Only the luckiest of us are blessed with a connection so pure, it only grows stronger with time.
Amherst graduates Sylvie and Pedro matched via the Marriage Pact survey not one, not two, but three years after they started dating in December of their freshman year. Despite their starkly different backgrounds, the pair are undeniably aligned on their generosity, sincerity, and passion for civic engagement—values that have carried them through their time at Amherst and beyond.
I recently had the chance to speak with Sylvie and Pedro on separate calls, but the two were so in sync that their stories flowed together seamlessly.
We met in the first week of school, just in passing. Then it turned out we had overlapping friends, so about two months into school we ended up spending more time with each others friends and going to lots of the same parties. We are both double majoring and overlap in Econ, so we ended up having an Econ class together freshman year. We started dating that December.
Nearly three years later, Sylvie and Pedro separately filled out the Marriage Pact survey, expecting a stranger’s name to pop up in their inboxes. The result was far more exciting, to say the least.
I remember seeing the initials, and I was like, “Is that possible?” In some ways it made sense, but in others I was very surprised that the algorithm was able to sort through so many people and match us despite us having some different answers.
But his reaction was like, “Oh, obviously we matched.”
I genuinely didn’t think there was anyone else I could have matched with.
When we got the names for real, I was just like, “Oh my god. Clearly this algorithm is smarter than I thought.”
Sylvie’s initial surprise at the result was understandable, given their radically different upbringings.
We could not be from more different backgrounds. We’re literally from different parts of the world. I had a totally different upbringing than she did.
He was actually born in Venezuela, and I’m a Jewish atheist New Yorker. So right off the bat, there’s a difference in religion and language. There were some questions where I went, “Lol, he’s going to answer that differently than me.”
I think part of the reason that we get along so well despite that is that at our core, the things that we care about and value are the same. It makes it really easy to always be on the same page.
I think that our match email said we were aligned on monogamy, loyalty, and respect for yourself and others. I was like, “Wow, that is a really insightful survey.” Integrity and loyalty are definitely two of our biggest shared values. I really think those qualities make us compatible, in addition to our more practical shared interests.
Sylvie quickly dug through her inbox to pull up the match email.
Thursday, October 28, 2021. “You’re highly compatible along your conflict resolution style, your monogamous nature, and sociability, among other things.”
That’s… quite accurate.
Clearly, the algorithm picked up on the similarities that transcend deeper than surface level. Even when Sylvie and Pedro’s perspectives differ, they stem from the same core values—family and political engagement being some of the most salient.
I think one example of a difference we have was in the survey question about wanting your children to speak multiple languages. For Pedro, it’s super important that his children speak multiple languages since he speaks Spanish, whereas I’m like, “Yeah, it’d be nice.”
But obviously, if we were to have kids together, I’d want my children to be able to communicate with their extended family, so I’d care a lot more about them learning Spanish. So between the two of us, communication with family is the shared value there, not the specific language aspect itself.
We also overlap academically, but have slightly different focuses. We were both Econ majors. I work in finance now, and all my internships have been in finance. Sylvie doesn’t really strike me as a hardcore econ person, but she’s a very empathetic person, and she really cares about how people and organizations make decisions, which is a huge part of the field.
We were in the same class sophomore year called the “economics of migration.” I was interested because I myself am a political refugee, whereas Sylvie really cares about these global issues and how to address them. She genuinely cares about understanding this process that I was involved in, and I think that’s where we coincide.
I think political engagement is definitely an area where we’re aligned. Being from New York City, I’ve gone to so many marches and demonstrations and engaged with local politics. I also wrote my thesis on democracy and urban green spaces, so political engagement is something I’ve always been interested in.
And Pedro’s parents advocated for democratic leadership in Venezuela, which eventually led to him coming to America through political asylum. From a different origin but in the same way, we both care about our political representatives and the legal system. In general, caring about other people and the planet are values that we share.
Following graduation, Sylvie and Pedro had the chance to embark on a spectacular month-long trip across Spain, Italy, and France.
Madrid was one of my favorite cities. It was gorgeous. The architecture is stunning. The parks are incredible. The atmosphere is so relaxed, you can have dinner on a warm, breezy terrace at 10pm as the sun gradually sets.
We went to Mallorca after Madrid, which is this vacation island on the east side of Spain. It was just the most picturesque, calm, relaxing setting you could possibly imagine. The weather was absolutely beautiful. We spent a lot of time just casually relaxing and laying in the sun.
They remarked that their complementary skill sets came in handy when navigating foreign cities.
I think our skill sets complemented each other in so many different ways. The fact that I speak Spanish was key when we were moving around Spain. And she’s really meticulous about managing her time pretty well, so she was able to come up with a detailed itinerary.
I did all the planning and restaurant and AirBnB research, and he talked to all the waiters, AirBnb people, the cab drivers, ticket people, everything else. It was such a good skill set match, and such a beautiful setting. We spent the entire month walking between restaurants, museums, and parks. It was amazing.
As Pedro and Sylvie speak sincerely about each other’s strengths, it’s clear they have the utmost respect and admiration for one another.
There are so many things I admire about Pedro. I think the two biggest qualities of his that I admire are his drive and generosity.
I don’t know anyone as empathetic, and as thoughtful about other people, as Sylvie. She really goes above and beyond for the people that she cares about, and even people she doesn’t even know.
She recently organized a clothes drive for Ukrainian refugees landing in Manhattan. No one told her to do that. She just saw a need and sprang into action. I don’t know how many people would do that.
As they move forward into their respective careers, Pedro and Sylvie will continue to affirm and uplift one another through every new experience.
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