Why Graduations are a Big Deal and Ideas on How to Celebrate

graduation_celebration_ideasYesterday, I read an article about how society makes a much bigger deal (and spends more money) on things like weddings, engagements, baby showers etc. as compared to other life events like college graduations or first jobs. While the author was a bit sarcastic in how she worded things, I generally agreed with what she had to say. All of these life events are equally important and it’s time we celebrate them equally.

The average cost of a wedding now is $20k (possibly more if people were honest). That was my college tuition for a year. It’s a heck of a lot of money to spend all in one day. The average cost for a college graduation party is $985. These numbers suggest what we tend to value more and as a soon-to-be college graduate, I definitely feel like my achievement isn’t nearly as important as other friends’ who are engaged.

Please don’t misinterpret my message. Weddings and baby showers are important events and certainly should be celebrated. However, a college graduate deserves the same treatment because frankly, in most circumstances, this achievement takes more intellect and time than the process of getting married or having a kid usually does.

I go to a small Christian school and there are two types of people that are there: the type that believes college is solely for finding a mate and the type who thinks you can do other things too. I have many fond memories of my school. Dealing with people (girls particularly) who are only after their MRS degree is not one of them. It really is the most expensive degree you can get. On the contrary, there are people such as myself who don’t mind if they meet their future spouse in college, but for them the point in going to school is to ensure they can afford a decent life afterwards.

With all of my griping you might be curious to know what ideas I have on how society can celebrate graduation in a more grandiose way. Here are a few things I thought of:

  1. Buy a new dress- People spend thousands on “saying yes to the dress” for their wedding. I don’t see a problem with spending a few hundred on something fabulous to wear at your graduation. I’m eyeing a few Lilly Pulitzer dresses myself!
  2. Host a dinner party- Whether you pay for it or your parents do, having a big, sit-down dinner that’s catered might be just the ticket for you to be able to savor the spotlight.
  3. Send out announcements- When people get engaged, they send out save-the-dates. When graduation time roles around, send out your own announcements letting friends and family know that your “big day” is right around the corner. *Special note*: Usually when you send out these announcements people automatically assume you only want money. A great way to avoid this awkward conundrum is to make a note at the bottom saying something like “In lieu of gifts, the graduate asks that a donation be made to (insert charity name here).”
  4. Have a photo session- Engaged couples get to have a special photo shoot and so should you! Hire a professional photographer or even ask a friend to spend an hour or so taking photos of you.
  5. Go on a trip- Just like a honeymoon, you have to get away from it all and relax after all the festivities (and the last 4 years) are over. Go on vacation with a few of your other graduate friends and breathe a sigh of relief that it’s over and you’ll never have to study for an exam again.
  6. Buy yourself pretty jewelry- If a bride gets a pretty ring, then so should a graduate. It doesn’t have to be lavish, but something to commemorate this time in your life is a really great idea. Plus, costume jewelry just doesn’t go over as well in an office setting. You might as well have something nice to wear with your business suits.

I hope I’ve given you a few ideas on how to celebrate your (or someone else’s) special day! Graduating from college is such an important and incredible time in life. It shows mental endurance, dedication, and skill. We should celebrate it!

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11 Responses to Why Graduations are a Big Deal and Ideas on How to Celebrate

  1. Pingback: Lilly Pulitzer for My College Graduation | Witty 'N' Pretty

  2. paigepanikk says:

    Reblogged this on ChaseThatHorizon and commented:
    Love this so much, real effort goes into you getting your degree, a graduation is something to be celebrated!

  3. I was never thinking about taking a trip, but why not? good idea! I think that people really like to celebrate and they need to find some reason for doing it. I remember my graduation party – whole family, dinner in restaurant, lot of food, nice dresses. ItΒ΄s a pitty that it happens just once in a life πŸ˜€

  4. laura kilty says:

    I totally agree. My graduation is one of the proudest days of my life so far. I was absolutely thrilled and so thankful that my parents and friends were just as excited and wanted to celebrate with me. As I read your post, all my memories of that day flooded back- thank you!!

  5. I might be a little biased because I think basically everything should be celebrated in one way or another, but I couldn’t agree more!

    For my college graduation we did almost everything you suggested. We had a really lovely party where my mom draped linen over the pergola and accented it with lights so at night, the entire deck sparkled. We rented highboy tables, linens, made beautiful arrangements. We cooked and baked ahead of time so we could relax and enjoy the party. It was elegantly relaxed.

    At the time of graduation, I had a screen printing studio and clothing line, so we set out all of our marketing collateral, clothing, etc for people to see my degree at work. I love when people set out work they did over their college career, its fun to watch it evolve.

    As for taking a trip- yes! My graduation took place way before the market crash in what I refer to as “the good ole days”, and plane tickets were ridiculously cheap. My brother had just moved to Maui and my parents and I went to visit. My best friend also purchased a ticket and joined us. It was one of the best trips I have ever taken- traveling at graduation is a really wonderful and memorable experience.

    Great ideas, it has inspired me to write up a graduation party entry… Thank you! πŸ™‚

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