What to expect at your graduation ceremony

May 08, 2017
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Finally. It's finally over. Every exam finished, every Red Bull consumed and every single citation entered has been leading up to this moment. A moment that, all things considered, you could probably do without (“I've passed all my units, can't you just GIVE me the damn degree? Like right now, while I’m on my way to the shops?” was a conversation I had with many uni admin workers).

But unfortunately it's tradition, so you have to attend. Consider this a guide to finessing that last, arduous bit of being a student, before being rather unceremoniously booted into the workforce.

The introductory speech

A hallmark of the graduation ceremony experience is the introductory speech given at the start of the evening. Sometimes the person giving the speech is a well-known alumnus, sometimes it's just one of the higher-ups who work at your particular university. They'll make reference to their own time spent as a student, the struggles they experiences, and they WILL attempt to relate by mentioning how much time they spent at the Tav.

As it happens, Basil Zempilas gave the speech at my graduation. He was fine enough, though I (along with most people there) didn't know he even went to Murdoch University 'til he took the stage. It was kind of like a movie cameo, but in real life. The introductory speech is well-meaning in its intentions; they're generally filled with platitudes about “Venturing forth into the wild yonder, equipped with the knowledge you will use to change the world” etc. etc.

It's usually at this point that you realise this speech isn't being given for you, as you ain't changing dick with your Arts degree.

Getting gouged for a gown

I don't know who's idea it first was to dress up as an old-timey judge to celebrate being done with uni but I DO know he owes me $89, as that's how much it cost to hire a maroon-coloured gown (if disappointment was a colour, it would be maroon) and the hat with the board in it.

I realise that wearing a basketball jersey and sweats probably trivialises the event somewhat, but at the same time this isn't a nightclub with dress codes either. Regardless, no gown = no graduation, so you better factor in a significant whack to your savings account before you are truly free of higher learning. On the bright side, the gown hire fees represent the last instance in a long, long list of every time your uni reminded you it was a business first.

It's very, very boring

Look, there's no way to fast-track or otherwise expedite a process involving 1,000 or so people walking onto a stage, one at a time, to receive their degree and handshake. Every one of them has to have their moment where they walk on, pause, receive their degree and turn and smile for the alumni camera. I can't really sugar-coat this; graduation ceremonies are like watching paint dry and your only realistic hope to get through it quickly is to have chill parents who are fine with leaving as soon as you get your degree.

God help you if it's done by alphabetical order and you're a Vet Science major. Just try to remember that, despite the fact that it's your name on the degree, the grad ceremony is really for your parents and people who supported you when you were a poor student, and will most likely continue to do so now that you're a poor post-grad.

Luke Hickey

When he’s not writing for Hijacked, Luke can often be found in corners of the internet jabbering about the New York Knicks, thin-crust pizza and MF DOOM outtakes.

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