What Every Graduate Needs to Buy Before the Big Day

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Graduation day is quickly approaching for many college seniors. Be prepared for the big day by keeping a shopping list of what you will need. Whether it is for commencement itself or for the days leading up to or following, here is a list of the five big essential items you should expect to purchase to prepare for graduation.

1.   Diploma Display

On graduation day, you will walk away with a memento of a lifetime: your diploma. It serves as a testament of how far you have come and how hard you have worked to get to where you are today. Such an important item deserves a proper diploma display frame or case. With so many options to choose from (classic, school spirit, personalized, etc.), select one that matches your style and your pride.

2.   A Weather Friendly Graduation Outfit

Underneath your graduation gown, you will want an outfit that matches the importance of the day. Jeans and shorts are too casual for such a formal affair. Go for something comfortable (especially during longer ceremonies) and flattering. Keep weather in mind, since many graduations occur outside, and the heavy, dark-colored gowns and hoods can be uncomfortable. Pick light clothing that can withstand a little heat and sweat while still looking good. The same consideration should go for shoes that will match the occasion while still providing comfort and support for the long walk across the stage.

3.   Alumni and School Spirit Clothing and Accessories

Now that you’re an alumnus, you are going to want to replace your faded school t-shirt you purchased your freshman year. Upgrade to an alumni appropriate shirt, sweatshirt, or even car decal. Not only does new alumni clothing look great for graduation pictures, it will also serve as another way to display your accomplishments. After all, you’re not an underclassman anymore! You earned that “Class of 2015” recognition!

4.   A Way to Record the Big Moment

Some schools contract photographers to be on-hand while you receive your diploma, and the pictures are often posted online later. However, if you prefer to go the more personal route, be sure to have someone there to record your day. This may include purchasing a new camera for your parents to use or investing in a handheld camcorder. Some graduates even use micro recorders for a more personal touch.

5.   Moving Supplies and Storage

After four years of moving in and out of the dorm rooms, you are likely a packing pro at this point. However, you may also want to account for the uncertainty of where your items are going. If you are moving into your first apartment, you can most likely transfer your items. However, if you are unsure of your future living situations, invest in durable storage for your items such as trunks, bins, and packs for a long-term solution. Cardboard boxes will provide sufficient storage and transportation for a few hours, but not for months at a time.

6.   Any Additional Event Tickets

Most of your commencement should be free, but you should not skip out on precious memories such as an alumni reception or a graduating class outing. Keep a calendar handy so that you can track all of these fun festive events and set aside money to attend those you wish to be a part of. Always check ahead if tickets or an RSVP is required.

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Your graduation shopping list is probably adding up as the days tick down until commencement. Preparing for graduation may seem like a daunting task, but with a little advanced thinking and planning, you can stay on top of all that needs to be done.

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Five Different Types of Diploma Frames

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Springtime heralds the approach of finals and the end of school, but most seniors have just one thing on their minds: commencement! Graduation may only be a few weeks away, and you’re undoubtedly feeling all the excitement and anticipation of beginning a new journey outside of being an undergraduate. Your educational accomplishments should not be tucked away in desk or cabinet. Instead, look for ways to feature and display your hard-earned degree in one of these types of diploma frames.

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1.   Color Coordinated

Your school’s colors are ones you bleed by. Selecting a frame that accounts for your school’s colors adds a special touch to your diploma display. You might also try to find college frames that are customized to display your school’s name and official seal embossed in the color cutout, showing your allegiance to the university to which you have given your time and efforts.

2.   Artistically Minded

Displaying your diploma on the wall of an office, den, bedroom, or study may seem traditional and stuffy. Those who want to show their accomplishments off with a bit of artistic flair should select a frame that features an ink or watercolor of their school’s most popular feature. For example, those who graduated from Alabama State may want a beautiful image of the Denny Chimes to commemorate their last four years living and studying in such an idyllic place.

3.   Memories Framed

Modern-minded seniors may not be in favor of school colors or hand-drawn images. Instead, they may want their own memories to be up front and center along with their diplomas. Photo frames that display the diploma on one end and a photo of your choice on the other is a particularly popular option. After all, graduation day is the time to celebrate with friends and loved ones, making it the perfect opportunity for photo ops.

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4.   Accessories Displayed

After graduation, you most likely have to give back your gown and cap. But what about your tassel? A university’s tassel is a symbol of the hard work put in, and how far you have come from freshman year. Display this symbolic item with the diploma itself by utilizing a “memory box” in the frame. You can add your tassel and other graduation accessories to the memory box. It is a great alternative to placing it in a forgotten storage bin or leaving it behind altogether.

5.   Traditionally Styled

Of course, there is something to be said about the traditional, standard diploma frame. Simple, classic, and elegant, it makes the perfect focal point without being too loud or bulky. For minimalists or those without much space to hang a frame, the traditional option is the best of all of the choices.

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Your graduation day should not just be a passing memory. Long after you walk the stage and receive your degree, you will want to look back at your accomplishments. Instead of tucking your diploma, pictures, or accessories away, look for a diploma frame that puts your education on display. With so many options to choose from, you can find a frame that fits your style and lifestyle no matter where you’re leaving—or where you’re going.

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#GradFail: Putting Your Best Face Forward

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“Oh, and before you leave, there’s one more lesson we forgot to teach you”, said the College Gods to this young man as he strutted across the stage and prepared himself for the ‘biggest exit of his life’. A valuable lesson indeed.

Aside from the most obvious lesson-why gymnasts don’t wear gowns- there may be another lesson to be taken from this comical, painful happening. There is something to be said for enjoying something like it is your last, but there is also a risk of putting too much stock in your “last act”. If you nervously overthink it, spending sleepless nights contemplating the “last this” and “last that” (as this student no doubt lay in bed revising his backflip approach), you’re missing the most exciting part-the future. College graduation is not the finale. Sure, as a senior you will “party like it’s the end of the world”, toast friends who you’ll never see again and cry because you’ll miss things, but it is not the finale.

On the bright side of the same coin, the guy in this video does not have to worry. He deserves some serious credit for doing something bold and hilarious, and even though he failed, brushed it off and kept going. Lesson learned. Fortunately, even this viral gaffe will be forgotten for the same reason it wasn’t really necessary in the first place. This is not his final act.

Enjoy every second, but don’t THINK for a second that those seconds stop once you get that diploma. No need for an interpretive dance routine, just take a breath and confidently walk across that stage towards a new horizon.

College is an irreplaceable experience, of course, but it is not your last, so don’t get wound up seeing it like that. Graduation is a new beginning. Accept that diploma and don’t even think about your “last act”. Just put a smile on your foot and put your best face forward…