I don’t know if I believe in luck, destiny, or fate, but after talking to Amherst sophomores Ivy and Vaughn, I’ve certainly started to consider it.
I chatted with the couple as they sat together in Ivy’s dorm room to recount the details of their relationship. An Environmental Studies and Economics major and a pre-med Psychology major respectively, Ivy and Vaughn knew each other through friends and always said hi whenever they saw each other throughout their freshman year.
Vaughn: The first time we met, I was walking to the dining hall, and I think at that point I already knew some of your friends. I think I introduced myself, and you said your name was Ivy. I just remember saying that you have a really pretty name, and I remember thinking that she was really pretty and that I was being really awkward.
Ivy: I guess I was walking from the dining hall and you were walking there and just… you were so cute. And you had such a nice smile. And then when I said my name is Ivy and you said, “Oh, that's a really cool name,” or something, I was shocked. First of all, I thought, “That's so nice! That's such a nice compliment to give someone.” And then I was like, “You have a cool name!” So from the very start, I knew that he was a really nice guy. Didn’t mind the way you look, either.
As it happens, the two began to talk just before the Marriage Pact returned to Amherst the following year. Neither of them took the survey expecting anything to come out of it: Vaughn was taking it for the first time for the interesting questions, while Ivy was filling out her second questionnaire with her friends, same as last year.
Vaughn: The first time we hung out was before the Marriage Pact. I was playing Frisbee and one of my teammates hit me in the face with it, so I had a black eye. So, my initial excuse for coming over was that she had an ice pack. The Marriage Pact was right after that.
Ivy: In the first few days before the Marriage Pact results came out, I was already texting my friends about him like, “Oh my gosh, we just hung out and talked for hours, he’s such a sweet guy… he really could be the one.” At that point, I wasn’t excited for the Marriage Pact anymore because the odds of me getting him are nothing, and I felt like I’d already found my person. So when I got his initials, I was kind of in disbelief.
Vaughn: I remember getting the email and being in complete shock. I figured it was Ivy, but because we’d already started talking and because I already liked her so much, I figured someone on the inside… I don’t know. I just sat there and was like wow, we really matched together.
If Ivy and Vaughn’s 98% match—and the fact they were interested in each other beforehand—wasn’t enough to convince them that they were meant to be, then this might:
Ivy: I didn't always live in this room. Three weeks into the school year, I moved to this room kind of randomly—housing assigned me this room. The first time I like snapchatted him was because I saw his name on the door next to mine and I was like, “Oh my gosh, we're neighbors!” So I feel like if the universe made us neighbors and we didn't get together, that's one thing, but then if the universe made us neighbors and then while we were considering getting together made us Marriage Pacts matches… it was like, okay, okay. We get the message.
Vaughn: I was thinking about that, and it really worked out doubly, right? It’s not only that we were each other’s Marriage Pacts that early on, but there could have been just two other random people in these rooms.
Beyond the coincidences that have led them to this point, the two believe their similar outlooks on life are a driving force behind their obvious compatibility.
Ivy: One of the things Vaughn likes to say is that we both like to like things. We’re generally both really positive people, and we have super similar work ethics, which I think in college especially is really important. Both of us understand that if one of us is stressed about work or doing homework, the other will sit and do work with them. I think we both understand each other really well, despite not really having any classes that overlap. We don’t play the same sports or are in any clubs together or anything. It's just… we just like doing life together.
Vaughn: I totally agree with that. What Ivy said about liking to like things, I feel like so many people enjoy being negative about certain things, or they go into something and they sort of want to dislike it, but I feel like we actively dislike not liking things. We both go into everything really trying to have fun with it. We’re very positive people, and I think that's why we work so well together. I also think that with work ethic, we both feed off each other and we're very supportive. We both can get very stressed out about certain things with school, and I think we can relate to each other in that way.
One of the first times the pair’s compatibility really stood out to Ivy was when they were making plans to do a nearby hike. Ivy had mentioned offhandedly that it would be fun to do together, and without another word, Vaughn created a shared note called “Ivy and Vaughn’s List of Future Adventures”.
Ivy: I love lists. I love lists and planning things. I need a one-year plan, a five-year plan, a ten-minute plan, any kind of plan, and he lives in his notes app. I feel like twice a week or so I get a shared note from you.
Vaughn: Sometimes we’ll be debating things like which dining hall or which desserts are the best, or we’re rating kinds of apples. And sometimes it’s for planning out future trips we’ll go on and stuff like that. I don’t know, I like making lists, that’s just how my brain works. I really like that that’s what we go with.
The two aren’t constant compatibility all the time (though from my brief look into their relationship, they’re just about there). Some differences include their general neatness, tendencies to hoard dining hall utensils (by Ivy’s count, Vaughn’s got upwards of 80 knives, though he insists it’s closer to 20), and their music tastes, the latter of which the couple is working on with a shared playlist of songs they both like.
It’s absolutely fair to say that the Marriage Pact was not the only thing that brought Ivy and Vaughn together, but a little bit of reassurance early on in a relationship certainly doesn’t hurt.
Vaughn: The way that I like to look at it is I think we always would have been together, but I think that there were a bunch of things that sort of led us to that point. I think that being neighbors is one of those things, Marriage Pact is one of those things, but I like to think that me and Ivy would have always found each other in some way. It’s just this made it a little easier and maybe it made it happen quicker.
Ivy: In the beginning, too, it gave us an extra reassurance, because I feel like when you’re first talking with someone, you’re kind of trying to assess how they feel about this or that, all the sort of things that the Marriage Pact is designed to get at that are hard to tease out of earlier conversations. Even though we did talk about a lot of that stuff, and I definitely felt that we were compatible before we got our Marriage Pact results, I think that it just made me even more sure.
Vaughn: It was a really good icebreaker. It made the beginning a lot easier, maybe more natural.
Ivy and Vaughn have big plans ahead of them as they look forward to the rest of their college careers—including a road trip across the U.S. national parks before Vaughn heads to medical school.
There’s little else I can say to describe the love and joy between these two that they couldn’t say better themselves, so I’ll let them do just that:
Ivy: I love so many things about you, but admiration is a very specific feeling… I really admire how you treat other people. You’re so kind and open to everyone, seeing you interact with people you don't know, or even just my friends… that's probably one of the biggest things I admire about you—just how you treat other people. But then, similar to what we talked about earlier, us having a common outlook on life, I feel like he's very positive. His phrase that he lives by is “every cloud has a silver lining,” so on one of his water bottles, it says “every cloud” and I think that really speaks to who you are as a person.
Vaughn: I think probably my favorite thing about you is just how compassionate you are. It's really shocking sometimes. You’re so patient, you just have so much love to give, and when I'm stressed out, just how sweet she is and how she takes care of me in those moments. I never feel like you want to be somewhere else. I feel like she has that same compassion for a lot of things she does—she's like an eco rep for school, and she started that program. She cares about the environment in the same way. I think you're just so passionate about so many things. She’s actually the smartest person I’ve ever met. You put that same passion toward your future and into your schoolwork. In everything you do, you just give everything.