5th August 2021

It’s that time of year again - the final exams are completed, the dissertations handed in and the final tutor group disbanded. University is over, and you’re officially a graduate!

Often the focal point for many university students, especially during stressful periods of study, is the graduation ceremony at the end of their studies. The opportunity to gather together with friends and family, and for your achievement to be recognised in front of everyone, is an incredible one!

The pandemic has affected the way universities work over the last 18 months, including their graduation ceremonies. Many had theirs canceled or postponed, much to their disappointment. And this disappointment was understandable, given that not only had students faced the usual workload and pressures of university, but they also had to adapt to new challenges in the face of the pandemic too.

Now though, there is the hope of graduation ceremonies going ahead over the summer in our slow return to normal!

Although the ceremony is likely to have been changed slightly to ensure everyone’s safety, there are still some traditional things to look out for in graduations across the UK:

  1. The procession

Most universities will have a procession of academics, often accompanied by music. It starts the ceremony off with a grand affair, and certainly leaves a lasting impression on all attending!

  1. The cap and gown

A famous part of UK graduation ceremonies, not only is it when you realise how large your head is as you provide measurements, but it is perhaps the only time you will get to look as academic as you feel and are! Gowns tend to be black, but the hoods will vary in colour, depending on your course, subject, and level of degree.

  1. The cap toss

With great fears of inadvertently causing injury, especially to the eyes, the hat toss has been up for great debate. But it has still remained as an integral part of the ceremony and helps to mark the end of the formal part of the celebrations, and where the more relaxed and fun things can begin!

  1. Photos, photos, and more photos

No matter what you think you look like in your cap and gown, I absolutely recommend going through with getting the professional photos done on the day. They are something you will want to look back on and treasure in years to come! And then of course, there are the photos taken by friends and family for the ‘gram - graduation has got to be documented!

  1. Gift giving

It’s not uncommon for graduates to receive a gift from their close family on the day of graduation. It is a truly momentous occasion, and lots like to mark it, usually with something that will stand the test of time, such as jewelry or a watch. If you’re looking for something different, however, that will last just as long, if not longer, take a look at our star naming gifts:

Graduation ceremonies will look different depending on where you are in the world. Many share certain factors, such as formal dress and the giving of the degree over a handshake with the chancellor of the university. But everywhere will have their own traditions too.

For instance, in places such as Italy or Argentina, people throw food, particularly sticky foods like ketchup, onto graduates to mark their new status. In many countries, including Sweden and the US, graduation ceremonies are not just for university students. High school graduations are common across the globe, but in the US kids as young as five or six have graduation when they leave kindergarten.

The main thing for all graduation ceremonies everywhere is that you enjoy them! This is a truly special time to highlight your achievements, which you should be proud of. Rest, relax and celebrate before moving on to the next step - congratulations, graduate!