Underrated: what they didn’t tell you about graduation 

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If your university was anything like mine you won’t receive any practical information on your graduation until about a week before you attend. Doesn’t matter really; it’s only one of the most important events for the duration of your 3 years (or longer ?) at university. 

In hindsight I’m so happy I didn’t decide to skip graduation based on the fact that getting up on stage in front of hundreds of people, made me want to puke in my mouth & gauge my eyes out with a fork. No, I soldiered on. I made it! (By about 5 minutes actually, because I spent the whole morning curling my hair – have to look good for graduation). 

But honestly they gave us hardly any training for such an important event. 

Here’s the basics you need to know to survive: 

1. Charge it up 

If, like me, you are a twenty something who thinks they are a fourty something and hasn’t actually entered the 21st century fully – and uses their phone to photograph everything. Prepare to lose your phone. My battery went half way through the ceremony and I could’ve cried!!!!! One of the most memorable days of your life. You need photos. Even if you look awful, purely for the memory of the day. Make sure you charge your phone fully before leaving your house, portable chargers are mandatory. 

2. Regal dressing 

Although there aren’t strict guidelines about what you should wear to the event (university dependant) – it should be formal and classy in my opinion. Now let’s talk about shoes girls. Just to inform you the walk on the stage, although it may, in reality only last the whole of 40 seconds. These 40 seconds will feel like a year of your life – and it’s quite a distance. And there’s stairs. Yes. Stairs at either end….please wear shoes you can walk in. You do not want to end up even tripping up slightly. 

3. Star struck 

Before the event you won’t get any notification of who will attend, but be prepared to be entertained by some celebrity relevant to your course. This makes the ceremony much more enjoyable – even more reason to attend. 

4. Lengthy business 

No one prepares you for how longgggg the ceremony is. Every individual from your whole year will go on stage and be personally congratulated. You will suffer clap ache (hands aching from strenuous hours of clapping). Yes it is a thing. My dear mother came up with a winning strategy for such a dilemma: ‘I started to ration my claps to two per person’. You’ll thank me in the long run. 

5. Compose yourself 

Erm. So the free prosecco is very very tempting. Why not? You’ve had a challenging 3 years. Full of sleepless nights, caffeine induced panics completing academic essays a night before they are due. Stressing over Harvard referencing and technical issues with turn it in. Yes we’ve all been there. So take the prosecco – but be careful. There’s an awful lot of free alcohol. Do not get carried away and embarass yourself in front of your fellow colleagues, family or lecturers. (In my case my mum did that all by herself, I sobered up watching over her – switching roles literally – and trust me she is a real life Delboy trotter. The thought of her coming out with her brash cockney remarks , I sobered up very quickly) 

6. Built for comfort not speed 

You will get strangely attached to your gown and cap. Like weirdly attached. Like I did not want to give it back whatsoever. It’s so comfortable. So regal. So classy. Mmmmmmm. 

7. Ambience 

The atmosphere generally on the day is lovely. Everyone is happy, relieved and excited for future endeavours. So, now that you are prepared fully for a tiresome, yet enjoyable, yet emotional day. Enjoy!!! (The free prosecco is a killer) 

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