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13 Things That Will Definitely Happen on Graduation Day

By Sabrina Collier

Updated July 12, 2018 Updated July 12, 2018

Ah, graduation. The biggest day in your academic career, which everything you’ve done in your degree has been leading up to. All those endless hours spent with your head buried in a book in the library paid off, and now it’s time to get that degree certificate.

Here are some things that are pretty much guaranteed to happen on graduation day…

You won’t know most of the other graduands in the room.


Ah, nothing like graduation day to make you realize just how many people were on your course all this time!

Things will get sweaty.


It doesn’t matter if it’s a relatively cool day…you will definitely get hot in your gown.

Professors and guest speakers will make generic speeches about how much you’ve achieved. This will probably include bad jokes.


Of course, you may luck out and get a genuinely entertaining guest speaker, maybe even a celebrity who’s been given an honorary degree – Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert was at my graduation for this very reason (in his own words, he ‘rocked up and got a freebie’).

Someone will fall over on stage.


This may be someone in unwisely high heels, although even those in flats have been known to apparently fall over their own feet. Hopefully you won’t be the unfortunate soul who this happens to. And if it does, just laugh it off!

You’ll overthink your handshake.


You’re stood just off stage, ready to go on and shake hands with the vice chancellor…this is the Big Moment. All eyes will be on you. Let’s not panic…

Someone’s name will be completely obliterated.

Again, hopefully this won’t happen to you.

Your parents will take A LOT of photos.


And I mean a lot, hopefully with nicer backgrounds on campus than the stairs in the image above!

Hey, they’re proud of you, and want to document this momentous occasion. Also, if either of them have Facebook, prepare for the obligatory status update with photos from the day.

They’ll also cry at some point.

Parents crying at graduation

Accurate depiction of mum and dad as they watch your handshake moment.

You won’t be sure if you’re wearing your mortarboard correctly.

Graduated dog

And you’ll probably also fiddle a bit with the graduation gown.

Your hands will hurt from clapping.


Honestly, the people near the end are at a disadvantage here. Clapping hurts at this point, so they’re bound to get less enthusiastic applauses.

You’ll briefly lose your mortarboard after throwing it in the air with the other grads.


In fact, is the hat you pick up even yours? Who knows.

You’ll pose for professional photos with a plastic fake degree certificate.


Soon to take pride of place on the mantelpiece at your nan’s.

And finally, you’ll go out for one last drink at your favorite uni haunt.


This is where you too may find yourself becoming emotional, as it finally dawns on you that this is probably going to be the last time for a long time (or possibly even the last time ever) that you and your friends drink in this bar all together. Have a toast to old times and to everything exciting that lies ahead for you all, and know that it won’t be goodbye forever.

This article was originally published in July 2018 .

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Written by

The former Assistant Editor of TopUniversities.com, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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