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How to celebrate graduation during lockdown

By Olivier Guiberteau• Last updated: Jun 26, 2023
How to celebrate graduation during lockdown
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Our world has changed. From how we study and how we shop, to the way we socialise - it feels like we are reinventing how we live daily. Pubs are slowly re-opening, and on some distant horizon, we might again be able to dance together in the thousands. But for those who are set to graduate from university in 2020, without actually having a graduation ceremony, it can be a difficult pill to swallow. One event that you have had your eyes on for years, is now suddenly going to look very different. But fear not, here are six ways to celebrate graduation during lockdown. 

1. Hold a virtual ceremony (party)

Yes I know, it will never be able to match the actual thing, but what else are you going to do instead? Watch Netflix? Universities will be having their own ceremonies, but why not hold your own. It can be with your entire year group, or maybe just a select group of friends. Dress to impress and throw on that cocktail dress or suit that is slowly gathering dust at the back of the wardrobe. Maybe you’d like something formal, or maybe you’re just looking for that excuse to start drinking at 11 am on a Tuesday. No judgment here - it is graduation after all! 

No doubt you’re well aware of a certain service known as zoom, but countless other options can be tailored to your own desires, such as smilebox which lets you create a virtual party exactly how you want to.  

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2. Put together a collaborative video montage

Graduation is about memories as much as it is about getting your hands on that long-awaited degree. And at this difficult time, one company is helping graduates put together a montage of memories that will live a lot longer than those hazy brain recollections.  

Tribute is a wonderful idea where groups of people can send individual videos which the company then pieces together and sends out to the whole group. Forget just in lockdown, this is an idea that should be done at any time and gives you that lasting memory that will make your blurry graduation memories a thing of the past. 

3. Recreate karaoke night online  

The days of linking arms drunkenly in a badly lit karaoke bar may be behind us for the time being, but why let trivialities get in the way of having a good time. Smule is already proving to be a huge hit with those craving to grab a microphone and belt out a 90s classic. Sing on your own or sing a group - or why not have a gigantic sing-along involving everybody. 

With over 10 million songs there is something for everybody (which also means there’s no excuse for not finding something you like). Our temporary virtual life, of course, cannot match the real thing, but with platforms like Smule, we can certainly give it a good go. 

4. Create a photo book with some vital life lessons 

There is something wonderful about holding a book in your hands, and even more so when it has been custom made for you and your friends.  

The Book of Everyone allows groups to create their very own book including photos and life lessons that graduates can take with them on their new journey in life, such as “never buy anything from somebody who is out of breath” wise words indeed. 

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5. Battle your friends online

OK, so maybe karaoke and sweet messages are just not your kinds of thing. Maybe you just want to shoot at each other from the comfort of your own home or explore vast virtual lands. The popularity of online gaming has exploded over the last ten years and these days when we are forced to be apart, it’s more popular than ever. For those who love nothing more than stalking their friends on Call of Duty, why not set up a special edition graduation event - and let the blood bath roll.   

But why stop at just playing the game. Students from the University of Pennsylvania have recreated their entire campus in Minecraft and while this is probably out of reach for many, it just goes to show that anything is possible - even at a time when it feels like nothing is possible. 

6. Just remember, there’s always next year

Unless you're involved in a Mars mission that none of us are aware of, why not just postpone the main event. Or better yet, do something virtual this year then plan a truly memorable welcome back party for when everything gets back to normal in the future. 

Not having a real graduation ceremony this year can be a difficult thing to accept, but why let it ruin the fun completely. What are we always told while staring at our pint of Guinness while it takes an eternity to settle? Good things come to those who wait. Why not use this setback to put together something truly extraordinary next year, or the year after. Not only do you finally get a real graduation party, but it’s a reunion party as well. Basically two parties for the price of one - you can’t go wrong there. 

Whatever you do you this year to celebrate graduation, put a date in the diary for the following year. 2020 is shaping up quite unlike any of us would ever have imagined, but normal life will resume - and you better be ready for it when it does.  

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Oli lives in London and is a writer and photographer.

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