Campus Life

A Graduation Day survival guide

By Raven Nyman

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

With graduation day soon upon us, it’s hard to fight the excitement in the air.

Whether your degree took four or seven years to complete, we are all entitled to the well-earned feeling of relief —and pride— that accompanies receiving your degree or diploma. Still, graduation day can prompt a lot of anxiety when one considers not just everything that could go right, but the things that may go wrong, too.

With that in mind, let’s go over a few of the things that you—the graduate—can do, to ensure that your special day goes smoothly.


The first and most important thing that you should do before your convocation is ensure that you know the specific date, time, and location of the event. This may sound like the easiest detail to get right, but you’d be surprised at the number of fellow students I’ve encountered who have failed to graduate simply because they neglected to correctly note application dates and deadlines.

The same goes for convocation —large universities such as UBC often hold multiple graduation ceremonies during the year, which means that getting your date and time right is imperative. In May alone, UBC holds an entire week of graduation ceremonies, with four ceremonies taking place at the Chan Centre each day.

You probably don’t want to be the person who showed up for the 4 p.m. ceremony when you were scheduled to graduate first thing in the morning. Your family will miss out on the opportunity to see you cross the stage to receive your degree, and you’ll be signing up for a lifelong embarrassing memory. 


From organizing your under-the-gown outfit to addressing any family concerns before they occur, there are many ways that students will need to prepare for graduation day. The key to avoiding chaos is getting that preparation done ahead of time.

This means confirming or purchasing tickets for your family, clarifying who can attend and who cannot, ordering your graduation gown or regalia rental for the day, and picking out the perfect pair of shoes, too—if you’ve got time.

For the most part, many of these details will be solidified months in advance and you will likely receive reminders from your administration to register for tickets and gown rentals. However, as we all know, details and deadlines still get missed, so it never hurts to double —or even triple— check.



Last but not least, remember to enjoy your graduation day! It’s easy to get caught up in the preparations —or even the lack thereof— which can lead you to forget what this day is really all about: you!

Sure, there’s lots to stress about, but at the end of it all, this should be an event that you look back on with a smile, so do your best to enjoy it. Make sure to eat beforehand, because unless you’re attending a very small university, you’re in for a few hours of sitting or standing, then you'll be posing for pictures, and mingling, too.

If your family is flying in from another city, province, or country to attend your ceremony, be sure to help them get organized as well so that they make it to your convocation safely and on time. If you’re a nervous sweater, then you know what to expect on this day.

If you have high expectations, you may have to reign those in. If your family may be more excited about your graduation than you are, try not to stress about it.

And if your hair doesn’t turn out the way you’d like it or you don’t find the time to get your nails done, try not to stress about it. These details are certainly not the most important. What you should remember is that this day is a celebration of your achievements, and you have every right to be proud of them.

So smile, relax, and enjoy the fact that you’re officially an alumni. Congratulations, graduates!