Eight Tips to Make Graduation Truly Feel Like a Celebration

By Ellie Walburg on May 1, 2018

Graduation. It's the day you've been waiting for, for a very long time.

This goal of graduating that you've now achieved can help you take that next step in climbing the organizational ladder. It's a demonstration to your kids of the importance of never giving up on your dreams.

Walking across that stage to receive that diploma is no small feat. You made it.

While there's a lot that's going on on this day of graduation, it's a celebration and not something to be worried about. It's a day to reflect on all that you've overcome and accomplished in the pursuit of your dreams. It's an opportunity to thank those who have supported you and believed in you that you can succeed.

Ready to get the party started with some "Pomp and Circumstance"?

If you're graduating soon, here are eight tips in surviving and thriving on your college graduation day.

1. Get a Good Night Sleep

Graduates tossing their caps in the air

Just like what your parents may have told you growing up, or what you tell your kids now, getting a good night sleep the night before a big event can help you feel energized and calm nerves.

Do what you can to prepare for your graduation the day before. Make sure you've tried on your gown, know that your mortarboard fits your head well and pick out what clothes you'll wear. Know what time you have to be at the event—and that your family knows, too.

When you're prepared and ready for the next day, you will probably be less likely to spend the night tossing and turning, worrying about what to wear, who's coming and where they're going to sit. It's your day. Make sure you celebrate it with energy and excitement.

2. Dress Up, Even With the Gown

"You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world." —Tom Brokaw

As you prepare by picking out your clothes for the big graduation day, choose something that's nice. Yes, you will most likely be wearing your gown for the majority of the day—in the ceremony and taking pictures. You may want to wear it just for fun, as they can be quite comfortable.

Also be sure to keep the weather in mind as you set out your outfit. If it's indoors, you may be warm under the bright lights and the anticipation. In such case, you may not need to bundle up.

For men, it's common to wear dark dress pants and a button-down shirt under your gown. A full suit and tie may not be necessary. But if that's you, go for it.

For women, wearing a dress or skirt is a great option for looking nice yet also being comfortable on what can often be a long day. When determining which dress or skirt to wear, be sure that the length doesn't extend much past the trim of the gown.

Also. women, it's best to not wear your shoes with the highest heels. If you're used to wearing heels, choose a pair that you're comfortable in and can easily walk in. Otherwise, opt for flats or a low heel.

3. Bring Tissues for the Family

Graduates tossing their caps in the air outside

Remember that your graduation day isn't just about you. It's also a big day for your parents, spouse, mentors, kids and other friends and family who have supported and encouraged you as you earned your degree.

Chances are, things might get emotional. With so much joy, tears might sneak out. Embrace these emotions, as graduation should be a meaningful occasion. Whether it's the 20th graduation you've attended or the very first, celebrate the moment.

It's also a good idea to coordinate a place to meet your family and friends after the ceremony. Following the program, most of your fellow graduates will be on the lookout for their friends and family. Pick a spot beforehand to avoid having to search all over the building for them all over.

4. Get Your Camera(s) Ready

"Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education." —Martin Luther King Jr.

With so many things going on on this day, you want to be sure you can remember those important moments. Make sure you, your friends and family have a camera or phone charged and ready to take a lot of photos. Especially if you take photos on your phone, make sure you've got enough storage space for the massive amount of photos you'll add.

In addition to getting that photo of you walking across the stage, get photos with your family. Find your favorite professor from your program and get a photo with them. Make a funny face with your spouse. Let your kids try on your mortarboard cap. Savor the opportunity to take photos to remember this day for years to come.

5. Go Social

Aerial view of graduates standing together

Once you've taken a plethora of photos, go social with them! Post them to your social media accounts to let others join in on your celebration.

You should also follow your school's hashtag to find fun photos of your classmates and fellow alumni. For example, Cornerstone University's 2018 graduation hashtag is #CUGrad18. Use this hashtag to share your photos and find others!

6. Actually Pay Attention to the Commencement Speaker

"Graduation is not the end; it's the beginning." —Orrin Hatch

Sitting in rows next to your fellow graduates, your heart is probably beating fast. You're about to go up on stage in front of hundreds of people. But first, there's the commencement speaker.

Don't take his or her speech lightly. The speaker has probably poured hours in finding the right words to say and ways to encourage you as a college graduate. He or she wants to inspire and challenge you as you move on to another stage in your life.

Quiet those racing thoughts in your mind and do your best to pay attention to the speaker's words. You may just learn something more and continue to be inspired and encouraged as you take another step in your journey.

7. Shift the Tassel

"Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today." —Malcolm X

Whoever created the mortarboard caps with the tassels was probably not going for the most comfortable hats ever.

Nevertheless, the classic style is significant to a commencement ceremony. Whether you choose to decorate the top of your cap or not, wear it well and with pride.

For those with long hair, use bobby pins to help keep your hat in place and from flying off in any wind.

The tassel also has an importance during the commencement ceremony. Typically, the tassel on the cap begins on the right front side of your cap. When you receive your diploma, you'll move that tassel to the left. Usually, this act is done all in unison with your fellow graduates.

8. Celebrate!

The day of commencement may come with some stress and a whirlwind of emotions. Yet first and foremost, it's a day of celebration.

Be like Kool & The Gang and "celebrate good times, c'mon!"

Continue the celebration before or after commencement by going out for dinner with the people who supported you throughout your program. Buy your kids ice cream to thank them for all the times they left you alone to do homework. Take the day to celebrate such an amazing accomplishment!

Enjoy Every Moment

The day of commencement can go by very quickly. You may look back on it and think it went by in the blink of an eye. This excitement for the day is why it's important to celebrate and savor every moment. It's an accomplishment you worked hard for. You've earned that diploma. You've spent those late nights studying and finishing up assignments. Be proud of yourself and celebrate graduation.

Category: Why College