What to Expect at Graduation Weekend
Graduation: It's been "right around the corner" for how long now? Except now, it actually is. You've got finals and papers and your last college bucket list items to cross off, worrying about graduation is the last thing you need on your plate. Here's a guide for everything you and your family entourage need to know for graduation weekend.
Double check Triple check your time and location
There are so many ceremonies. So. Many. I know your mom has probably checked 100 times when and where to go, but please. It's better to be safe than have ten extended cousins come all this way for nothing. Check the schedule here!
2. Know your location
Don't just know where it is; know what it is. Some locations requre tickets to be reserved in advance, so you definitely want to note that. Check the schedule for any location-specific information.
3. Guests: be on time (and that means early)
Thousands of graduating students + their families does not bode well for the already congested streets of Austin. Traffic will be a mess, parking will be a mess (see no. 5), and fighting the crowds to get seats, yeah, that'll be a mess. Many locations don't allow you to save seats, so if you want the whole fam together, make sure the whole fam is there with at least half an hour to spare.
4. Graduates: you too
This can be a stressful day all around, and there's no need to add to it by running late. Graduates should be at their location an hour in advance to ensure you get in the right order, have the correct name on your card, and have your beautiful cap and gown ensemble approved.
5. Know where to park
The university put out this handy-dandy guide that'll tell you the best parking location based on your ceremony. Remember that parking is free, but many people will be taking advantage of it! Budget in plenty of time to find a spot and walk to your ceremony.
6. Be ready to sit (and sit, and sit...)
These ceremonies are long. And the larger the program, the longer the ceremony. Make sure your phone is charged if you'll need entertainment. Also, many locations won't allow food or drinks, so eat before-hand.
7. The celebration dinner: beware
Many restaurants here in Austin won't even take reservations graduation week because of the crazy high volume of people. So either be ready to wait it out for a table, or maybe scope out an under-the-radar restaurant.
8. Don't miss out on the U-wide ceremony
The University-wide celebration is the highlight of the weekend for many. There are wonderful speakers, concerts, fireworks, and of course, the tower lit orange. There are many viewing locations (indoor and outdoor), and you can start seating at 5pm. Check out a full schedule of the event here.
Congrats, grads! You've almost made it. No matter how stressful or chaotic the big day is, you've made it through the 40 acres: you can handle it.