Graduation – from me to you
According to the great Google special means better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual and that is exactly how I felt on graduation day.
For most of you, your first graduation ceremony will be your own and I know for me that was pretty daunting. However, this nervous feeling is balanced out with a day filled with happy surprises and endless emotions. So if you're intrigued or just bored here's a re-telling of my fortunate events.
It was a 6 o'clock start with a house full of girls, heels were flying and bacon was sizzling. I'm not sure about everyone else but what would a memorable event be without the stress of being late. We arrived at the Michael Fowler Centre, the sun was surprisingly shining and there were hats for miles. I had already prepared myself for a long and sweaty day so I demanded to take photos beforehand. This turned out to be a blessing with the morning sunrise and considering I had a sweaty lip after the ceremony. So if you want some photos to remember I recommend going early and taking some around all the beautiful architecture Welly has to offer.
It was time to go in, the ushers make it feel like you’re going to be the last one, but don’t stress you've got plenty of time. If you haven't been to a graduation before it's quite a surprise. I went in expecting an old school assembly but it felt more like I was getting chosen for Gryffindor. Even though there was some forced singing and sitting it was much more enjoyable than I had thought. Our year was lucky enough to have a live performance by Louis Baker which would have made anyone cry. But let's get to what really matters, that scary, exciting moment when you get to walk across that stage. You’re next in line and It's like your life flashes before your eyes. In reality, all you have to do is smile, cause you made it. For my walk, I had planned a sneaky shaka but luckily, I forgot and instead turned to my lectures on stage and thanked them. I waved up towards who I thought was my family at the time until afterwards when they told me they were sitting in the opposite direction – so maybe check where they are sitting before you wave.
After managing not to trip across the stage you get your picture taken and go back to your seat to watch the rest of your year awkwardly walk across and grab that same piece of paper. Even though I didn't know everyone, I still felt just as proud as I would if it was a friend – not only did we all go through the same thing but we also made it out the other side. The best thing was watching the contentment, excitement and utter joy spread across everyone's faces as their name was called.
Then like most ceremonies, it all comes to an end and everyone tries to squish out like sardines. You are then invited to walk in the parade where they block off entire streets for you – that's pretty special. It had been hours and I was starving so walking another half hour wasn't really on the agenda. But when you're there with all your friends and the excitement it's something you definitely don't want to miss out on. Even if you do the first half then skip out for lunch it's worth it. During the parade, bystanders line up along the sidewalks waving and taking pictures of you. As soon as you put on that hat and cape it feels like you've turned into a superhero. It doesn't matter where you are and who knows you, if you're wearing it anyone on the street will smile because they know what you're celebrating and can't help feel happy for you.
So after it all if I can give any piece of advice it would be to just have fun, in the end it doesn't (really) matter what shoes you wore (wear comfy shoes) or what you did on stage. Just embrace the day and your achievements, spend it with loved ones and let yourself have that one moment.
When uni ended some might have stayed in Wellington whereas for others coming back for graduation was a trip down memory lane. Lucky for me I got to stay in the city I love with a job I love even more. While studying I worked part-time for Open Lab so when it came to that horrid time of the unknown I landed a job with these guys. That made my uni-real world transition a thousand times less stressful and exciting. Even if I was still left looking for jobs I felt ok because Open Lab had given me that industry experience I needed to present myself to the world.
Obviously, everyone's uni experience is different but for me it was a good one. It was probably the hardest and most annoying 4 years of my life but It taught me everything I needed to know, it taught me who I was as a person. Massey in particular are great at creating leaders and innovators. They look past the curriculum, teaching empathy, communication and encouraging students to use their creativity the way they choose. At Open Lab we are lucky to be a part of the Massey family, we get to stay in touch, see students work or pass on knowledge when someone's about to have a heart attack about their major project. I love that Open Lab’s sole purpose is to help and connect students and industry. So if you're still in that horrid unknown or just need a designer's advice feel free to ask us. You never know we might have the perfect job or know of the perfect typeface – a friendly email can go a long way.