Your beloved graduate – son, daughter, or friend – has worked diligently for four or more years to get to this day. Believe it or not, attending as a guest takes some preparation as well. Graduation ceremonies are often early, overwhelmingly busy, and also require a certain level of implicit etiquette that no one every really says out loud.
Consider these points before attending a graduation:
- Book accommodations early: Hotels near the graduation ceremony or university campus tend to sell out of available rooms early on graduation weekends. Book arrangements as far in advance as possible to avoid those last minute, problematic scenarios!
- Graduation can be a multiday affair: Graduations don’t usually limit themselves to just a few hours for the ceremony. They often extend to be weekend-long events with several different outings and activities. Sometimes, it involves a ball or wine tastings. Other times, there will be separate awards ceremonies. When making travel arrangements, taking time off of work, and packing for the weekend, try to find a copy of the graduation weekend schedule to know all of the events you have to look forward to.
- Brace yourself to wake up early: Especially if the commencement ceremony is in the morning, you will need to wake up early. There will likely be traffic on campus, if not on the roads leading up to it. Seats will also be filling up quickly. Make sure to have a lot of extra time to get dressed, have breakfast, and travel, especially if there will be smaller children involved.
- There may be a lot of walking: Whether you are trekking from building to building across campus, from wherever you can find parking to the ceremony’s venue, or from event to event, graduation weekends lend themselves to a good amount of walking. Make sure you feel comfortable in your shoes, bring sunscreen for the children, and stay energized throughout the day.
- Be prepared to follow your new graduate around to take numerous photos: Very understandably, graduation can bring a mixture of emotions from pride from a sense of accomplishment to sadness that the experience is over. The graduate may be feeling very sentimental when saying goodbye to friends, professors, mentors, and the campus that he or she has called home. Be ready to indulge in that sentimentalism and possibly be the go-to photographer for a lot of photos.
- Attire: There isn’t a written, official dress code for graduation guests, yet there certainly is an implicit standard for commencement day attire. Guests should be dressed in business casual wear, such as smart sundresses for women and collared shirts with trousers for men.
Most of all, enjoy seeing your beloved graduate celebrate one of their biggest life accomplishments.