Rules for Attending Graduations

“Graduates, I ask that you move your tassels from the right side of your cap to the left. You’re officially graduates of NCC.” I probably shouldn’t put quotes around that. I’m not actually sure what the President of NCC said last night when my friend graduated. Why? Not because I was preoccupied, nor was my attention lacking. I couldn’t hear a lot of what he said, I could, however, hear everything the people in front of and next to me were chatting about though. As I attended another college graduation last night, I was reminded that it seems some people lack social etiquette. As I attend my alma mater’s commencement tomorrow, I’m hoping for a better experience than last night. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled I was able to be there for my friend, after all, she feels like family, I just wish i could have experienced the entire ceremony.) That said, I present a few basic (what I thought were common sense) rules of how to act at a graduation…

If you talk, keep it quiet and short.
Of course when you sit through a multi-hour ceremony of any sort, you are probably going to have a comment or two about what’s happening that you want to share with those you are sitting with. And by that, I mean the people you came with, not every family within spitting distance. Graduations are not a time for you to start talking about the project you’re working on at the office, or about some ailment you have that should be kept in the family. Full blown conversations, especially if you don’t know how to whisper, are only distracting to those around you and make you come off as rude.

Proper use of cell phones.
One, keep them on silent. I’m well aware that no one wants to hear Irish rock blast from my phone during the ceremony — and I don’t want to hear Lady Gaga or Jay-Z blasting from yours. All phones have the ability to be turned to vibrate or silent, learn to use that function.
Two, whatever you do, don’t pick up your phone mid-graduation to carry on a conversation (see above). And to the man sitting in front of me to the right, use of a blue tooth does not make it better.
Three, use of your phone to text, check your e-mails, tweet or take pictures is all OK! I texted during my own graduation, my sister’s and well, any other graduation I’ve been to. I’m not glued to the keyboard, just using it sporadically, and typically using it to communicate with the graduate. Tweeting, playing games, doing whatever you want with your apps is OK too. Graduations are long, especially when 500+ names are being called. Keep yourself occupied, but remember you should only be entertaining yourself, not everyone around you too.

I love balloons, but not in my face.
Balloons are great for parties and pictures, but they are not meant for blocking my view. If you want to give your graduate balloons, leave them in the car until after the ceremony. As much as you try to keep them low, they will blow around, get loose and end up in front of someone else’s face.

Some cheering is OK
Cheering, applauding and the like is great to show support to your loved one. But remember to keep it low key so you don’t distract anyone else from missing hearing their graduate’s name called.

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