back to top

A Student Asked Their Professor How You Know You're In Love, And His Touching Answer Has Gone Viral

"How can y'all ask your professors these personal questions. All my professors speed run through 6 chapters per lecture and ignore raised hands."

Posted on

Dan West, 51, is an assistant professor and the speech and debate coach at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. He's leading two large introductory sections in communications this fall.

On the last day of one of his sessions, which was called "Introduction to Human Communication," West opened up the class to allow students to ask him any questions pertaining to their latest unit: love and relationships.

All the questions were written on notecards and completely anonymous, he said, which meant some questions were quite specific and personal.

One of the questions he received and read aloud was, "How do you when you're in love?"

"It just hits you, you can’t expect it and you can’t plan for it," West responded in a simple answer.

Advertisement

Then, he used his own story of falling in love with his wife Vicki in 1993 as an anecdote.

Dan West

"We had just come from a movie and stopped by a grocery store so I could buy some food for the next day. We were looking at ice cream and as I watched her choosing I realized that I was going to be buying groceries with her for the rest of my life," he told the class.

He proposed shortly afterward, and the two got married in September of 1993.

Victoria Helmke, 19, was one of the students in the lecture that day. She told BuzzFeed News the entire room melted in a sea of "aww"s, and a lot of students started smiling.

Helmke herself was so touched by the story that she shared it online "because it was something that I knew would make people happy," she said. Her tweet has gone massively viral, with now more than 76,000 retweets.

Today somebody asked my professor how he knew he wanted to marry his wife & he said, “I took her to the grocery sto… https://t.co/BT4oxr4RTK

"Nowadays, so many marriages are failing simply because people are not being as appreciated 10 years down the road as they were before they had even begun dating," she said.

"Hearing things like this gives people a little bit of hope."

It's defrosted a lot of strangers' hearts on the internet.

My heart just melted I think. 😭 https://t.co/dmYerNFWA0

Not to be dramatic but I would literally die if someone said this about me https://t.co/3nz6aaG9wf

Advertisement

"There's something in both my eyes"

There's something in both my eyes https://t.co/ynB6QwKvVB

"Who's tryna grocery shop for the rest of your life w me?"

Who’s tryna grocery shop for the rest of your life w me? https://t.co/B0vrt5cr1S

Although there were also a handful of people who were completely unfazed.

Y'all lose your shit over legitimately everything https://t.co/fn9G9km9Ti

Some were astonished by how personal the course became, and how vulnerable the professor allowed himself to be.

How can y'all ask ur professors these personal questions all my professors speed run through 6 chapters per lecture… https://t.co/4OdnQIa5Fe

What college is this? Cause today my professor talked about how he was involved in an armed robbery.... https://t.co/b2L5igmyDV

"Somebody asked my professor what he ate for breakfast & he said 'stop asking me that every class it's weird.'"

Somebody asked my professor what he ate for breakfast & he said "stop asking me that every class it's weird" & that… https://t.co/ogreFPCwej

To this point, Professor West told BuzzFeed News he makes himself more accessible because he has so many students. His main goal as an educator is to inspire his students "to apply the theories and ideas in the course content to the reality of their own lives," he said.

He also understands how difficult forming relationships — romantic or platonic — has become for young people in today's climate. He said whatever technology or medium people are meeting each other on nowadays, he hopes they focus on spending real moments with each other.

Kimberly VanSistine

"Social media can make us feel more connected [than] we really are. If you are texting your significant other and you really want the relationship, it is so easy to read too much into simple text messages," he said.

"My advice is to keep the relationship as real as possible. And to give each other some electronic space. Knowing you are going to spend time together at night —

even if it is studying, or doing laundry, or even 'Netflix and chill' — [it] can be far more rewarding than hundreds of useless text messages."

Tanya Chen is a social news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in New York.

Contact Tanya Chen at tanya.chen@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

Promoted