By Jonathan Woon
Staff reporter

It is a tradition for students to parade up the 77 steps on graduation day. Some students feel satisfied with their achievement thus far. But for others, it is the start of a brand new journey.

Polina Dyadyk, psychology senior, is from Crimea, Ukraine. With graduation fast approaching, she admits worrying about the future. “Time really flies. It will soon be May and I will graduate,” said Dyadyk. “It’s time to take the next step.”

Dyadyk is an international student who came to America with her family in 2005 to experience a better life. “Back home, inflation is really serious and finding jobs can get tough,” said Dyadyk. “It’s really hard to enjoy life without worrying about anything.”

Dyadyk is now going back to square one where she faces fear of getting a better life despite being in America. “It scares the crap out of me whenever I think about graduating this May,” said Dyadyk.   

Dyadyk is interested in industrial psychology and hopes to do a graduates program at Kansas State University in that field of study.

However, it is easier said than done because of her status as an international student. Visa, permits and paperwork has become a barrier for Dyadyk. “I can only work for 18 months after graduating by applying for optional practical training and after that. I just don’t know if I will be able to stay here,” said Dyadyk.

Elyse Achenbach, psychology senior, is a close friend of Dyadyk. Achenbach looks forward to leaving for China to teach kids once she graduates. Graduate school is not an option for Achenbach. “No more school for me. I don’t consider myself an academic person,” said Achenbach. “I would love to do something related to foreign affairs such as teaching somewhere else in the world or translation work.”

Achenbach is looking forward to going to Shanghai in May after learning about the lack of English teachers in China from Nancy Wang, a visiting scholar, who visited Southwestern last year.

Melanie Cherry, class of 2009, has been teaching in China for two years now. “I know Melanie and I have been corresponding with her via Facebook. She agreed to let me go and sit in for one of her classes,” said Achenbach.

Behind all the plans, Achenbach is excited about graduation and thinks every next step is God-guided. “I can’t wait to graduate and get done with school. I know I’m going to get there as God guides me,” said Achenbach.

Dyadyk also believes that it is time to move on. “I don’t want to be like some students still sticking around and becoming super seniors,” said Dyadyk.

For Jacob Basye, communication freshman, graduation is not something he’s worried about for now. “It’s not crucially important to worry about that for now and I’ll be taking it easy,” said Basye.

Jonathan Woon is a freshman majoring in communication. You may e-mail him at