The Graduating Class of 2021
By Claira Eastwood
As the school year draws to a close, we are all looking ahead to what comes next. For some of us, the next step is another school year at Walla Walla University. For others, like our graduating seniors, the next step is something completely new. As this graduating class begins the homestretch to not only the end of the quarter but of the end of their undergraduate degree, two graduating seniors had some thoughts they wanted to share.
Rylee Blake is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with minors in legal studies and drama. After graduation, she plans on returning home to Arizona where she will start a low-residency Master’s program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an emphasis in drama therapy. She also plans on working part time while completing her graduate degree.
While Blake believes that WWU has prepared her well for receiving her degree, she also feels that the University can do more to help seniors succeed in their final year: “I think that at the beginning of senior year or maybe during the summer just before, it might be helpful for Walla Walla to give either a full email summary of all the things which need to be done and how to do them for graduating or perhaps even have a meeting that lays those things out.” 
Blake believes that this adjustment would be helpful for assisting seniors in planning for not only graduation but also what they will do after leaving WWU. She also believes that by helping students understand everything they need to do for graduation, the transition from working toward an undergraduate degree to working toward a graduate degree or going out into the workforce would be a bit simpler.
Dorea Bradley is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in drama. “I want to go to cosmetology school and then create a salon with certified therapists,” she says. 
Since so many people talk to their hairdressers about things they’re going through when they can’t talk to a therapist, Bradley believes that opening a salon run by people who are certified in caring for people’s mental health and wellbeing is a perfect combination. Instead of going to graduate school right away, Bradley plans on working for a while and deciding what to do at a later date.
No matter how you do it, stepping out into the world after graduating is a brave thing to do. Whether you’re planning on attending graduate school or entering the workforce, leaving behind a comfort zone and creating a path for yourself is not for the faint of heart. For our graduating class of 2021, well done. This has been a challenging year, but you did it. As you leave this place and move on to new and bigger things, know that we are rooting for you, wish the best for you, and will miss you. Congratulations on completing your degree, and have a successful rest of the school year.
1. Blake, R. (2021, May 18). Email Interview.
2. Bradley, D. (2021, May 21). Email Interview.