It’s mid-February. And on supermarket shelves, the red and green of a now-distant holiday has been displaced by swaths of pink hearts and cheery cherubs. Ready or not, Valentine’s Day is here.
Looking for love? There’s an app for that.
Their first few interactions at BCIT were decidedly awkward. But when Stephanie Ly spied Jesse Livingston on the dating app Bumble, she couldn’t resist swiping right. Stephanie is currently working towards her Project Management Associate Certificate at BCIT. Jesse has completed Level 2 of BCIT’s Harmonized Carpentry Apprenticeship program.
Was it love at first sight?
Stephanie: Well, I used to work at the Test Centre in NE1, and I’d see Jesse three times a week when he came in for exams. I tried to make conversation, but he’d never respond.
Jesse: I didn’t want to chance getting kicked out for talking too much during tests (laughs)! Three weeks after I finish my course, she sees me on Bumble and asks me if I remembered her as the Test Centre Lady!
What attracted you to each other?
Stephanie: Jesse’s sweet and sensitive and a really empathetic human being. I told him I love Annie’s Macaroni & Cheese. So on our second date, we go snowshoeing—and he surprises me by taking out his camping stove and making some for me at the top of the trail!
Jesse: Stephanie’s very goal-driven, and I find that attractive. She’s unbelievably caring. And very passionate about everything, especially politics and neuroscience. Previous to meeting her, I’d never had a conversation on either of those topics.
How do you support each other in your careers?
Stephanie: We give each other space. He’s an apprentice carpenter and works long days. I take project management courses and am now an admin coordinator with the Specialty Nursing department at BCIT. It’s an inspiring place to work and be a student. They put a lot of value and investment on learning for all.
Jesse: My company is sponsoring me for the carpentry program at BCIT. I plan to go back in April for another 7 weeks. Stephanie understands that the goal I’m working towards has quite a bit of potential, and she doesn’t hold it against me when we can’t see each other. We’re both pursuing better futures and know there are benefits at the end of it.
How do you keep things interesting?
Jesse: The secret is to keep things fresh. Our relationship revolves around food, and we’re always trying new things. When we visit places, we’ll stop in at the bakery, cheese maker, butcher, or fisherman at the wharf to grab stuff.
Stephanie: We love picnics and we love noodles. So for Valentine’s Day, we’re buying a bunch of the weirdest instant noodles we can find, driving somewhere with a view, and pigging out!
It’s obvious these two know the fastest way to the heart is through the stomach.
From study partners… to partners in life
Things might get old fast for other couples who see each other in class every day and spend all their free time studying together. Thankfully, for alumni Laura Evans and Trent Berger, who took BCIT’s Architectural and Building Engineering Technology (ABET) and Construction Management programs together, familiarity breeds attraction.
How did you meet?
Laura: The day Trent chose to talk to me, I was really sick. I’d been on IV. My throat was so sore I couldn’t say anything. I’d come in just for the exam.
Trent: I was wondering at the lack of response (laughs). So I started offering her rides home from class even though it was totally out of my way. She didn’t know it, but I used to sit at the back of the lecture hall and always had a view of Laura sitting there next to her friends, in her cute little toque!
Favourite on-campus hangout as a couple?
Trent: I made it a point to book a study room in the ehPod for some privacy. We were in the same set our second year and ended up spending a lot of time together in class and studying, so things developed naturally.
What was it like dating at BCIT?
Laura: He asked me out right before midterm. By this point I was interested, but there was no way I wanted to worry about dating while exams were happening. So we waited until they were over. After that, we were together every day.
Trent: We have so much in common from attending BCIT together. I can talk to her about work and she gets it. A lot of people aren’t lucky enough to have this type of dynamic. Now we both work nearby and just bought a house across from BCIT. We still go to alumni mixers, and I help BCIT students find jobs at my company. It’s like we never left!
How do you support each other in your careers?
Trent: Laura prompted me to go after my job with Scott Construction, right out of BCIT. She introduced me to a contact there from her set. Laura’s been a very positive force in my life and critical in my success.
Laura: Trent’s gotten a lot of promotions in last three years at his company. I always try to be supportive. He was supportive of me moving jobs [from the District of West Vancouver to the City of Burnaby].
Best thing about each other?
Trent: Everyone has a certain perfect person in their head. Laura is that for me. Cute, soft spoken, very intelligent.
Laura: Trent’s a very friendly guy and very supportive. He makes me laugh and goes above and beyond for me. He’s a good partner—at BCIT and in life! I feel I’ve won the lottery in guys.
We saw what you did there, Laura, and we love it!