So, you’ve made it through 3 (or 4 or more) years of painfully sleepless nights, more books than you’ve probably read in your life, had highs, had lows, but the end is finally here and you’re about to get hold of the most expensive piece of paper you’ve ever owned. It can be both an exciting and also a scary day and as a result of a less than calm demeanour it can be easy to forget a few ground rules.
To help make sure you make this occasion a WIN on the big day, here’s a few dos and don’ts.
DO: Turn Up on Time
Despite feeling like weddings where things last all day, the ceremony itself is only a couple to a few of hours long and is strictly timed in an effort to get a large number of you announced, on stage, collecting your degree and back to your seat again – and considering you’re announced one by one it’s likely to take some time (which will also explain why some larger universities and colleges will graduate at different times of day and on different days). This means the ceremony has to start as on time as possible, and unlike a wedding, you’re not the only star, so if you’re not there once the actual awarding of degrees starts (in some institutions by the time the doors to your hall close), they’ll assume you are in absentia and you won’t get to partake in the ceremony as it happens (often having your degree arranged to be posted home).
DON’T: Wear Trainers, Tank Top/Vests and Shorts
Yes, during the main event you will be robed and capped, but remember that you won’t have these on all day and if you’re hiring you’ll still be turning up to a formal event in regular clothes and leaving in them, not to mention that the robe isn’t a dress and doesn’t cover your entire body. So it’s advised to dress appropriately as with any formal occasion. As a tip, many robes will actually hang from you (a bit like a fancy poncho) and will rely on an item of your clothing to hang on to so if possible, wear a shirt. If you’re more of a dress type, it’s wise to make sure it has some form of buttons sewn onto the front as these will be much better than the back up plan of a safety or needle style pin, which may rip your clothing from the weight of the robe!
Think smart. Dress Smart. Look Smart.
DO: Get Pictures with Friends
Graduation is ususally the last time you’ll see your housemates and uni friends together as ‘students’ (though really you’re now graduands/graduates), so just as you likely got pictures together in fresher’s week, take the time to complete the chapter together before you all go out into the big wide world. It’s worth doing it now, rather than just waiting until the after party since you can’t guarantee you’ll get around to it after all the hugs, pints, shots and reminiscing.
DON’T: Get Drunk Before the Ceremony is Out
I hate to sound like the party pooper here, since the big day is all about celebrating getting to the end – which for many is synonymous with popping a cork or cracking a can, but don’t get too ahead of yourself! You’ve still got to sit through one more session as well as get up and across stage in front of the seniors of your institution, and make it back to your seat – and this isn’t an ideal time to attempt a challenge! It’s worth noting that you’ll get to sip champagne afterwards (sometimes provided by the university!) and there’s always a graduation party somewhere that you won’t want to be hungover for. So Party on! – Just save it until School’s well and truly out!
DO: Have an Awesome Time!
You worked hard to make it this far through numerous years! Granted the ceremony may come across as a little traditional, but it’s a special occasion in your life and something many people will only get to do once in a lifetime (unless you’re taking an academic career path of course). So congratulations if you’re getting your extra letters this year to your name and provided you follow these tips and your uni’s customs right, I’m confident you’ll be able to celebrate your graduation as a WIN!
Take care and the best of luck to all those graduating in the next few weeks