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GOSHEN -- Sarah and Seth Yoder will be walking with 223 other graduates from Goshen College Sunday to show off their hard work.
They will listen to commencement speaker Dorothy Nickel Friesen talk of "An Undivided Life," and move their tassels to the other side of their caps.
But something sets them apart from all the other graduates getting diplomas. The psychology majors decided to get married before they graduate, moving to the next step in life together.
They are both originally from this area -- Sarah from Goshen and Seth from Middlebury. Sarah's maiden name is also Yoder; she is the daughter of one of the owners of Yoder-Culp Funeral Home in Goshen.
Sunday will be the second time the couple graduated together, after graduating in 2001 from Bethany Christian High School. They toyed with the idea of inviting their whole graduating class at Bethany to the wedding, but then decided on a smaller, special ceremony.
They have known each other since freshman year but didn't start dating until their senior year. They say it wasn't a plan for them both to attend Goshen College.
"We both happened to want to go," said Seth. He added that he was undecided between Goshen and Hesston, and the fact that Sarah was going to Goshen pushed him over the fence.
They were married at Goshen City Church of the Brethren on Dec. 27, 2003, during their junior year. They live off campus in an apartment, which is untraditional for Goshen College, but they made sure to invite their friends over every Wednesday so they didn't lose touch.
"Moving off campus was a big change," Sarah said. "Goshen doesn't have married student housing."
But they definitely saved money on books and had a live-in study partner.
"Being in the same major, we only had to buy one set of textbooks," said Sarah, adding that they also proofread each other's papers. Sarah helped Seth with his grades a little -- they actually improved after they were married.
"I procrastinate," said Seth. "She would remind me to do my homework."
Ending up with the same major was also not pre-planned. Sarah started out in education and Seth started out in English. They took psychology as an elective and both really liked it.
They have plenty of positive things to say about Goshen College and are looking forward to graduating together Sunday.
"We had so much support from our parents; they always encouraged us," Sarah said.
They think it is probably time to go off somewhere warm on their own, though. Graduate school is definitely a possibility. They are excited to get their diplomas, although it doesn't seem real to Seth yet.
"It's like when summer is coming and you're out of school and it just is going to go on and on," he said. "No more homework, no more rushing to get papers done."
As for the near future, graduation will help unclutter their lives, since the two have been working and going to school at the same time. Sarah is the women's tennis coach at Goshen College but she plans on adding a part-time job to her schedule.
Seth works at a computer store and a juvenile detention center. After going away for a bit, the two plan on coming back to Goshen to be with their families in the long term.
Contact Melissa Madden at email@example.com.