(This letter…

(This letter arrived the first week of class. Why the warning? Read on, friends, you’ll see.)

Dear Dr. Date,
I’m in quite a dilemma. Friday night, I met a very interesting, attractive woman in a coffee shop. She was sitting in a corner table all by herself, but I recognized that the book she was reading was one of my favorites. I casually asked her how she liked the book. In splendid detail, she described many of the same things I liked about the book. We went on to talk about many other things, which took us to closing time.
As we walked outside, I asked her if she would like to go for a walk the next day. She was very agreeable. So the next afternoon we met for a walk around Como Lake. It was a beautiful afternoon. The walk blended into dinner into music into dancing into…
So good so far.
I must also mention that I’m a TA. On Tuesday, I was given the shock of my life, for one of my students is the same woman I’d met that past Friday night. What’s a poor guy to do? Did I make a social blunder by not asking for her class schedule? The dilemma is that I’m the only TA for the class, and she apparently needs it to graduate. She doesn’t think I have a problem. Do I?
— The Tormented TA

According to the University, you do, my friend. The University has just adopted a new and more definite policy regarding dating at the U. According to the policy, you, as a teaching assistant, are prohibited from dating your new love interest who is also your student. This is at once complicated because you were technically already dating before the class. In these situations, you must inform someone, presumably your professor, who in turn must inform the department of all the juicy tidbits of your dating life. Don’t worry, they’re supposed to keep things confidential and come up with some sort of special plan.
Your particular situation is almost comical (in that tragedy is funny) because while you should tell someone, you feel silly making such a big deal about a one- and-a-half date relationship. It could be great, but who knows? It could also fizzle out by the second page of your syllabus.
Both you and your date/student need to decide what’s most important to you: career or love? If your choice is career, then put the brakes on any dating for 10 weeks until the quarter’s over. The policy also has provisions for prior relationships, so you might still be stuck telling those responsible for you.
If, on the other hand, you are consistently lonely and find that the academic life just doesn’t reward your soul the way you envisioned when you started oh so many years ago, then who am I to stop a burgeoning love? Just be aware that you could be jeopardizing your job.