CLAIRE LAIZANS (WILSON), B Arts/B Law (Hons) ’14 and MITCHELL LAIZANS, B Arts/B Asia-Pacific Studies ’13 have been inseparable since toasting marshmallows over a bonfire. Here’s how their love story unfolded:
I first met Claire in our first semester at ANU in 2010. We were sat across from one another in a tutorial for "Introduction to International Relations" in the Haydon-Allen Building.
I remember being struck by her as a model student – one of those superhuman Arts/Law students with stratospheric university entrance scores. At every tutorial she was impeccably prepared with typed notes on her laptop and occasionally a dog-eared law textbook.
It wasn't until the following year at a mutual friend's bonfire party that things took off. Claire confessed to me that her laptop was just for show – she rarely had any notes typed for that course. Aside from this small confession, I did quickly realise that she was one of the hardest working people I had ever met. We toasted marshmallows in the fire and didn’t talk to anyone else all night.
We spent the next few years studying together in Chifley Library, proofreading each other’s essays and planning future travels. During this time, we did quickly learn that we should try to steer clear of choosing the same essay topic or even the same course. As I often said to Claire, it is difficult to come up with a unique essay when you had already proofread someone else’s – and she was always finished drafting before me!
Things moved quickly from there and by Claire's final year at ANU, we had moved into a townhouse in north Canberra. I proposed a year later, at the end of Claire's first week at her graduate job at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. I had just finished my graduate year at the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service and we felt that, after surviving studying at the same time and landing grad jobs, we made a pretty good team.
In December 2016 we moved to London for our careers, and have never been happier. I work for the UK Civil Service and Claire for a legal not-for-profit.
Mitchell and I met in our first year at ANU, in 2010. I was studying Arts/Law and he was doing Arts/Asian Studies.
In second semester, we shared an ‘Introduction to International Relations’ tutorial.
At the time, I just knew him as the boy who had all the answers and had clearly done the reading. We have talked about it since, and apparently he thought I always knew what I was talking about because at the start of every tutorial, I would sit down, turn on my laptop and put my glasses on.
I have since confessed that the screen was always blank because I had never done the readings – it was pure bluff!
It wasn’t until our second year that we got together.
This time we shared a European Union course. Just before handing in our final essays, we coincidently attended the same 21st birthday bonfire. Mitchell, who was wearing an ANU hoodie at the time, toasted me a marshmallow on a stick and promised to send notes for the essay.
We had our first official date at a coffee shop on campus a week later and since that time have been inseparable.
We spent the next three years at uni together, studying next to each other. I don’t think I ever would have gotten through it without Mitchell. He was endlessly supportive as I discussed essay structures and exam questions for hours on end. I was also in awe of his ability to make sense of the readings I just couldn’t make sense of – all while learning to speak Japanese!
We moved in together at the end of fourth year, and got married in June 2016.
A large feature of our relationship has been travel and together we have been all over the place. We have recently moved to London for work.ANU is still a very big part of our world, I am currently completing my Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice through ANU and we attended a London alumni event.