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Jun 02 2016
by Maya Ungar

7 Things to Expect From Your High School Graduation

By Maya Ungar - Jun 02 2016

Graduation. The one event you have been looking forward to since you stepped foot into your high school as a tiny freshman. The oversized robes and cords, the many family members, and the final step before freedom…or four more years in school. Below are the seven things you NEED to know before your graduation ceremony, to ensure the night is a success!

1. Graduation Dress Code

Almost every school requires their graduates to dress a certain way, even with the robes on top. Whether it be in matching school colors, or dark-colored clothes only, there’s usually a certain color scheme graduates have to uphold. Contact your school, or look at senior announcements, and you will be sure to find the dress code. In terms of shoes, IF YOU DO NOT WEAR HEELS REGULARLY DO NOT WEAR THEM AT GRADUATION. It’s everyone’s worst nightmare to be walking up the stairs, ready to shake your principals hand and escape the embarrassment of high school…only to trip and fall on your face. It’s not something you will ever be able to live down, and that’s not the thing you want you, or your family members remembering from your high school graduation. Also, comfort wise, you really do not want to be breaking in a new pair of shoes. No matter how cute, it’s not worth the blisters and agony you will have to endure while trying to break them in throughout the four-hour long ceremony.

2. Pictures

Usually right after graduation, or right before in some cases, you will truly have your last opportunity to see, and take pictures with, many of the people you grew up with. Take advantage of that and take as many pictures as possible. If your ceremony is in the evening, take pictures before with friends and family. Otherwise, it will be dark and the pictures will not turn out well afterwards. In ten years you will reminisce, fondly or not, on high school, and the best way to do that is with photographic evidence of the people who helped you through it all. Definitely take pictures with your teachers as well, whether it is the AP government teacher who always gave you extensions on homework or the strict economics teacher whose class actually truly taught you something. Your teachers are the people who influence you the most throughout high school, and it is definitely a benefit to have pictures to remember your favorite ones by.

3. The Graduation Ceremony

Depending on how big your graduating class is, the ceremony can be anywhere from 45 minutes to four hours. Unfortunately, you don’t get to control who you sit next to. You may be lucky and end up with your best friend or even a casual acquaintance. However, it is possible to end up with someone you have never seen before in your four years of high school beside you. While this may not be ideal, it’s never too late to make a new friend! You never know, they might end up in some of your classes in college.

4. Walking Across the Stage

When you finally get the chance to walk across that stage, it will be very anticlimactic. Your family will hoot and holler while the rest of the audience politely claps, and then the next name will be called up. Those 10 seconds of attention while walking across the stage are meant to recognize four long and hard years of work that you put in during high school. Seeing all of the all-nighters pulled to get an A, the bonds formed with teachers and coaches and the life lessons gained represented on a thin sheet of paper with your name and high school written in fancy font can be quite unrewarding. However, it is important to remember that all of that work that led you to walking across that stage will pay off as soon as you have to write your first paper in college.

5. The Feeling When You Throw Your Cap

“Congratulations class of 2016!” With a loud cheer you and your classmates will throw up your colorful graduation caps. Just like that, you will be officially out of high school. Family and friends will come and congratulate you, casual acquaintances will ask you about college plans and yet in the middle of all of the chaos, there is a good chance that the fact that you are out of high school has not sunk in yet. Don’t fret, and don’t get out your phone to Snapchat the moment. This is truly a once in a lifetime moment and you want to be present in it, not staring at a device.

6. What happens after graduation?

Sometimes, schools will put on an after graduation party of sorts to encourage kids to not drink. While it might seem lame to go to a party after graduation that is put on by your high school, there are definite advantages to going. A good portion of the senior class shows up, meaning it is often truly the last time you will see many of the people in your class, whether it be Ashley who sat next to you in calculus, or that cute boy Matt who always asked you for pencils in Spanish. Even those these people did not have significant effects on your senior year, it is nice to be able to say goodbye to them. Also, these school sponsored parties often give away big gifts as rewards, whether it be TVs, mini-fridges, or microwaves. If your school doesn’t offer this type of party, you will probably go to some type of after party anyway. I implore you to stay sober. Graduation is not a night that you want to forget because you had one too many jello shots. Go camping with your friends or even have a game night. The best way to celebrate graduation night is surrounded by the people who went through high school with you, having fun and staying safe.

7. Dealing with the Family that Comes in for Graduation

Oftentimes family will come in from all across the country to attend your graduation. You will be expected to happily stand by while your cheek is pinched, and you are told, “You’ve gotten so old.” It is easy to get annoyed by these family members but it is important to remember that they’ve come because this is an important day for you and they care about you. Make sure to express your thanks to them, and if you really can’t stand them, just focus on the money they often give you when they leave.

Most of all, don’t be afraid to cry, and hug, and demand that extra picture. This is your high school graduation, and it only happens once. Revel in the experience, whether you are feeling ecstatic to finally escape, or sad to leave. High school is full of emotional ups and downs, and so is graduation, so just enjoy the experience, and as Kanye West once said; “Homie [we] graduated.”

Lead Image Credit: Maya Ungar

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Maya Ungar - University of Arkansas

Maya Ungar is a sophomore at the University of Arkansas triple majoring in International Studies, French and Political Science. Maya is obsessed with cheese, the color yellow and politics. Follow her on Instagram @mayaungar

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