Graduates deal with chances in love relationships

Catherine Damron

After graduation, some students will be able to spend even more time with their significant other.

But some will have to spend time apart.

For some who will walk the line on May 10, graduation means major changes for their relationships.

People like Madisonville senior Brad Oldham and Madisonville junior Heather Pendergraff, are in serious, committed relationships and are ready to progress into the future with their newly earned degrees and their loved ones.

Oldham and Pendergraff will walk down a different line on May 23 when they get married. They have been together for three and a half years.

Oldham is graduating with a major in government and a minor in communications. Pendergraff will study pharmacy at the University of Kentucky. The couple plans to move to Lexington within the next month or two. Oldham has already had interviews, including one for a manager position at Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

Both Oldham and Pendergraff realize that marriage will be a different lifestyle, but they know that’s what they want.

“It’s kind of weird to say we’ll be married in a couple of weeks, but I can’t see myself with anyone else besides Heather for the rest of my life,” Oldham said. “We live together now, so I don’t think it will be too much of a change, we’ll just be in a new city and in a new house.”

Others, such as Greensburg senior Joy Coffey, are ready to spend more time in relationships that were on the back burner while they were in school. Coffey has been married to Western alumnus Brian Coffey since June 8, 2002.

“I drive an hour to Bowling Green and back home five days a week,” she said. “Sometimes I’ll end up staying on campus for four or more hours at a time.”

Brian Coffey said life with his wife will probably not change when she graduates. They currently take care of a farm in Greensburg.

“I don’t see (Joy and I) leaving the area any time soon,” Coffey said. “I’ve lived here most of my life, I’m sure we’ll have a few kids in the next five years. But I’ll be doing the same thing I do.”

Frederick Grieve, associate professor of psychology, said college relationships, like any other relationship, will last if the groundwork is laid out and the couple is compatible.

Grieve said those who graduate at the same time have the advantage of being at the same place in their lives and knowing what they want.

“However, if they’re offered jobs apart from each other in different cities, it could lead to stress and problems that they’ll need to work out,” Grieve said.

Career plans will cause Florence senior Theresa Scheitz and Leslie Rafferty, a former Western student, to have to spend some time apart after graduation.

Scheitz, an education major, will be leaving for Mexico in October to teach at an elementary school. She will be leaving Rafferty in Bowling Green.

Until then, Scheitz and Rafferty said they will try to make as many road trips together as possible. Rafferty will also try to save money to visit Scheitz.

“Hopefully I’ll be able to visit Theresa for at least two weeks while she’s in Mexico,” Rafferty said. “I’m going to have to start saving money now. I know I’m really going to miss her, but I’m proud of her. She’s going there to do what she loves.”

The couple has been together for two years. They were neighbors in East Hall before they started dating.

Scheitz said she can see herself teaching in Mexico permanently. But she isn’t worried about where her relationship is going to go.

“I guess I’ll be wherever my teaching career takes me, she said. “Hopefully Leslie will be by my side. I know while I’m in Mexico for three months it’s going to be hard. But I think it might make our relationship even stronger. If we can get through this much of a distance, we can get through anything.”

Reach Catherine Damron at [email protected]