8 Fears Every Girl Secretly Has On Graduation Day
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8 Fears Every Girl Secretly Has On Graduation Day

I thought I would feel relieved or excited, but I just had an internal panic attack instead. Thanks college!

8 Fears Every Girl Secretly Has On Graduation Day
Photo belongs to Rachel Kidwell

Okay, let's be honest here. The ceremony and physical act of graduating is far, far worse than college itself. The frumpy, ill-fitting cap and gowns, all of the hoods, ribbons and other pieces of regalia that we were never actually taught to wear...(I literally had to Google and watch a YouTube tutorial on how to properly wear my hood) And the ceremony itself is absolutely AWFUL. You have to get to the venue hours before to "practice," work with hundreds of other unamused students to line up in a perfect alphabetical order, and then awkwardly and (weirdly) slowly walk up to the stage, across it and then all the way back to your seat in front of THOUSANDS of people.

I don't exactly appreciate public attention, so the commencement ceremony was pretty much a nightmare. I honestly don't even remember walking across the stage; I think I literally blacked out the moment my name and degree was announced. Throughout the whole process, it felt like I was having a silent, internal panic attack as I thought about all of the ways I could possibly embarrass myself in front of the crowd, and even worse; what I was going to do with my life afterwards. Here are the 8 most prominent fears I had while graduating:

1. I'm going to trip. I'm going to trip, fall off the stage and break both of my legs. WHY DID I WEAR HEELS?!

How I probably looked walking across the stage.


I'm already a super clumsy person, so I decided to wear the lowest pair of heels I own to safeguard against tripping or falling - which was pretty useless, because even with that precaution I was still petrified. To all the women wearing I saw effortlessly killing it in 6-inch tall stilettos, I salute you. (Also please teach me your ways.)

2. Am I wearing my hood backwards? Or my cap? What side does this tassel-thing go on anyways?!

I don't know what the point of graduation tassels are, but boy were they distracting and great at getting tangled in my hair.


Like I mentioned before, I literally had to Google how to put on that weird piece of fabric called a "hood." Then when I got to the venue, I immediately took it off because everyone else's looked way different. I had other students come up to me and tell me I was wearing it wrong about four different times, and they flipped it around each time; so I still don't even know what the right way is. Also, graduation caps look stupid and backwards on everyone. There. I said it.

3. What if my family actually skipped the ceremony and abandoned me?!

An accurate, irrational representation of me assuming my family wouldn't show up.


There was absolutely zero reason for me to panic about my family and boyfriend just randomly skipping my graduation without telling me, but it was pretty much all I could think about leading up to the ceremony. It started with a simple worry that they were going to be late, that then spiraled into "OH MY GOD THEY ABANDONED ME" and "NO ONE IS GOING TO CLAP WHEN MY NAME IS ANNOUNCED AND I'LL HAVE TO STAND IN THE CORNER BY MYSELF AFTERWARDS AND CRY WHILE EVERYONE ELSE CELEBRATES WITH THEIR FAMILY!!"

4. What if when my name is announced, the Dean just yells "SIKE," throws a fake degree at me and everyone laughs?!

Okay, this one made absolutely no sense and has probably never happened to anyone in the history of graduations - which I definitely knew at the time, but it still didn't stop me from worrying that the whole ceremony was just a giant prank.

5. What if all of my grad photos are terrible and my family shares them all over Facebook?!

At my ceremony, there were about four photographers set up along the stage to take a couple of action photos as you accepted your (fake) degree: one picture while waiting for your name to be called, shaking hands with whoever was up there, a normal photo op with the Dean while holding your (fake) degree and one immediately after walking off the stage. Like I mentioned earlier, I pretty much blacked out during that entire process so I have literally no idea how I smiled or posed in any of those photos. Here's to hoping they at least look better than my high school yearbook pictures!

6. Wow, I am immediately in thousands and thousands of dollars in college debt! I can't wait to be broke and homeless!

Actual footage of me running away from the government when they ask why I haven't paid them back $50,000 in loans plus interest.


Any triumphant feeling of getting my bachelor's after two and a half years of blood, sweat and tears was very harshly overshadowed by the sudden realization that I now have to start paying back my tuition loans. I'm very seriously contemplating destroying all of my records, changing my name, going off of the grid and hiding in a cave somewhere for the rest of my life.

7. Does my existence as an adult begin right after this?! Will I immediately have to start working a 9-to-5 job in a cubicle and buy a house?! I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT A MORTGAGE IS!!

How I assume adult life is after graduating.


I couldn't even focus on graduating in the moment itself, because I was too occupied thinking about what the heck I was going to do afterwards. What do I even want to do for a career?! Do jobs even exist in my preferred field?! Should I start looking for a house or insurance plan or car loan?! WASN'T COLLEGE SUPPOSED TO PREPARE ME FOR THIS?!

8. Lastly: the scariest, most bone-chilling thought by far: what if my degree ends up being worthless and it turns out I just wasted thousands of dollars and years of my life?

I don't know whether to cry happy or sad tears about my degree.


Perhaps the worst fear I had, though, was the possibility that I won't even be able to find a job or do anything with my degree and all of the money, effort, tears, and precious time I spent getting it will be for nothing. This isn't even just a thought I had while graduating - even though it's been weeks, I still lie awake at night and think about it. I guess only time will tell, right?

I could probably add about a hundred more irrational fears and thoughts I had while graduating, but you probably get the picture. Looking back, I wish I wasn't so preoccupied with anxiety and nerves throughout the ceremony because it all ended up going fairly smoothly. I didn't trip and fall off the stage, my family didn't stand me up, my photos turned out surprisingly decent and I'm not nearly as worried about my plans for the future anymore. I mean, I managed to get my degree, so I can probably handle whatever's coming afterwards.

After coming down from the graduation high, I now know a couple of things: 1. No situation will end up as embarrassing or terrible as you think it will, 2. Other graduating students are just as scared as you are, and 3. Caps, gowns, hoods, tassels and every other piece of graduation regalia are cheap, weirdly shaped, badly fitted and look really, really dumb on everyone.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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