Classroom Enemies Turned Soulmates
How Random Fate and a Birthday Coincidence Changed Everything!
This week's Love Letter couple showed up to business school expecting to walk away with an MBA. On their very first day, they found their soulmate.
Kevin and Cori met during orientation at the Duke Fuqua School of Business. Random chance placed them next to each other during introductions and set in motion a chain of events that would result in an engagement by the end of their tenure in North Carolina.
These Blue Devils met a little over two years ago, but say they feel like they've known each other so much longer. Read on to learn about the coincidence that started it all, their early trouble as study partners, and their one-of-a-kind engagement.
How did you meet?
Kevin: We met July 28 2021. That was the first day of our MBA program at the Duke Fuqua School of Business. The first day was orientation. We went around the room at random, and folks were asked to introduce themselves. And Cori was called on, and while she was introducing herself someone yelled out “it’s her birthday tomorrow!”
Cori: We had assigned seats, and Kevin was in the seat right in front of me. And he turned around and said “it's my birthday tomorrow, too!”
Kevin: I thought there was no way this girl had the same birthday as me.
Cori: It was the same month, date and year. And it gets crazier: out of a group of 450 people, we got assigned the same study group of seven people to do all of our work with. We have very different styles of learning, so we couldn't stand each other for two months. We couldn’t work together. It was terrible.
Kevin: I thought she was a know-it-all. Super smart. And I was, to be fair, pretty passive with the work. I wasn’t the biggest contributor to the schoolwork. But that summer went by and we worked together and got to know each other as classmates. I think both of us didn't think much at the moment. But as fate would have it, a couple of months would go by and we would start spending more time with each other. And that's when I think we realized–
Cori: We became friends, and then we became more than friends. And then two years later, the last day of school, we got engaged!
Wow. So you met on the first day of school, and got engaged on the last?
Cori: Yeah. We got engaged at the bar that everybody hangs out in. It was where we had our first date.
Kevin: The last week of school, I concocted my plan. We had been talking about taking the next step, and I thought what better way to do it than to propose at a place that means a lot to us both? So I proposed to her at a place called Dain’s.
Cori: He had all of our friends and family hiding in a storage room in the back. It became a big party after. The owner didn’t want it to happen, but it was the first time Dain's shut down the bar completely to outside people. So we showed up and nobody's in there, and then it all happens and there’s this big party. There are pictures hanging on the wall of the bar now.
Kevin: This was the place where our story really began and flourished. I think a big piece of the story is a Duke story. But it's also just kind of fate and randomness. If you did the math of the odds of two people with the same month, day and year birthday ending up at the same place at the same time, it's just statistically very strange.
How much of a factor do you think timing plays in a relationship?
Kevin: I’ve known Cori, on paper, for just a little over two years. But it feels like a lifetime because we've done things together that I think we haven't done in other relationships, whether it's traveling the world or just being in the trenches of the highs and lows. I feel like time for us has been in hyperdrive. Two years for us feels like five-plus years.
Cori: I'm not someone who believes in fate or anything like that. I think it’s just wild, wild coincides over and over again. But I do think there’s something really beautiful about it all. I think if we’d met three years earlier or three years later it would’ve been very different. We were in a good spot with everything else in our lives when we met. It was definitely serendipitous.
Kevin: The day we met we were both 27. The next day, we were 28. I think that late-20s, early 30s era is a big inflection point in a lot of people’s lives.
To outside family or people who don’t know me very well, knowing someone for a year and a half and then proposing may seem crazy. But I feel like this is the right thing. And I wouldn’t want to have it any other way.
What’s your take on building a friendship before dating?
Cori: I think I understand him better than I would otherwise. Understanding how he thinks in terms of schoolwork or how he approaches an assignment actually does give you a lot of insight into somebody and lets you understand them in a different way and appreciate them, because it's not clouded by all these other thoughts and perspectives. And I think it probably created a much better base for our relationship.
What does the future hold for you?
Cori: Right now I’m in Austin and he’s in Charlotte. The goal is for me to move to Charlotte soon. We’ve started planning our wedding. We’re gonna get married at Duke! The full circle continues. We both have high stress jobs right now, but that’ll mellow in two years. So we’re both supporting each other through the next two years and then we’ll go from there.
Kevin: Definitely the next step is being in the same place. Then the second step is getting married and the third step is figuring out what city we want to be in. And then hopefully from there have little Cori and Kevins running around.
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Interviewed and transcribed by Nicolas Vega. This interview has been edited for length and clarity