Michigan State alumnae Allison Van Ee and Lauren Tofilski's friendship began under somewhat unusual circumstances in 2018, only to blossom into something deeper.
Their love story started in the halls of West Shaw during their sophomore year when transfer student Tofilski's roommate didn't show up and Van Ee had a language barrier with hers. After an open-door night, they moved in together.
Two weeks later, their bond grew over sitting and watching Game of Thrones every night, eating dinner together, hanging out with their friend. Soon all of this stemmed into more at the end of September.
"It was one of those things where I had no idea about my sexuality whatsoever, I only ever really dated guys" Tofilski said. "When I first met Allison, I'd tell her all the time (that) the second she walked through the door, it was immediate attraction and I was super confused.”
Tofilski said she definitely showed an interest first. She recalled how she thought Van Ee was a beautiful person on the outside but she didn’t know her inside yet. Her plan was to start out as friends and it just grew from there.
Van Ee’s main goal sophomore year was to focus on school and not think about a relationship. However, when her and Tofilski started dating, Van Ee actually saw improvement within her schoolwork.
“It made school actually so much better," Van Ee said. "I had someone to push me to do better in my studies and I started getting better grades since we started dating. So it definitely was an improvement for me."
According to Tofilski, the two began dating officially Sept. 28, 2018.
“We definitely pushed each other and we made our grades better and we took the time to study. We went to the library all the time and we made it work,” Tofilski said.
And then came the best part.
For the proposal, Van Ee got up at three in the morning to paint The Rock, which ended up being a big and super special surprise for Tofilski who said she hadn’t seen anything so special directed towards someone so personally on The Rock before.
Van Ee had taken a blindfolded Tofilski on a walk down the memory lane. They went through their favorite spots on campus such as Lot 91, where they would park after Tofilski picked up Van Ee from her club's softball practice.
“We got to know each other through that — taking the time to get to know each other's worries, what we want to do and our families,” Tofilski said. “It was more like building our friendship and those times were super important to us.”
The couple said they did all of this while jamming out to Demi Lovato’s "Hitchhiker" in the car. It was a time where they were able to get to know each other without phones and other distractions.
Van Ee’s favorite memory was following Tofilski to her classes in order to avoid her own.
They also stopped at the library as they both worked there and did a lot of study sessions. They stopped at the police station where they worked for parking. After a few more spots, the final destination was The Rock where Tofilski took off her blindfold and Van Ee proposed.
Van Ee said she painted The Rock for Tofilski because she thought it would be the perfect way to conclude their journey as students at MSU. The university was where they met so it held a lot of importance.
“It was just really, really cool to tie our experience of MSU together, like having a beginning and an end,” Tofilski said.
The two believe that with MSU and with all the circumstances that fell into place, they were able to meet and fall in love.
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They plan on getting married Sept. 28, the same date they started dating three years ago.
The two plan to move down to Florida in February or March, so they can start their lives down there and think about having kids in a few years.
Tofilski said that in order to trust each other you have to communicate well and in order to continuously love each other and still be in love, it requires a lot of communication: letting each other know what you want and what you need.
The ongoing global pandemic has made their relationship stronger since they work less and just do school at home where they spend more quality time together. Date nights are a little bit harder as they are unable to go out and need to be creative but spending time together has been a major benefit.
As the couple looks forward to spending their future together, Tofilski encourages other MSU couples to paint The Rock with their love.
“Whoever wants to do this idea next, do it because it was insanely cool," Tofilski said. "It’s just a really cool way to unite MSU students and MSU in general."
This article is part of the Restricted Romance print issue. Read the entire issue here.
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