Black Mortar Board with Tassel

Whether or not to attend your own graduation ceremony

With graduation quickly approaching, whether or not to walk has been a popular conversation among my friends and I. Some of friends are walking across the stage, and some are not. I ultimately decided to, and here are some things I considered…

Are you being recognized? Yes, many of us want to be modest, but you worked hard if you are given special recognition at graduation. It is important to be proud of your accomplishments. Even if there is no special recognition, it is a big accomplishment to earn a degree.

It’s your weekend, and others are there to celebrate you. The people who have been your support system are proud of you and may want to see you walk.

Tickets can be scarce. For many individual college commencements, each graduate gets a very limited number of tickets. It may be possible to get extra tickets from peers, but some people have big families and have to choose who to invite or not. This may be something you do not want to deal with.

Memories. Will walking in a ceremony solidify a memory for you? Some people want to look back and events, such as a graduation ceremony, are ways to help us remember important accomplishments in our lives. It may also make graduation seem more real and serve as a legitimizer.

The speaker. Find out who the guest speaker is at graduation. If it is someone you would want to hear speak or if you are interested in their background or values, it may be interesting to attend.

In the end, it is up to you if you want to walk or not. However, the decision should be yours to make. You do not have to do what your friends are doing because everyone has different priorities. It may also come down to logistics. If the timing and situational factors are not ideal, it may only be stressful to accommodate walking in your graduation ceremony. At the end of the day, however, graduation is an important milestone, and you deserve to make the weekend how you want to celebrate. If you are at this point in your life, CONGRATULATIONS; I hope you make the most of the upcoming years regardless of your presence at the graduation ceremony!


Jori Brownfield, Undergrad at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who will be proudly walking this weekend!


To Walk or Not to Walk – American Psychological Association

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