4 Ways I’m Considering Celebrating My Graduation

Creative ways to commemorate this major accomplishment during COVID-19
Diamond standing in front of the stone fountain in the Quad

No doubt, COVID-19 has created complex circumstances for many across the world. If you’re a spring semester graduate like me, you may feel the need to tie up loose ends before virtually walking across the stage. But with stay-at-home guidelines, the options for celebrating look different than normal.

Still, it’s important to bask in the glory of such a tremendous milestone. Virtual ceremonies just might not feel like the real thing, or even feel like enough of a commendation for the hard work put into the years of such a valuable journey. So, it’s important to reflect and think about what could help you, individually, celebrate and be proud of your place in the class of 2020.

A Visual Walk Down Memory Lane

So, remember that concert you went to or your spring break trip and how you flooded your social media feeds with photos and probably a few Instagram slideshows? Try doing the same to highlight some of your favorite memories throughout your college experience. Get creative and create an actual visual timeline starting from your freshman year to now and what it has meant to you to make it to the finish line. Revisiting times that made you stronger, or that you simply enjoyed, are great for realizing this moment still matters and there’s much more to come.

Diamond in New York City during a student journalism event
A big moment for me came in December 2019, when I visited New York City after I was selected to attend the IRTS Multicultural Career Workshop for student journalists across the country. Fun fact: I had made it a goal to visit NYC before the end of my senior year, and I did it. Super cool experience!


Be a Creative Director for a Day

Lately I’ve been extremely inspired by the talent on display on social media. More so, through aspiring photographers and individuals who are creating home photo shoots for fun, while at the same time boosting their portfolio. From bed sheet backgrounds to home gardens or impressive shoe collections, these folks are creating full-blown shoots that could honestly be placed in our mainstream magazines. You can do the same!

If you’re one of the many who couldn’t schedule graduation photoshoots with your cap and gown or put your respective themes to the test, use this time at home and your environmental surroundings to do so. Throw on your cap and gown and take advantage of nature and all it has to offer. Art supplies are collecting dust in your bedroom closet, so get your Dave LaChapelle on!

one girl takes a phone photo of another girl in the background surrounded by falling confetti
I've been really impressed by the people creating their own photo shoots at home. Photo by Amanda Vick


Party for 10 (or fewer)

Staying within social distancing rules, groups of 10 or less is enough for an intimate gathering. Make it even better by hosting a small party with just your immediate family. Also, consider using video chat platforms such as Facetime, Zoom, Skype and the live feature through Facebook and Instagram to connect with family and friends who aren’t able to be there. Take advantage of Amazon Prime for 2020 graduation-themed decorations, in addition to food, games and a playlist of some of your favorite songs you’ve curated from your undergraduate or graduate years. Everyone loves a good karaoke session!

pink desserts with sprinkles on a table covered in green confetti and party hats
Grab some treats and your favorite tunes and make it a fun day with your family. Photo by Brooke Lark


In the words of Parks and Recreation’s Donna, “Treat Yo Self!” (or let others do it for you)

Having you been eyeing a pair of shoes, some new tools for a favorite hobby or something else? Feel free to get a congratulations gift for yourself — or make a wish list for others, just like birthdays, baby showers and wedding receptions. After all, you deserve to be celebrated, and if people are asking you if there’s some way they can help you celebrate, don’t feel bad about sharing that list. Or maybe you want to start a cash gift “Recent College Graduate Fund.” Whatever it is, don’t feel bad if people who know and love you — including yourself — want to celebrate with a gift.

On the other side of the spectrum, you don’t at all have to spend money to celebrate. After months — no, years — of studying and finals, you deserve to spend some quality time relaxing. Treat yo self. On your graduation date, cook your favorite foods, get dessert and binge your favorite series or film franchise. I already have my corny rom-com list lined up.


Vacation Countdown

Within the next couple of months, or maybe throughout the rest of the year, traveling won’t be the first thing most people think to do after the lockdown is lifted. However, there’s always next year with the hope that conditions have improved. So, with the time you’ve got during quarantine, use it to plan a vacation as a treat for earning your degree. Create a group chat for any friends you would want to invite and start brainstorming destinations and travel details. Aim for somewhere you’ve always wanted to go and let yourself consider the possibilities. Maybe a weekend at the cabin transforms into an entire week on an island. Anyone else feel like celebrating with tropical treats and swimming with the dolphins?

looking up to the tops of palm trees
Anyone else feel like they need a vacation after all this? Photo by Tim Foster

Whatever you decide to do, just make sure you do something to mark this incredible accomplishment. The #Classof2020 is strong and resilient and has a lot to be proud of!

Published: May 5, 2020
Posted In: Student Life

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