Graduation is a stressful time for everyone. Parents, teachers, and especially students. Every school has a different way of celebrating this incredible occasion, but one thing always remains the same, no matter the school: there will always be tears. Graduation day is one of the most tearful and joyous events someone can experience, and it's important to not let the day fly by in a wave of tears. Here's a few tips to surviving graduation:
1. Don't get caught unprepared.
Be sure to keep to keep some tissues tucked away. You'll never know when you, or your neighbor, may need some.
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
While some schools have the graduation ceremony in a cool, air conditioned room, there are schools, such as mine, that hold graduation in the gym. The hot stuffy gym packed full of people who want to see you get that diploma. Drink lots of water the day before graduation, and bring a bottle with you to the ceremony. If your school doesn't allow items to be taken into the ceremony, see if water bottles can be supplied for the graduates. After all, it's a very special day, and nobody wants to miss because he/she was dehydrated.
3. Class it up a bit.
Graduation is an extremely important event, not just to you but to your family and teachers as well. This has been twelve years in the making, and you know you want to look good. Find a nice dress, or a dress shirt if you're into that, and rock that outfit underneath your graduation gown! That gown will be coming off as soon as it can, so be prepared to look good once it's off.
4. Beware the hair.
This one's for the girls-- Everyone wants their hair to look fabulous, but it'll be tough if it's 95 and humid. Check the weather the day before, and have a back up plan in case the original doesn't work out. Wearing your hair down or in double braids accents your face and makes the cap look a little less ridiculous.
5. Live it up.
Some schools have a "Senior Week", a fun filled week full of graduation rehearsals and activities that'll make you cry, like award ceremonies and prom. While this seems like the complete opposite if fun, senior week activities are a great opportunity to say thanks to teachers and friends, and make a few more high school memories before the big day. Enjoy it while it lasts because you'll never experience anything like this again.
As a very important man once said, "A thank you note goes a long way". In the modern age we live, thank you's are said over text and email, and rarely in the form of a card. However, many people appreciate the simple gesture of a thank you note, and it's a great way to let someone know that you appreciate what he/she did for you.
8. Go out with your friends
This is the beginning of a new chapter of life, one that will bring change, both good and bad. Enjoy the good, learn from the bad, and take advantage of these last opportunities to go out with your friends. In just a few months everyone will be going their separate ways, and the fun times, at least with these friends, will be put on hold. Enjoy the time while it's still here, and don't be afraid to go out and try something new.
9. But don't forget your family.
Family is the most important thing. Once you're off at school, there's no more family dinners, or relaxing watching a move together, or telling your parents about your school day. Sure, there'll be phone calls and FaceTime and visits, but the family experience that you've grown to know and love over the past 18 years won't follow you to school. So enjoy while you have it, and don't be afraid to spend a night home instead of going out, because your parents will miss you at school just as much as you'll miss them, and they'll appreciate you spending a night with them.
10. Take one last look around
This school has been your home for the past four years. You know every hallway, every classroom, every stairwell, and every nook and cranny. Next year you'll be in a brand new environment, and this sense of home you feel will be lost until you settle in. So walk around the halls, reminisce about that time freshmen year when you and your friend tripped walking up the stairs, or how those classrooms used to get so hot and stuffy in the summer. Think back on the past four years, and remember how comfortable you felt, and how much you love this school, although some may say otherwise. It's your home, and leaving is going to be tough.
11. Cry. A lot.
It's okay to get a little emotional. It's okay to get really emotional. As long as you are surrounded by friends and family, any kind of emotion is okay. People handle change in different ways. Some take it in stride, some hate it and fight the whole nine yards. Some cry a little, some cry a lot, some don't cry at all. No matter which way you handle it, remember this; This day is one of the most important days of your life, one that you won't have again until you graduate from college, and even then, it's different. You have been working for twelve years to reach this point, and every minute of this day is well deserved.
You did it! You're finally done! Congrats Class of 2016, we made it.