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10 Tips to make the most of your graduation
Graduation is one of the most significant milestones in a student’s life. Whether you have completed a one-year or three-year qualification, obtaining your qualification is a tremendous achievement!
After spending endless hours working through your study material, studying the work and preparing for assignments, graduation marks the official end of a study chapter as you prepare to become a graduate. The prospect and expectation of walking across the graduation stage motivate many students to push through and complete their studies. It is the culmination of years of hard work, commitment and sacrifice.
It is a day to celebrate and reflect on what you have achieved. For many students, this is a very emotional experience.
This year we celebrated one of our largest graduation ceremonies to date. The event took place on the 23rd of July 2022 at the Mosaïek Teatro, Randburg.
The Teatro is a large capacity venue, where many large tv productions, such as The Voice SA, is hosted. This sophisticated venue made the occasion even more special and a grand affair.
We have gathered many valuable tips to help you prepare for your graduation day and make your celebrations unforgettable:
#1 Prepare for graduation
Make sure you start preparing for your graduation months in advance. Research the graduation venue and familiarise yourself with the time schedules (i.e., when registration opens, when to collect attire, opening times of photo stations, etc.). If you need to book flights to attend your graduation ceremony, try to book your flight tickets as soon as possible. Flights are usually much cheaper if you book sooner rather than later. Try to book accommodation near the venue to eliminate unnecessary traffic and travel stress; make sure you get to the venue early to enjoy your graduation day fully. Make a weekend of it! Book your arrival flight for Friday night to ensure you arrive fresh at your venue on Saturday morning. The graduation usually ends late on Saturday afternoon. Therefore, try to book the return flight for either very late on Saturday night or Sunday morning. The last thing you want to do is to rush away from the graduation to catch a flight, especially if you still want to take a couple of extra photos. If you can, make a short holiday of your graduation in the city it is hosted. Plan ahead to include sight-seeing trips to heritage sites, museums and other fun activities in your itinerary. Make the most of this special event.
#2 Start saving for this special day
Graduations will incur extra costs for transport, accommodation, renting attire and taking graduation photos. Start saving every month for the big event. Doing this will reduce your financial stress when it is time for graduation.
#3 Inform your friends and family in time of the big day
Nothing beats being surrounded by your friends and family on your graduation day. Having your loved ones cheer you on as you walk across the stage will make up for your sacrifices to achieve your qualification. Graduation is your time to shine and receive well-deserved acknowledgement and praise from your friends and family for all your hard work. It is a good idea to send a “save the date” to your friends and family in time.
#4 Get a special outfit
Even though the graduation gown will cover a part of your outfit, you deserve to get that special outfit! You want to look the best on this eventful day. Like your wedding day or matric dance, this is your opportunity to feel special. Some graduates choose to coordinate their outfits or accessories to the hood’s colour, which looks fabulous in photos. Wear neat corporate attire such as a skirt, dress or collared shirt with suit pants to look professional and distinguished. Remember, high heels look classy and fashionable with formal attire but can get very uncomfortable after many hours on your feet. A great tip is to take low-heeled shoes and swap them for your high heels when you walk on stage.
#5 Be early on the day of graduation
A graduation is a full-day event, meaning the entire day should be set aside for spending time at the venue. The collection of attire, taking photos, and using high-tech facilities such as a 360-degree photo booth are all once-in-a-lifetime experiences that should not be rushed.
#6 Include your family
Though this is your big day, don’t forget the social, emotional and financial investment your family has made to get you to this day. Take as many photos as possible with them on the day, share a cake and coffee with them, wave at them or show them a gesture of appreciation as you walk across the stage. Enjoy it when your family and friends clap hands, cheer, call out your name or ululate to express how proud they are of you. Your friends and family can also help you throughout the day to hold your valuable items while you are taking individual photos or while you are on stage. Don’t forget to share pictures and live feed videos on your social media during the day, by doing this your friends and family that could not attend the graduation ceremony will feel part of your special day.
#7 Prepare for incessant clapping
It is no secret that graduations are not the most exciting event for those not graduating because it goes on for hours. Unfortunately, you cannot do much to avoid this, so you might as well get into the spirit of graduation and prepare yourself for hours of continuous clapping. HOT TIP! A great game to help pass the time is to cross off the graduates in the Official Graduation Booklet as their names are called on the stage.
#8 Have your photos taken before the ceremony
Graduates often think there will be time to take more photographs after the ceremony. The official photographers usually leave as soon as the ceremony starts. Your hair and make-up are fresh earlier in the day, and photos appear more beautiful while you still feel energetic and ready to put on that million-dollar smile.
#9 Relax and enjoy the day
Graduation day is your day! A day to be celebrated, to surround yourself with your friends, family and fellow graduates. You might even get the opportunity to meet and talk to some of your favourite lecturers. Check the ceremony schedule to avoid rushing around and keep informed of the essential time schedules. Send your friends and family a copy of the ceremony schedule to ensure they reach the venue on time, have sufficient time for photos, and get a good seat in the auditorium. Planning and organising will help you and your guests enjoy one of the most important days in your life.
#10 Pay attention to special instructions
You must pay attention to the special instructions and announcements during the day. Familiarise yourself with crucial matters early in the day. At registration, you will be handed a goodie bag with your hood, your name card (that must be given to the preceding officer on the stage) and the programme of the day.
Bonus TIP: Accept your qualification with a smile
On the stage, you will be the centre of attention. Practice your walk up the ramp and smile while receiving your hood. Even if you feel nervous, try to walk slowly over the stage and maintain your pose. Savour every second while you are on stage.
Take advantage of every opportunity you have to plan and prepare for your graduation ceremony. There will be many fabulous people to meet and interact with at the ceremony and coming prepared for the event will help you to enjoy and take in every moment of the event.