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Phoenix Forward magazine

7 graduation tips to make your day memorable

It’s your moment. After so many homework assignments, late-night study sessions and personal sacrifices, the time has finally arrived for all your efforts to be acknowledged at graduation. So you’ll want to ensure that the day goes off without a hitch.

“It’s important to realize that your commencement is a life event and to treat it as such from the planning standpoint,” says Marla Sheiner, director of national event marketing for University of Phoenix.

With that in mind, here are tips to minimize stress on your big day:

Pick a meeting spot.

In addition to figuring out where you’ll hook up with friends and family, think about the classmates or instructors you’ll want to meet up with, Sheiner says, and determine a gathering spot in advance.

Make sure your phone is charged.

The University of Phoenix National Commencement ceremonies in Phoenix are large events that will last at least two hours, so your phone will be your lifeline to loved ones, especially if they can’t spot you in the sea of caps and gowns. Fully charge your cellphone before you leave the hotel, and carry a spare battery, if possible.

Bring your best small camera.

“Large, bulky cameras won’t be allowed on the floor,” explains Jackie Klecka, marketing and event communications manager for the University. A good-quality, small to medium-size camera is your best bet to preserve your memories.

Not happy with the camera choices in your closet? “University of Phoenix will also have professional photographers on-site,” Klecka notes, “and graduates can order prints at a later date.”

Keep comfort in mind for your feet.

“It’s important to wear comfortable shoes, especially for the ladies,” Klecka recommends. “Anticipate that you will be standing, walking and navigating stairs — all on camera for a live feed, which will run over the Internet.” She also suggests bringing a second pair of easy-to-wear shoes for the reception after the ceremony.

Dress appropriately.

“Most students dress business casual under their gowns,” Sheiner notes. “But don’t wear anything too warm.” The weight of a three-piece suit under a full-length gown for two hours in a capacity-crowd arena could easily make you uncomfortable during the ceremony.

Carry business cards.

“Commencement is a huge opportunity to network and meet other alumni from all over the world,” Klecka points out. “You never know where your path may lead, and creating relationships is a key to your success in the global business environment today.”

There are numerous inexpensive resources online to have business cards made. “Or,” she says, “get an app that allows transference of data with other smartphones.”


Remember to smile.

The National Commencement ceremonies will be broadcast live over the Internet on phoenix.edu. “These [two] taped events will live in perpetuity on our website, accessible to anyone who would like to watch the National Commencement exercises,” Sheiner emphasizes, “so being in your happy space when you step on the stage is a great idea.”