After about two weeks of moving, relaxation and all around laziness, I finally decided to write about helpful graduation tips. Graduation can be a joyous, yet stressful, time of the year. As a graduate you’re not only going through the emotions of leaving college, but you’re also planning for life after. It can also be hectic to plan for family and friends during graduation – so these tips may be helpful!
- Pick up your swag – Make sure to pick up your cap and gown, along with all of your other graduation goodies! Most organizations provide you with stoles, cords and medallions for the hard work you’ve done. The lines can be long to pick up your swag, so plan in advance.
- Graduation Photos – Plan to capture the spirit of graduation by taking photos before the big day. This allows you time to take photos before the prime places on campus become crowded (ie. The Swamp, Bull Gator, etc.). Find someone who takes photos either as a profession or hobby. My friend, Jordan Albright, is an amazing photographer who provided me with a detailed plan of our photo shoot. She was able to put me at ease and capture my true personality!
- Graduation Announcements – To let my family and friends know that I was graduating, I decided to send out announcements. I looked at a variety of announcement makers: Shutterfly, Etsy, CVS and Walgreens. Based on the price and quality, I decided to use CVS. They provide templates, which can be customized to your preferences. I was able to create the announcements and do same-day pickup.
- Cap Decorations – Decorating my cap was something I have been looking forward to! However, when the time came – I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do. Thankfully, my Katelyn is a crafting genius! She used Photoshop to create the cap image and then I added embellishments. Pinterest is a big help if you’re stuck on ideas.
- Make Plans – Graduation weekend is the perfect time to entertain family members who are coming in for the weekend. Visit Gainesville is a great website with sites and attractions for visitors. Our family loves to eat, so most of our time was centered around checking out new restaurants. We visited Southern Charm Kitchen, which had the best chicken & waffles. We also visited Crane Ramen, which was gourmet ramen – we fell in love with the place.
- College Celebration – Most colleges will have a celebration for their students (and they’re family friendly too). The College of Journalism and Communications had a celebration right before the graduation packed with snacks, Albert & Alberta, and past professors. It was the perfect place to grab a bite to eat and relax with friends before our big moment.
- Graduation – The big event flies by, so make time to capture pictures while you’re there. Most colleges will allow graduates to sit together with friends as opposed to sitting alphabetically. I was able to sit with my favorite people and they made the night wonderful!
- Graduation Dinner – Make reservations in advance so you know that you’ll have a table once you’re at the restaurant. We decided to head downtown to a new restaurant that had just opened. The Mojo Hogtown BBQ was the perfect spot – both rustic and modern. Its atmosphere was relaxing and homey – exactly what we wanted after sitting in the Swamp. With an entire wall dedicated to whiskey, and the most delicious fried, green tomatoes – it was the perfect celebration dinner.
- Reflect – Take some time to reflect on your past years. It was fun to look through photos from when I was a freshman to now. I also took a walk around campus to reminisce on some of my favorite memories.
- Goodbyes – The worst part of leaving Gainesville for the summer was saying goodbye to friends and mentors. I sometimes have a hard time expressing myself verbally, which is why I like to write instead. I decided to write Thank You notes and Target always has the cutest $1 notes.
- Packing – Okay, I lied. Packing was the worst part of leaving Gainesville. Thankfully, I planned ahead and started sending things home earlier on in the semester. The biggest piece of advice I had was to organize early on!