Students are often advised to make friends in their classes to survive the semester. Some may even find more than a study buddy and form a romantic relationship with a colleague, but does this tactic help when it comes to academic performance?
Cal State Fullerton alumni Ashley Williams and Nick Hernandez are a testament to how well being a couple that studies together can work.
Williams graduated Spring 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and Hernandez graduated January 2017 with a B.A. in business administration management. The two said they began their almost three-year relationship after meeting each other in Accounting 201A.
The pair were randomly assigned to the same group by their professor and shortly after, they discovered their schedules were very similar. They also shared the same economy class.
“We just started noticing that every time after econ we were all going to lunch,” Williams said.
The couple was initially hesitant to turn their friendship into a relationship. They were confused and unclear of their feelings for one another. It took some time for the two to start seeing each other romantically.
“(Having similar majors) helped because we could always ask each other for help, because she’s really smart,” Hernandez said. “We actually were in the same classes … but that semester was a struggle, it was actually the first time I didn’t pass a class.”
It was difficult at first for the two to adjust their lives around their relationship and keeping school a priority. By the next semester, they were out of the honeymoon phase and being a couple became more normal.
“It helped though, because we were taking the same classes for the most part,” Williams said. “And if he took one before me, it was nice.”
Hernandez said it’s nice dating a person who is in the same major. He was unable to share a common ground with his previous girlfriend like he does with Williams.
After graduation, Williams moved in with Hernandez and his family in Orange instead of returning to her hometown in San Diego. After celebrating graduation together, both now have jobs within their concentrations.
Coupling up with a study buddy doesn’t work for everyone, however. Third year accounting major Brandon Remedios met fourth year public administration major Kerissa Gomez prior to attending CSUF. The transfer students met through a mutual friend and have been together for almost two years. Due to their different majors, Remedios and Gomez have never had a class together.
“We schedule our classes at the same time and then we have the same breaks, so we eat breakfast together every morning,” Remedios said.
Gomez transferred to CSUF after learning about the school from Remedios, who joined her shortly after. Gomez’s experience has been helpful to Remedios since it is his first semester as a Titan.
“She’s been here way longer than me, so she showed me the whole campus,” Remedios said
The couple relies on taking classes the same days as each other. Since they both work and live far from one another (Remedios in La Mirada and Gomez in Costa Mesa), it’s difficult to spend time together if they have classes on opposite days.
The advantages Remedios and Gomez have been able to gain from coupling up aren’t common for all couples. Fourth-year sociology major Emily Flynn and boyfriend, fifth-year psychology major Tim Grisham, have learned they are oil and water when it comes to the classroom.
“We’ve taken classes together and we just learn so differently that it doesn’t work and we end up getting in fights if we’re in classes together,” Flynn said. “I’m more of a group person. I want to study with other people… For him, he’s such a solo worker. He just wants to go home and read the book.”
Flynn and Grisham are high school sweethearts and have been together for over four years. The Redland natives maintain busy schedules that consist of school and work and though they are both Titans, it’s rare to find them together on campus.
“It was hard the first semester,” Grisham said.
The two have opposite academic preferences. Grisham enjoys night classes, while Flynn schedules her day around work in the mornings and classes throughout afternoons. Flynn has come to accept this truth and admits she is Grisham’s personal academic advisor since she schedules his classes for him.
Finding time for each other did not always come naturally to Flynn and Grisham. Factors like living off-campus and living with a roommate were obstacles the pair had to learn to overcome.
“Now we’ve gotten in like a groove of things. I think it works,” Flynn said.
For those thinking about taking a friendship with a study partner to the next level, Williams and Hernandez recommend not being afraid.
“Go for it,” Hernandez said.“I only know from our experience that it worked out really well.”