SDSU grads head into the real world

Ann Kopecky

Ann Kopecky

As Jana Haas waits for her advanced reporting class to start, she unzips her backpack and slowly pulls out a navy blue notebook.

On the front of the notebook or day planner is the italicized word, Uncalendar. Haas flips to the month of December and marks a large X through the first week.

Haas smiles to herself. She only has one week left of classes at SDSU.

“I have senioritis really bad,” Haas said. “I count every week and every day and try to spend as much time with my friends as I can.”

Haas is just one of 543 students who look forward to graduating from SDSU this Saturday.

The commencement ceremony begins at 10 a.m. in Frost Arena.

On Saturday, Haas will be joined by her parents, her younger brother, aunts, uncles and grandparents in celebration of her graduation.

“It was always understood that we were going to college but it’s still a really big accomplishment in my family,” Haas said.

Haas, a senior from Sturgis, will graduate on Saturday with a double major in journalism and Spanish. It only took Haas three-and-a-half years to get the two degrees.

Testing out of 11 credits in Spanish and getting credits as a camp counselor in the summer helped Haas to get through school at a quick speed.

But Haas is not finished with school just yet. In three weeks, she will move to Minneapolis to attend the University of Minnesota where she plans to get a master’s degree in education.

While Haas waits to see if she is accepted to the graduate program, she will take a semester of undergraduate classes, that can eventually count toward her graduate program.

Haas said that she will be sad to leave her friends, SDSU and the city of Brookings behind.

“But I’m excited to live in a big city again,” Haas said.

Besides attending SDSU, Haas spent one semester abroad at Manchester Metropolitan University and one month in Spain.

“Some of my best memories are being in Spain and living in Manchester,” Haas said.

After graduate school, Haas plans to teach English as a second language.

“I’d like to live abroad and teach English,” Haas said.

While Haas has her future mapped out, other graduating seniors are not as confident.

Karen Beranek, a history major and spanish minor from New Ulm, Minn., has also been counting down the days to graduation.

“I’m just ready to be done,” Beranek said.

Besides being a full-time student, Beranek works as a teller at First National Bank and as a student teacher at Flandreau High School.

Since Sept. 28, Beranek has taught three Spanish classes and an American history class. Her student teaching time ends Dec. 11.

Beranek is not exactly sure where she will end up after graduation. The Flandreau School has asked her to come back and teach one-on-one and small group sessions in reading and math at the middle school.

“But nothing is 100 percent,” Beranek said.

Beranek has also considerd coming back to SDSU and taking a Spanish methods class so that she can be certified to teach another course besides history.

Beranek said that she is a little scared to graduate Saturday.

“It’s scary … the friends that you leave behind,” Beranek said. “You’re going out to the real world. You’re growing up basically.”

Kent Quashnick, a business economics major from Glenham, is also unsure of his future right now.

“I have no idea,” Quashnick said. “Well, no … I’m going to work at Applebees until I find a job.”

Quashnick, who will be a Food Expo at the new restaurant in Brookings, is looking for a job in management.

Quashnick said he has enjoyed his time at SDSU.

“I got to play a lot of basketball,” Quashnick said. “Teachers were mediocre. I met lots and lots of friends and I’m proud to be getting a degree and all.”

His family is also proud of Quashnick’s accomplishments. They will be coming to the commencement exercise to see Quashnick walk across the stage in his black gown and yellow tassle.

“My mom didn’t think I’d ever graduate from college … ‘so in your face, Mom,'” Quashnick said, laughing.