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How to have a virtual graduation at home

It may not be the graduation you always dreamed of or even the graduation you wanted…but you can still make it special. With universities around the world unable to hold their usual graduation ceremonies, many are taking them online.

Universities have been pulling out all the stops to make it a show-stopping event, with US institutions having celebrities like Lady Gaga and Barack and Michelle Obama as keynote speakers.

If your uni hasn’t got quite the same star-studded lineup, or have opted to postpone your graduation until next year, you can still mark the occasion this year and celebrate your achievements with all your loved ones.

Picture of a pride flag Here’s how to plan a stay at home graduation:

  1. Create a plan: Getting organised before the big day will make it much more enjoyable and reduce any stress.
  2. Pamper yourself: You want to look your best for your graduation, so get yourself a face mask, give yourself a blow dry, do your nails, have a nice long bath, trim your beard, do your hair and use the aftershave you save for special occasions - looking and smelling great will make you feel so good.
  3. Bake a celebration cake: It’s not every day you graduate. Make sure you have something delicious to tuck into once the ceremony is over.
  4. Sort out an outfit: If you’ve already ordered the perfect graduation outfit, wear it! If not wear your favourite dress or suit to help you feel great.
  5. Set up the ceremony: Put your laptop on a table or chair at the end of a room to make it feel like you’re watching from a lecture theatre or event venue. You may need two devices ready if your uni wants you to participate so be sure to check in advance.
  6. Get others involved: Set out chairs and ask those you're isolating with to wear something smart. If you live alone, send your loved ones the link to the ceremony and ask them to watch along and video call afterwards to celebrate together. Normally you’d be limited to just a few tickets at a graduation ceremony, this way you get to invite as many people as you want.
  7. Test everything: Make sure all your equipment is charged and working properly before the ceremony starts. If you’re inviting people to watch, make sure you’ve sent them the link in advance and they know how to use their equipment and explain how to use the mute option.
  8. Record: Record or live stream the ceremony, or get your friends to do it for you. You may even be able to download it afterwards from your uni and have it as a keepsake.
  9. Go graduate: Feel the pride when your name gets called and walk up the makeshift aisle of your front room, with your head held high - just like you would at a normal ceremony.
  10. Write a speech: Now’s your chance to take the time to reminisce over your time studying and look back at all your accomplishments.
  11. Celebrate: Make sure you have a bottle of fizz chilling in the fridge to pop as soon as the ceremony is over. Take a moment to make a toast to all of your hard work over the past years and cheers everyone watching.
  12. Photographs: Set your phone on a timer and have a group photo with those who have attended your graduation with you. Make sure you get these printed out and framed too. There won’t be many graduation photos like yours so share it on social media - today is a day to be remembered.
  13. Connect with classmates: Organise a group video call with your friends who have also just graduated. Have a virtual celebration with some drinks, reminisce over your days as students, play games and don’t forget to screenshot those special moments to keep forever.
  14. Finish with a special meal: You’d probably planned to go out for a fancy dinner, so finish off your day with either a special home-cooked meal or a yummy takeaway from a local business.