By KJ Ryan / Social Media Coordinator/Photographer

In the fall, I began my last year at Hutchinson Community College. I wasn’t thinking much of it, as to me, it was just supposed to be another year.

Funny thing is, my adviser, Brad Hallier, said in newspaper class, “You may find your significant other in this newspaper class.”

But I’m not gonna fall in love or anything, right?

Anyhoo, I remember going to Brad’s classes with my best friend Jake Brown on the first day, and it was typical. We both acted pretty stupid, as expected, although the whole time I was thinking this girl who sat in front of me was pretty cute. After the second day of class, I remember leaving with Jake Brown to go get food and telling him that I thought this girl who sat in front of me, Emily Branson, was really cute.

Brown said, “Go for it, man.”

Well, I sure did. After that day, I started to try and talk to her, not with any intention of wanting to date her, but just to get to know her. I wanted to see if we could be friends first. We hit it off well.

Emily and I are both snarky idiots, so being around each other was amazing. She was so goofy and had a way to make every day interesting and a blast in class.

After a long while, maybe a month or so, I was thinking to myself, “How can I try and hang out with her?”

Luckily, I didn’t need to think because she asked me to go to the Kansas State Fair with her. I was nervous about that, as it was just a friend thing, but I was thinking to myself that it’s a decent probability she does like me, at least as a friend, so that’s good.

Anyway, the fair trip with Emily went well. I had a funnel cake for the first time, Emily went on the Ye Olde Mill for the first time, and we even went on the Ferris wheel together. After this, we became really comfortable with each other, I felt like I could talk to her about anything, she was just that easy to talk to.

Emily and I started bonding more in class and would get food after class basically everyday. At this time, I thought “You know, she doesn’t like me, and just wants to be friends,” which was fine for me.

At that point, she was my best friend, and I just wanted her to have a role in my life. But, other people, such as my friends, were always telling me different. I didn’t really know what I was doing, so I just winged it. Time went by, and one day Emily invited my friends and me over for a bonfire at her house. It was awesome. I got to meet her family and got to be around her while making s’mores.

Over time we would make time and hang out with each other. We eventually ended up discussing how we felt about each other, and by the grace of God, she actually liked me back.

So knowing that Emily felt the same way, there was something to do, right? Ask her to be my girlfriend.

Well, I had to meet the parents first. I’ll be honest, Emily had me scared to the bone. I was thinking there was going to be a lie detector test, good cop-bad cop, and all sorts of stuff.

It wasn’t like that. I was told that I had the blessing to date Emily. So, after we left her parents’ house, I asked her to be my first girlfriend ever. She surprisingly said yes.

That was nearly two months ago. I am the happiest and most confident I have ever been in my life. I truly believe that’s because of Emily. She’s really put me on the right track with my goals and being the best I can be. It’s amazing and I will always be grateful for her.

Read from Emily’s perspective:

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