On the 2nd of July (2014) I graduated from Durham University. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the day and I was pretty surprised by some of it, so I thought I’d write down a few tips for anyone who’ll be graduating in the future.
1. Plan well in advance.
If your university is anything like Durham, then you’ll be getting emails months in advance about the ceremony. Don’t ignore them! Make sure that you book your tickets, robes, photos etc ahead of time so that you’re not panicking a few days before.
Make sure that you have print outs of all of your booking confirmations to take on the day- just in case.
2. Do your research.
Make sure that you know the area. Durham’s ceremony is in the cathedral, which is pretty well known. But we started off in the Great Hall of the Castle for the procession and quite a few people didn’t know where they were supposed to be.
Since its a pretty cool place, heres a picture of the Great Hall;
There was also a few people who didn’t know what they were graduating with, which is admittedly understandable as Criminology doesn’t feel like an arts degree. (I’m now a Bachelor of the Arts is anyone is interested).
3. If there’s free food- Eat it.
There may not be a lot of catering facilities and what they do have at the ceremony will probably be extortionately expensive.
The criminology department at Durham had a get together in the morning which a massive buffet. I should have eaten a lot more when it was free. Well- I should have stuffed my bag with cakes to save me having to pay a ridiculous amount just for a bag of crisps.
The same goes for free stuff. At our graduation we all received tote bags saying:
Quite a few people weren’t going to pick theirs up until they learnt about the chocolate lollies in the bag.
If there’s free stuff on the go, take it. We’ve paid enough in fees, you might as well get as much as possible from the university.
4. Don’t expect it to be like it is on TV.
There tends to be a romanticised version of graduation which gets repeated in all of the films and TV shows. Don’t be disheartened if your graduation doesn’t live up to your expectations. For example- At my graduation I didn’t receive a cap, nor was I handed my degree.
Apparently only lecturers and masters students get to wear fancy hats at Durham graduation and this is something that I will always be bitter about.
At the ceremony itself, I shook the hand of the chancellor, but didn’t get handed a fancy scroll. Instead, the degree certificate gets posted and it should arrive in the next few weeks. A bit disappointing really.
5. Prepare for all weather.
My graduation had beautiful weather. (Incredibly sunny- but a bit too windy. Our robes looked like capes in the wind). Whereas Steph was graced with thunder and lightning on the day of her graduation from Sunderland University.
Check the weather forecast ahead of time to make sure that you aren’t going to be suddenly caught in a downpour.
6. Have fun.
That sounds really cheesy, but the day is meant to be enjoyed so try not to get too stressed out about the future during all of the speeches about how great you’re all destined to be.
Also, in my experience its best not to ask people if they’ve found a job yet. It can be pretty depressed when everyone in your class is still unemployed.
I hope these tips were useful. If you’re graduating soon, let me know what you’re expecting from the day. Or if you’ve already graduated, feel free to leave some more tips in the comments for future graduates.