The Union Blog

My Graduation Experience

Graduation is highly anticipated, it’s the result of three to four years of University and an accumulation of all of your hard work. Walking across the stage to collect your degree certificate seems like the most daunting thing possible in front of thousands of people, not to mention the live stream broadcast globally. But what really happens and what tips can we give? 

The run up 

Everyone is allocated up to 4 tickets for their loved ones, but what if you want more? Not to worry - there’s a secondary release where you can purchase more. Plenty of students bring along 5 or more family members / friends so don’t panic. It’s also no problem to have less than 4, it’s completely up to you. 

Tip: You’re encouraged to pre order your gowns before the ceremony, however as long as you don’t mind paying a £5 fee there’s no shortage of gowns on the day. It’s well organised and quick to arrange if you need to do it last minute (thankfully). 

The ceremony 

They advise the ceremony will take 1.5 hours, but it was closer to 2 hours, so bring water! It’s a massive ceremony hall in the Brighton Centre on the seafront, with rows and rows of students and family. There’s a video montage from various famous Brighton Alumni to start – with several appearances from Fat Boy Slim - and speeches from the Vice Chancellor Debra Humphries.

Going on stage 

Don’t worry about getting to the stage, there are stewards who direct you where to walk and a backstage area with a ramp you walk up in order of your seating plan (so the spokeswoman calls the right name). Your name gets called, you walk across the stage and greet the Vice Chancellor (shake hands, hug, high five – your choice!) and then walk off the other side of the stage. 

Tip: It’s all in a straight line and there’s no stairs to get on or off stage, women rejoice! But still make sure to wear comfortable shoes as it’ll be a long day. Also there is a camera on you until you leave the stage, so don’t forget to keep smiling! 

Drinks reception 

There is a drinks reception after the ceremony where you can mingle with everyone, just make sure to find your family ASAP as you may exit opposite sides of the hall. Enjoy the reception and take a deep breath you made it across the stage without falling over – it’s a myth that people do, a trip very rarely ever even happens! 


Weather permitting the seafront outside the Brighton Centre is the perfect spot to take photos – get the i360 and the West Pier in the background! Go outside with your gowns on and make sure to get that ‘cap throw’ shot. 

Tip: Anyone who’s lived in Brighton knows the seafront is super windy, so remember to bear this in mind when choosing your graduation outfit. Girls - no short floaty dresses, you’ll thank us later. 

Enjoy it! 
Nerves overwhelm in the run up to Graduation, but relax. Looking back, I would have told myself to enjoy it more – it’s a great day to celebrate with your course mates, tutors and family. Make the most of seeing everyone again as you don’t know when the next opportunity will be! 

Embrace the day and be proud of your achievements, it’s what you came to University for at the end of the day.

Wrap up and looking to the future… 

As a recent graduate myself I’m so happy to have finished my four years on a high! No one will tell you University is easy, but it opens doors for you and helps you develop as a person. Make friends for life and remember the end goal. 

It’s around a week since Graduation Week 2019 and some peers have jobs and are working, some are about to travel the world, and some are enjoying their free time looking for the right next step. My next step has taken me 300 miles up north to work full time and start paying off my student debts... Where will your University experience take you? 

Any further queries about your Graduation ceremony or University, contact us at


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