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Penn State Love Stories: A Freshman-Year Crush

For many freshmen, a relationship isn’t exactly the first thing on their mind when entering college.

Moving away from home, joining new clubs, and the daunting task of even just trying to get to classes on time envelops the minds of most incoming freshmen. But when Chelsie Rimel laid eyes on Alex Stough for the first time during her first week at Penn State, it was love at first sight.

During her first semester of college, Rimel enjoyed the nightly routine of grabbing dinner with some of her friends from her dorm in West. Reaching out to an old high school friend who lived nearby allowed her to meet some of his friends and expand her social circle. Enter Stough.

“I wasn’t looking for a relationship,” Rimel said. “But when I saw Alex, I knew he was something special.”

Rimel began to crush on Stough from afar, attempting to give him subtle hints when they were at dinner each night by making sure to sit next to him and strike up a conversation. Though their friend group was large, the two students quickly found out they had the same professor for Econ 102. The shared class provided the perfect opportunity to spend time together outside of their circle of friends.

“Since he lived two floors below me, I would go to his dorm with questions about Econ and our homework assignments,” Rimel said. “I was an Econ major so I had a pretty good handle on the information, I just used it as an excuse to be around him.”

Soon after the start of their friendship, Stough began to return Chelsie’s hints. From sparking more one-on-one conversations to playfully throwing cereal at Rimel in the dining hall, it became obvious to his friends that Stough had a bit of a crush of his own.

“I know it sounds childish, but it’s like how little boys pretend to dislike a girl when they truly like her,” Rimel said. “Our friend group jokes that Alex’s first way of flirting with me was throwing Cracklin’ Oat Bran at me during our group dinners.”
(Photo: Chelsie Rimel)
(Photo: Chelsie Rimel)

As they began to hang out more away from their friend group, Rimel and Stough would often go on walks together around campus to take a break from the grind of studying. As their friendship deepened, their conversations moved from class-related discussions to laying out the dreams they had for their future. One evening, they even saw a shooting star while lying on Old Main Lawn. However, when it came to their feelings for each other, the right words never seemed to emerge. But on one October night, words changed everything.

After finishing up studying for an exam, Stough and Rimel decided to go on one of their routine walks despite the fact that it was already 3 a.m. When they passed Old Main, they decided to stop to sit on the ledge and enjoy the warmth of the unseasonably-warm weather. It was then that Stough turned to Rimel and finally changed their relationship forever.

“He put his arm around me and told me that he wanted to kiss me,” Rimel said. “We’ve been together ever since.”

For Rimel and Stough, Penn State brought four years of memorable experiences and growth as a couple. Rimel now attends law school at William & Mary while Stough works in Pittsburgh. Though their relationship is long distance for now, they know it will all be worth it in the end. From visiting each other whenever possible and even traveling back to their old home at Penn State, they find plenty of ways to spend time together.

“We made it a New Year’s tradition to be at State College,” Rimel said, “so I’m really looking forward to ringing in 2017 at my favorite place in the world with my favorite person.”

About the Author

Claire Fountas

Claire Fountas is the student life editor for Onward State, as well as a junior pursuing a double major in journalism and psychology. She lives in a suburb of Chicago and strongly disagrees with anyone who hates the Cubs or the Blackhawks (so, pretty much anyone at Penn State). You can follow her @ClaireFountas or email her at [email protected]

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