THE BLOG

An Insider's Survival Guide to Graduation

30/06/2014 14:54 BST | Updated 26/08/2014 10:59 BST

So for the past three years you've been working hard to learn as much as you can in your chosen discipline, and you've made true friends and acquaintances that will last for life along the way. And looking back, it's been a pretty special and eventful journey. Now, it's finally time for you to graduate and look towards embarking upon the next chapter of your life.

Graduation is a mixed day of sharing academic achievement with your family and celebrating the end of three years of hard work and social highs with your friends. It could also be the last time you see all your uni friends together. Cheers and tears are guaranteed on graduation day!

I graduated from The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts last year. Sir Paul McCartney is the Lead Patron and has attended every year since opening and hands us all a graduation pin, and it felt really special when he and co-founder and principal, Mark Featherstone-Witty presented me with my certificate, the result of three years of hard work.

Looking back, this has made me realise what a special day graduation is. With so many experiences and memories to treasure, there can be a lot of pressure to make that one day special, whichever university you graduate from.

So here are 5 top tips that I learnt from my own graduation:

1. Plan photos ahead of the day. Graduation is a snap happy event and as everyone is dressed up it is a prime opportunity to get some really nice photos of you with friends. The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts has an iconic tower on the entrance gates and in the chaos of the day I forgot to get a photo of me near this tower in my official robes. If there are any iconic features of your university or in that particular town, plan to get these snaps. Once you have handed your robes back, it's all over.

2. Stay cool (in the literal sense) - I don't mean attend in shades and act all cool and suave. Generally graduation ceremonies take place in halls or business venues in June or July and it's likely you'll be dressed in traditionally thick, heavy robes, meaning temperatures are sure to rise and you could start feeling a little hot and in extreme cases, maybe dizzy too. Bring a bottle of water along to keep you cool and if you are quite a delicate type, a hand fan might also be a good idea.

3. Book a table in advance for your family after the ceremony. Most families use the opportunity to go for a nice meal in your university town or city, which means restaurants will get booked up quickly. Make sure you book your table early. I went to a restaurant in Liverpool on my graduation day, and almost every table was filled with fellow students and their families.

4. This one is for the ladies... Think smart with your shoe choices. I foolishly wore beautiful platform heels for the special occasion but by half way through the day, although I loved the shoes I was wearing, my feet were really suffering when I just wanted to feel comfortable. The ceremony can take all day so you may not get chance to change your shoes. Learn from my mistake and make sure you can walk comfortably in your shoes or at least carry flats in your handbag.

5. Most importantly enjoy the day. Getting a degree is a big deal and you deserve to celebrate. It might be difficult juggling family and friends but graduation is the last day your class and fellow students will be together before they all jet off to different locations and new paths. Some people downplay graduation but it is truly a great feeling to recognise that you have worked hard and achieved. Look forward to it and savour each part of the day.

There are limited places for 2014 entry on select courses at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, for more info, click here.