Friday, 21 July 2017

6 Tips For Your Graduation Day

Happy Friday guys! You all excited for the weekend? The arrival of the weekend isn't any more exciting than the other days of the week for me, but next Saturday is Comic Con day so I'm really looking forward to that and counting down the days until I can get my nerd on (not that I don't everyday, haha!) but it's nice to be a place full of fellow nerdy folks :) Today is a special date for me, it is the anniversary of the day I graduated from university. It has been two years now, two years!?, and last year I was planning to share some tips for those in their final year of study or for those who's graduation ceremonies will be happening soon, however I forgot, oops! So, it's finally here. I just wanted to share a few little tips, pieces of advice that helped me get through the wonderful albeit stressful day! I hope you all enjoy reading. 

Tips for Graduation Day

 1. Bring a comfortable pair of shoes 

Graduation Day is a long and tiring one. You will be provided with your schedule before you arrive with times to get there to register your attendance, the time to collect your graduation attire and the time that your ceremony will take place. You usually have to arrive hours before your actual graduation ceremony and you might be heading out for a celebratory meal or drinks with your family and friends, or have to walk from one university building to another across a city, like I did. All this time spent on your feet wearing the perfect shoes to match your dress or formal wear can cause you a lot of discomfort, and you don't want your feet hurting too much when you've got to walk across the stage during the ceremony. I brought some comfy shoes to wear and it was so so helpful. I also brought plasters for stop my shoes rubbing or to keep those dreadful blisters at bay!

2. A portable charger is essential

Your graduation is a special day, one to celebrate all your hard work and accomplishments for the last three or four years. You're going to want to record this important life milestone by photographing all of your happy moments and obviously documentating your day on social media :) I was really thankful that I had brought a portable charger with me, since my phone died after snapping lots of photographs with my friends outside the Nottingham Royal Concert Hall.

3.  Come prepared with bobby pins to keep your cap in place

Bobby pins, hair pins, hair grips... whatever you like to call them. I used to call them slides until everyone else around me at uni called them something else and I got used to calling them bobby pins. Those little metal hair thingies that you always buy a big pack of but end up some how loosing every single one. Well, I do anyway! These fabulous little inventions are perfect to bring along with you on Graduation Day. Caps look awesome, with their cute little tassels and are the most iconic symbol of Graduation. I always remember the scene at the end of the musical Grease 2, watching the characters throwing their caps in the air when they graduated from High School and thinking, I can't wait to do that when I'm older :) So, I was really looking forward to wearing one. Little did I know just how annoying they can be to keep on your head! I used bobby pins to keep it secured to my hair, although I had to keep adjusting them, I am so glad that I did this. So guys, remember your bobby pins.

4. It is so important to keep hydrated

Graduation ceremonies usually take place over Summer, and although in England we can never be sure of how the weather is going to turn out in this season, it's super important to be prepared for it to be a lovely but boiling day. My Graduation day was just that, lots of sunshine and lots of feeling really hot inside a thick black gown that reminded me of something from a Harry Potter movie. I did love my gown though! I made sure that I brought several bottles of water for this day, which I really needed because of a combination of the weather and also trekking all over Nottingham city. Make sure you remember to bring drinks with you, and have one handy throughout the day. 

5.  Pack some safety pins for securing that hood

You may be wondering what exactly a Graduation hood is. Even I didn't know that this was the proper name for the coloured material that you wear along with your gown until I had a google. I've been calling it a sash for so long! Anyhow, this sash/hood is usually a specific colour depending on the level of your degree, i.e. undergraduate, masters, etc. Then, there may or may not be another colour incorporated to show which school your course falls under in your universities faculty system. My hood was a greeny-turquoise shade which represented that I was graduating with an undergraduate degree, paired with orange to show that my BSc (Hons) Zoo Biology course was part of the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences at Nottingham Trent University. 

I thought these hoods made a lovely addition to the Graduation 'uniform' as the gown and cap were black, so it was nice to have a touch of colour. These hoods are placed over your head so that there is a 'V' shape at the front of you and then the material trails down your back to form a 'hood' like garment. The problem with this is that even though there was some velcro to keep this hood in place, it didn't really work. I was given advice to take some safety pins with me by my best friend and it was the best advice! It stopped the hood constantly trying to become a scarf... a scarf that seemingly had a desire to strangle me! :D I recommend that everyone take some mini safety pins (so that they don't stand out in your photos) with them just in case.

6. If, like me, you struggle with mental illness, make sure that you take 'time outs' 

Graduation is a busy day with lots of things going on and places to be and tasks to complete. There are people everywhere: fellow students, lecturers, everyones family members and friends, and other university officials/staff. You are likely to be worried about being in crowded situations, about the general stresses of the day and about the idea of walking across that stage in front of all those people. I know that I was! I almost didn't go to my ceremony because of my anxiety, but I decided that this was a very special day and that I would regret missing it. I wanted my parents to be able to watch me walk across that stage, shake the officials hands and take a roll of paper that is supposed to represent your qualification certificate. I wanted to feel proud of my accomplishments and to see all of my fellow students, maybe for the last time ever! It was an important, meaningful day and I am so glad that I worked through my anxiety to complete the ceremony. 

There are a few steps that I took to make this possible. I stayed over in a hotel the night before graduation so that I wouldn't have the added stress of travelling on the day. I wrote a breakdown of the day and a to-do-list in my phone notes to keep looking at whenever I was panicking. It really helped having my parents there too. I also made sure that I took regular 'time out' breaks. These are moments when I went to a quiet area of the foyer in the building where my Graduation took place. I went outside for fresh air. I went to the toilet to sit in the cubicle and just calm myself down a little. I sat down and put my iPod on for a while. I did any little thing I could to just take myself away from the hustle and bustle of my surroundings, to concentrate on my breathing, to clarify my thoughts. This is what got me through the day so to all my fellow spoonies, I think that this is one of the most important tips on my list. It's also a helpful piece of advice for everyone, whether you suffer with a mental health condition or not. It can be easy to get overwhelmed on such an emotional day like this so look after yourself, take those breaks :) 

Tips for Graduation Day
I'm not usually a fan of photographs of myself, but I really love this photograph of me & my dad on my Graduation Day. It's so special to me :) <3 i="">

I hope that my little pieces of advice help you feel more prepared for Graduation. If you have any other tips that you can give my readers, then please leave them in the comments :) Congratulations to everyone who has graduated this year already; I've seen so many lovely photos over on instagram. You should be so proud of yourselves. To those of you preparing for your Graduation, remember the importance of preparation and most of all, enjoy yourselves. You deserve it! 

 Thankyou for reading! 

What were your favourite memories of your Graduation Day? 


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