Excelling At Love

Alice and James Bayes-Dickerson look back on their time at the University of Reading with fondness, as the couple – who are recently married – might not be together if it hadn’t been for one Excel project.

Alice and James met in 2018 at the University of Reading, before getting engaged in 2021 and married in October 2023. Here, they speak to CONNECTED about where it all started for them.

James said: “I met Alice at the University where we were both studying Maths degrees. We met in our second year and got to know each other properly when we partnered up on a coursework project together. The project would have started around October-time, a few weeks from the start of the university year, give or take.”

Alice explained: “I asked James to partner up with me on this project because it was to do with Excel spreadsheets and we had to do an explanation of our work. I thought that James would be good at the technical skills and I would be good at the explanation, and our skills would complement each other’s. Our friends had already paired up, so it just made sense that we did as well.”

During their time spent poring over Excel spreadsheets, their feelings for each other began to develop. James said:

“Over the course of the project we realised we had a crush on each other. It turned out that we both messaged mutual friends about our crushes at the same time – to the same mutual friends! That always gives us a chuckle when we look back.

“Eventually, Alice requested that we talk in an empty Maths room, which I’ll always remember – room 304 in the JJ Thomson Building – and we decided to try a relationship. We judge the 2nd of December 2018 to be our ‘first date’ and roughly a week or so later we were quite comfortably in a relationship.”

James and Alice’s relationship went from strength to strength and five years later they are now happily married.

Alice said: “After we got engaged, we even messaged one or two of our old lecturers about it whom we’re still in touch with. We joked with the one who oversaw the Excel project’s module that she’s the reason we ended up together!

“It’s true though really, we may never have gotten to know each other properly if not for that coursework, and certainly if not for the University.”

Did you find love at the University of Reading? Share your story with us, or read some more UoR Love Stories here.