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Cardiff University Experiences

What to do leading up to your graduation

18 July 2022

With an unprecedented triple-header of graduation ceremonies occurring in the coming week due to the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of students will currently be preparing for their graduation. As someone who is currently going through this process, I would like to give you an insight into what this preparation may contain, whether that be in terms of dress, accommodation, or meeting up with friends that you may not have seen in years, particularly on this occasion.

First and foremost, organising your gowns, hoods and smart attire underneath the traditional robes is the first thing many students look to tackle, as this is how you will be displayed on your grandparents’ mantlepiece when you frame one of the thousand photos that will likely be taken that day. The system that this year’s students have partaken in, involves hiring or buying (if you want to splash out to have permanent robes) your garments, that you will then be dressed in over your suit, dress or other smart clothes on the day. Alongside booking tickets for the ceremonies and other events on your graduation day, the booking process occurs online through different companies/the university for gowns, principality stadium seats and academic school presentations. This may sound like an obvious thing to say, but my advice would be to think carefully about any radically different haircuts, shaving off all your facial hair, or exposed body art such as henna, that you may not want in your graduation photos. After all, most of us will only graduate the once.

The day’s events will likely be numerous, with Cardiff University currently offering graduation gardens visits, to mingle with your friends and course mates, alongside your school ceremonies, professionally taken photos and main graduation ceremony. This year, we have each been offered two free guest tickets to graduation events, alongside additional ones should we wish to pay for them. Do not forget to book the seats for your guests as, whether they be family or friends, they will not be happy if graduation day comes around and they can’t access the venue since you forgot to book their seats. Where will you stay? For some people, they will have continued accommodation in Cardiff due to enrolling in further study in the city or finding temporary or permanent work. For those who will not have a residence in the city to return to, you may be able to crash at a friend’s house, get a hotel room for the night, or take up the university’s offer of a paid nights stay in one of their accommodation blocks. Perhaps you might even get your old room?

Finally, graduation may well be about celebrating your own achievements and time at university, but it is also about celebrating the achievements of your friends and colleagues. As such, coordinating events with your friends in the week prior and in the evening of your graduation is an absolute essential. Events on the day, such as the graduation gardens, are also things that you might be able to meet each other at, and your parents may finally be able to put faces to the names they’ve heard so much about. To conclude, make sure to enjoy your graduation as much as possible, whether it be by surrounding yourself with those you’ve struggled through university with to make it out the other side, or by having a quieter event with your family. Either way, do not let a lack of preparation and last-minute worries scuttle your enjoyment of a one-in-a-lifetime event!