The day is almost here. Students have worked for four years and more toward a college degree, and it all comes together with a bit of pomp and circumstance. There’s a lot that runs through students’ minds on graduation day. Here are a few little thoughts to get you prepared for walking day.
1. Yes, you look like a wizard from Harry Potter but so does everyone else so let’s move on.
When I graduated, both high school and college, I was slightly self-conscious about how weird I looked. Embrace the meaning of it all. You’re done! Yes, you’re wearing a silky tent and a piece of cardboard with a kitten toy hanging off the side, but what an accomplishment. We just celebrate by wearing funny clothes.
2. You won’t fall. If you do, I’ll give you $20.
This is my fifth school year working for Harding, and I’ve sat through a number of commencement ceremonies. Now I sit through four a year — three in the same day. But I can’t remember a time when anyone has fallen while walking up to get his or her diploma. If you fall, I will highlight your name in my program and mail you $20. Now all you have to worry about is making $20.
3. Be ready to smile for 2,000 photos.
Everyone gets a little crazy snapping photos. After graduations, I walk through the crowd outside the Benson crouching and covering my head like I’m in an ambush. It’s a big day, and it’s probably going to be a day you’ll want to remember down the road. So just take deep breaths and smile the day away.
4. Use #HUgrad16 to share photos and thoughts throughout the day.
5. All ceremonies will be live streamed at streaming.harding.edu.
6. Don’t take that hat off until you’re in the comfort of your own home.
Mortarboard hair is real, and it ain’t pretty. I’m looking at you, gentlemen. If you take your hat off, make sure someone helps your hair out a little. If not, you will not want those photos printed.=
7. That moment of “unrestrained exuberance” will hit you like a ton of bricks.
At the beginning of graduation, President McLarty will ask that members of the audience hold their applause and celebration until the end. Once that moment happens, a moment he calls “unrestrained exuberance,” the emotions of endings and leaving and saying goodbye that may not have happened yet very well might hit you all at once in this moment. Everyone is cheering and clapping, and you’ll feel like you just won the gold medal in academic excellence. It’s a big deal.
8. Humor your family. They will probably be more excited than you.
Your mom may cry. Your dad may give you 10 hugs and tell you how proud he is. Your grandparents will shine with pride for your accomplishments. Let them. Let them want to be around you all day. Let them take as many photos of you under the Harding University arch as they want. (But get there quick because people in that long line don’t mess around.) Let them celebrate you however they want to. You deserve to be celebrated.
Hannah Owens, director of digital media