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Your graduation ceremony survival guide

by Martin Lewis
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From de-mystifying graduation gowns, to discussing how to wear the cap and hood and where to put your mobile phone during the ceremony, we’ve got all your graduation day dilemmas covered!

If you’re graduating soon and you’re feeling unprepared, don’t panic. Find everything you need to prepare for the big day in our graduation ceremony survival guide.

Help! Are graduation gowns supposed to be big?

The first thing students often ask is whether or not their graduation gown is supposed to be so big! The gowns come in various height sizes, but sometimes if you’re in between the sizes, it’s difficult to know which one to choose.

We would recommend going for the slightly smaller gown if you are unsure, as this will look more professional on the day.  Most of all, you want to make sure that you feel comfortable during the graduation ceremony.

The gown will definitely be below the knee and it might even be a bit of an ankle grazer, it depends on your height and build. The arms are also quite flappy, so it will feel like you’re walking around with wings until you get used to it.

Graduation Ceremony Survival Guide, Gowns

Help! What do I wear under my graduation gown?

First thing’s first, graduation gowns tend to be a bit on the warm side. So it’s important that what you wear underneath is quite lightweight. Above all, you want to make sure you’re comfortable. Graduation day is quite long!

Ideally you want to achieve a classic look, wearing colours that go with your graduation gown and hood. Remember the photos will be on your relative’s walls for years to come! We advise dark or neutral colours – nothing too vibrant!

The best outfit combo is a shirt or blouse with trousers or a skirt. Outfit choices to avoid would be jeans, casual t shirts and low-cut tops. Your graduation hood will have a loop on the neck band designed to be attached to a shirt button, so this really wouldn’t work if you were wearing a strappy vest top.

Graduation Ceremony Survival Guide, Outfits

Help! How do I wear the cap and hood?

We’ve touched on the hood options and if you’re wearing a tie, you might be able to tie your hood onto it. You will need to allow time to play around and see what works!

Graduation caps, usually known as mortarboards, can only be worn over simple hairstyles. So there’s no point spending ages creating a high ponytail or bun style, or even styling hair with gel or wax. Your mortarboard will flatten your hair and it won’t go over the top of fancy hairdos. Simple styles work best.

A good tip is to take plenty of hair grips with you to the graduation ceremony so that you’re ready for any mortar board hair emergencies! You might end up having to adjust your cap or hood half way through the ceremony, so it’s best to be prepared!

Graduation Ceremony Survival Guide, Hoods

Help! On graduation day, where do I put my phone during the ceremony?

You might want your phone on you during the graduation ceremony to take photos of friends accepting their awards. We wouldn’t recommend texting or checking social media during the ceremony though! That might seem a bit rude.

So the question is, where do you put your phone when you walk on stage to collect your award? Ladies’ clutch bags are not very practical because you might need both hands free to shake hands and take your award. However, a small shoulder bag could work. Then you’ll have somewhere to store all the essentials without having to actually hold anything. We suggest you opt for a black or plain coloured bag.

Unfortunately they don’t really make these styles of bags for men! Most male graduates tend to store their mobile phone in the pocket of their trousers and it’s quite common for people to just leave their phone on their seat whilst they go up to collect their award.

 Graduation Ceremony Survival Guide, Award

Help! How do I avoid embarrassing myself?

For some people, graduation day can be as nerve-wracking as their wedding day. After all, you have to walk up on stage in front of loads of people and shake someone’s hand. It may seem like a simple process, but in any event where you’re being watched and clapped, you can feel a bit put off!

The best advice is not to wear silly shoes! The temptation (especially for ladies) is to go out and buy new high heels for the day. There are two reasons why this is a bad idea: 1) If they are new they might rub and you’ll be in agony for the whole graduation ceremony. 2) If you’re wearing heels, you’re more likely to trip over on your way to collect your award. No one wants graduation pics of them flying across the stage in panic!

Don’t drink too much champagne. It might be free, but you need to be on your best behaviour, at least until the ceremony is over. You don’t really want to embarrass yourself in front of your parents, so sip the bubbly and don’t get carried away! Later on, you and your friends can have your own celebration.

Avoid mortar board hair by taking some spare hair grips with you, plus a hairbrush or comb. Hair grips may also be handy for pinning your mortarboard back into place if it slides down, or after you’ve thrown it into the air for a photograph!

Graduation Ceremony Survival Guide, Celebrate

 That brings us to the end of our graduation ceremony survival  guide. We wish you luck with your graduation and your future employment. The most important thing is to enjoy the day and celebrate your success.





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