Muskens: Etiquette for convocation ceremony

Considering this is graduation time for both Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan, I thought I would cover graduation tips and etiquette—the do’s and don’ts.

Considering this is graduation time for both Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan, I thought I would cover graduation tips and etiquette—the do’s and don’ts.

For students who are graduating, here are some simple tips.

Do wear something cool and light under your academic gown. Many of these gowns are made from a polyester blend and can be quite hot.

For men, forget the suit. This much clothing under an academic gown is bulky and way too hot. Skip the jacket; shirt and tie will suffice.

For women, a cool summer dress or light summer pants work well. Long dresses that fall to the ankle don’t work well with these gowns and should be avoided. Make sure you wear shoes that you can easily walk in and you won’t trip or fall over.

All grads are part of the procession, which means you will have to walk some distance to your seat and then up again onto the stage to receive your certificate.

You don’t want to make a face plant on the cement or the ceremonial red carpet. The grad cap (called the mortarboard) is awkward to wear especially when trying to keep it on your head and walk at the same time.

For women, bring some bobbi-pins—you can use these to help the mortarboard stay in place.

Do get your photo taken that day. You may think that you don’t want one, but I have met many students who later regretted not getting that grad photo.

Do show up on time. If you don’t arrive by the time indicated there is a good chance that your certificate will not be up on stage when you cross.

Staff need to know that you have arrived on time to make this happen.

Do thank your family, especially your parents, wife, husband, children and others who have helped you graduate.

It’s not just the professors and the school that got you where you are today.

For the guests of the graduates:

Arrive on time if you want a good seat and dress appropriately for the occasion. Okanagan College’s ceremonies this weekend will be held outside and the weather is iffy.

Bring water, a hat and wear comfortable clothing for both heat and rain.

Don’t bring children under the age of eight to these events unless you can’t get a baby sitter.

There will be a lot of speeches and most children can’t sit through a two-hour ceremony. If you must bring your children, sit next to an exit so you can leave if your child becomes disruptive.

If your infant is crying, please leave the area.

Two years ago I had a parent complain to me that she sat through a two-hour ceremony just to hear her son’s name called out as he received his degree. When the big moment arrived the baby behind her started crying.

She felt robbed of that special moment and was quite upset. So for the respect of others, please get a babysitter.

Do go up to the stage and take a photo of your graduate when their name is called and they receive their parchment—but leave the area quickly so others can do the same thing.

Finally, to both grads and guests: Celebrate the day, celebrate the moment, celebrate the achievement.

Graduating from college or university happens only once for most people. Make sure that special day is just right.

Graduation ceremonies are being held at Okanagan College on June 3, 4, 28 and 29.

Well over 1,000 students will be receiving certificates, diplomas and degrees.

UBC Okanagan’s ceremony will take place on June 9 and 10.

Jane Muskens is the registrar Okanagan College.



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