1. Diploma frames
Our diplomas will be delivered to our mailing addresses a few weeks or months after graduation. Framing your diploma is completely optional, but deciding how you’ll store it and keep it in good condition is something that we have to think about. The bookstore sells diploma frames that are specific to the University, but frames are also available at Michael’s or other retail stores — I am personally very excited to hang my diploma.
2. Degree ceremony planning
Speaking of degree ceremonies, the schedule for major-specific ceremonies is currently on the final exercise website for all of the schools within the University. Each department breaks apart across Grounds to hold their own ceremonies after everyone participates in the procession down the Lawn either Saturday or Sunday. I personally have a ceremony at 11:30 a.m and 2 p.m., and getting my family to both ceremonies without losing anyone along the way might pose a challenge. I think I will have to review a map of Grounds with everyone to make sure we’re all on the same page.
3. Reservations for meals
The weekend of graduation is going to be a very hectic few days, so planning meals is very important. Reservations are strongly recommended for dinner at restaurants throughout Charlottesville and many restaurants also have fixed menus for graduation weekend, such as Fig, Orzo or Mockingbird. You should even plan when you and your guests will eat lunch the day you walk the Lawn. Currently, I am struggling to figure out if my family and I will be able to wait in the long Bodos line between my ceremonies.
4. Move out
This is one of my more stressful points of the next month. I only have four days of overlap with my two apartment leases and have to move for the summer the day after I graduate. I have to be packed before I walk down the Lawn, so I will be starting as soon as I finish my final exams. Hopefully you all have time to figure out your moving out plans. I know it’s an extremely sad and stressful thing to plan, but it’s better to start early.
5. Graduation announcements
I have heard from a lot of my friends that graduation announcements are more common in this area than out of state. The bookstore sells graduation announcements that are specific to the University and are what I decided to use. For me, I have a decent amount of cousins that live in other areas of the country, so sending these announcements is important because they won’t be able to travel for graduation.
6. Graduation photos
Graduation photos can be as serious or as silly as you want. I had my graduation photos done last week and am so excited to see them. There are many students and groups around Grounds that are advertising professional graduation photos, but you can also take them with a phone camera. This can be a fun activity for you and some friends to dress up in your graduation garb and go to the Lawn.
7. Extra-curricular graduation cords
A lot of student organizations and school departments have graduation cords or stoles for their graduating members. It is a great idea to start checking your emails or checking in with people who run your organizations to see when you should collect your graduation cords. It is great to be able to celebrate all that you have been involved in and accomplished throughout your years here. So far, I have a cord for my major, my sorority and the Cavalier Daily.
8. Graduation outfits
What you wear underneath your gown on graduation day doesn’t necessarily matter, but it is a good idea to think about it ahead of time. The main thing to remember is that it will most likely be very hot on graduation day. I personally am going to wear a white sundress — as are my roommates. Having comfortable shoes are important too, especially for anyone who may consider wearing heels on the Lawn.
9. Final Exercises tickets
There are six tickets available for your guests at the overall Lawn Ceremony. If you want more guest tickets, you can ask around if your classmates have any extras. Seating at the ceremony is arranged on a first-come, first-served basis, so if your guests want the best seats, they should try to get to the Lawn early.
This is by far the biggest and most important thing you need to prepare yourself for. It may not have hit you yet, but it will soon. The University has been such a large part of our lives for the past few years. I am having so much difficulty coming to terms with the fact that I will not be able to walk to see my roommates from my bedroom to the kitchen, or be able to see my classmates in lab every week. I am planning a nostalgic walk with some of my friends to visit our old dorms and make sure we can see all of Grounds one more time before we walk. I am going to be a mess for the next three weeks, and no amount of time can prepare me for it. Soon, we will wear the honors of Honor and will walk the Lawn with all of our colleagues, friends and future alumni of the University.