Graduation: A guide

Ohmagawd the most important day of your university career.  That £9,000 bit of paper is going to be handed over to you, you have to shake hands with important people, and wear a stupid robe.  Older types seem to be fairly dismissive, but WHAT HAPPENS?  Like seriously, how does the day go?

Well, I’ll tell you what happens – and this way you can be more prepared.

So first of all, you need to kit yourself out.  There’s the robes, the most important part of the day, and you’ll need to be ready for any pictures that will last FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.  Which surely means the best outfit you’ll ever wear?  Right?

No.  No one will see it under the robes.  Just wear something sensible, there’s no one to impress because YOUR PARENTS ARE THERE.  This isn’t summer ball, this is you becoming an adult.

Secondly, the ladies, this whole ‘wear something with a collar’ thing is bollocks.  Collars only work for boys to hold up their robes because there’s a tie in the middle of their collar.  Yes there’s a hook to hook a button onto but useless girly blouses are not strong enough to hold the robes still, so just don’t bother.

You will most definitely have to safety pin your hood onto your robes, or even your top.  (At this point, cleavage being on show to the robes people is really not the best plan, or you’ll have people playing in it in a way you very much won’t enjoy.  Especially when your mother is adjusting your top like it’s your first school picture)

And so boys, my top tip really is ‘wear a tie’.  And not one that will clash with your hood colour, which for most degrees is green.  Bloody patriarchy making everything easier for men.

Anyway, so the first thing you do on the day is collect your tickets to get into your own graduation.  Bit patronising, seeing as you did a whole load of work for three years for this, but we’ll brush over it.  Then you get your robes.  Both are done using that email you got a bit ago when you signed up for them.  So find that.  And print it..  Thankfully, all of this is nice and easily set up in the Union and they’ll talk you through it.  But it does take about ten minutes, and longer the later your ceremony gets in the day as other people (urgh!) will be there too.



Then you can mill around a bit and take pictures with your parents and your friends with your robes on, then you leave your parents behind and enter the Great Hall, and sit down in alphabetical order for the ceremony to begin.  Pray that someone you know on your course has a similar surname to you, as you’ll be with them for a while.

Then an Assorted Senior Figure in the university will give a speech, which he/she probably will have given at least ten times before that week, if not day, and therefore has pauses for laughs.  Do not get emotional at this point, you’ll look like a prat.  There’s time for that later.

And then the terrifying standing up and going on stage begins.  Ladies, again, the less high heel is involved; the least falling over potential will be involved.  Specific Senior Figure from your department, who hopefully you’ll recognise will call your names out and you go up and get your certificate.


It’s really fine though, helpful graduation helpers direct you when to stand up, when to walk, when to not walk, how to go up the stairs, where to go after that and so on.  Plus there’s a big queue of people to copy.  Just watch your footing, and say ‘thank you very much’ to Assorted Senior Figure who will shake your hand and give you the goods.

Then to sit back down, watch everyone else do it, and you’re free.  An adult.  Fuck.

And remember, it’s all being videoed.

Vic Gray

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