Should you date your GSI?

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It is indeed discouraging to be staring at what appears to be a colossal train wreck, only to realize that you’ve been looking out onto the history of your love life over the past couple of years.

Berkeley was supposed to be your time to sweep people off their feet with your immaculate way of dress, your politically oriented humor and your rather impressive knowledge of Scandinavian languages — except for the fact that the last person you tried to chat up thought you were an overdressed Democrat-hating businessperson who was having difficulty forming coherent speech. However, you’re the romantic that thrived off the poetry that was force-fed to you in high school — you still have hope for love at first sight. And while you were staring off into the distance during discussion, the glowing grass of Memorial Glade inducing a dreamy look on your face, you made eye contact with your rather cute GSI for the first time.

If you did somehow manage to woo that GSI who conveniently happened to have studied abroad in Scandinavia and was one of the three Republicans on campus, you might think you have it good. That is, until you ask them to do something — anything — for you. Having to manage hundreds of undergraduates over a semester has a way of making someone a wee bit controlling, through no fault of their own. And they’ll likely resent doing a favor for you when they’re accustomed to using their seniority to achieve their heart’s desire — which might not be you after all.

But don’t give up just yet! At least get dinner together first. Be warned though: When you want to go out to eat at your favorite place (Cafe 3), they’ll demand for you to show your work and claim that data show that Crossroads is definitively the better option. But once you break down crying about the adorably comfortable seating arrangements at the cafe, the motivational speech that they’ve crafted and perfected during office hours will be all but escaping the confines of their mouth. It’s amazing how much a good pep talk can do for you, especially when those dulcet tones have already been tested on failing students.

If you think you’ve seen enough of the first few letters of the alphabet while you’re on campus — hopefully not many of the C, D and F variety — be on the lookout for being graded during dates. Bringing flowers would likely earn you full points, whereas not reaching for the check within 2.5 seconds may barely get you partial credit. But availing every extra credit possibility (pulling out the chair and holding the door are good starts) might make them more partial to your grade in the classroom.

If you saw something special in your GSI, he or she is likely the heartthrob of the entire section as well. If you want to keep your mutual affection low-key, you’ll have to deal with other people hitting on your significant other, especially when he or she is locked in a room with a bunch of still possibly hormonal 18 year-olds in the dungeons of Etcheverry for several hours a day. And if you do happen to proclaim your love from the top of the Campanile, you’ll be the butt of every teacher-student joke and innuendo that your friends can come up with. We’d recommend reminding them that they had a crush on your GSI at one point as well.

Snapping back to reality, your GSI thought you weren’t paying attention and just asked you a question you didn’t really hear, but that fleeting look had to mean something, right? Though having your GSI as your potential soul mate seems to have tough sides to it, remember that it’ll always give you a leg up — in some cases, more literally than figuratively — in and out of discussion. But please, keep the literal stuff out of the classroom.

Image source: Marv Films under Creative Commons

Contact Uday Mehta at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @mehtakid