitious. I hate it when someone says I got a better grade than you. So he’s very cautious when he tells me, “I got a 43 and I know you got a 42.”

Joaquin: Sometimes I don’t tell her.

Gabby: Yeah, that’s how sensitive and humble he is. He’s not willing to brag about his accomplishments even though he has a lot of them. He’s very humble and that’s what I love about him.

What is your favorite memory together?

Joaquin: This is gonna be a tough question. There’s just so many.

Gabby: I would say our first date together. It was raining that day and we almost canceled it. It was a very simple date.

Joaquin: It was at Starbucks.

Gabby: But that’s what was really memorable about it. We went to such a simple place that everyone goes to. You wouldn’t think a first date at Starbucks, like what? But it was the simplicity of it and we just talked. That was such an intimate moment because I got to know him a little bit better. I really enjoyed the walk to Starbucks because it was raining and we were under the same umbrella. I thought it was a romantic gesture how he was making sure I was underneath the umbrella.

Joaquin: My favorite memory together is when we weren’t technically together. She actually messaged me saying “I’m interested and I like you,” basically. I had never experienced something like that before, so I was excited. Like wow, what is this? Just having that feeling is something that I’ve never felt before and I don’t think I’ll ever feel again.

[Gabby and I freak out a little bit] 

Gabby: I’m blushing, too.

If you could plan the perfect day for you and your partner, and money was no object, what would you do for each other?

Joaquin: Just every day. There doesn’t need to be a special time or location for me to enjoy my time with her. It could be the library, the grocery store, the movie theater. It could be Disneyland. It could be the most expensive restaurant on earth. Just being with her and knowing that I have someone to talk to. Knowing that she can understand me is what’s special about the moment.

Gabby: Oh my god. That just struck me deep. [Gabby and I freak out again] I didn’t think about that. I just realized that whenever we do go on a date, we could be just eating at McDonald’s...

Joaquin: We have before.

Gabby: We make the most of it and we make it seem like every day we’re trying to out-do the last date. It doesn’t matter where we are. I agree there isn’t a perfect date, just as long as we’re together then that’s the perfect date-- the time we’re spending with one another.

[Gabby and Joaquin laugh about how cheesy those answers were]

What makes your relationship work?

Gabby: I think what made our relationship work is that we went to the same university, but it’s not because we decided on it. We use each other in terms of our academic needs and emotional needs. I always came to him when I was stressed and that strengthened our relationship a lot. Like when I told him, “I don’t like when you do this type of thing.” There was that one conversation where I told him, “I hate it when you share your grades.” Even though we’ve been together for three years, there’s still some things we don’t know about each other that we discover through these conversations that we have. I think a relationship should be like a team. That’s why when we study, we split up who’s doing what. It’s like teamwork. It shouldn’t be like one-sided. It has to be mutual.

Joaquin: I would say trust. Trust and understanding that either of us is gonna have our ups and downs. Just trusting each other and knowing there’s a foundation to rely on whenever it gets low. Knowing that it’ll get better eventually and these things will pass. If you let one of these problems get to you, then you might be missing out on something that could be really special. I always think about that looking toward the future, I want to be that couple when someone asks “How did you meet?” “Oh, we were high school sweethearts.” Twenty, thirty years later.

Images courtesy of Gabby and Joaquin