7 creative ways to celebrate graduation

With the official UBC virtual graduation ceremony around the corner, our newest alumni share their graduation experiences and tips for creating lasting memories. Here are seven creative ways to celebrate graduation this spring:

1. Dine al fresco

“Although this may not have been the graduation we expected, my tip is to make the most of what you have and elevate something familiar! When the weather is nice, my family will usually host a lot of dinners in my backyard. Since we can’t have all of our loved ones over, we decided to make this graduation celebration special by decorating a corner of the backyard with lights and flowers. The transformation made us feel like we were celebrating on a rustic restaurant patio, yet we were still in the comfort of our yard. Additionally, we bought some fancy snacks and got a bottle of wine from a family-favourite winery! Celebrating with two people who supported me the most through this degree made it an extremely memorable experience.”

– Chelsea Marie Bigsot, Faculty of Nursing

2. Hold an at-home ceremony

“We did a ceremony and my parents were the officiants. They moved the tassel from the right to the left, officially symbolizing my graduation.”

– Arshdeep Purba, Faculty of Science

3. Celebrate with dessert

“If I could take away anything from this past year, it is to embrace uncertainty. I feel that, as a graduating class, we definitely embraced all the change we’ve had to undergo and to finish our final year. My biggest advice is to not let your accomplishments go unnoticed. Your final year is the last leg of the race, and we’ve all worked tirelessly to get here so remember to take the time and safely celebrate with your family and friends — whether it’s getting on a Zoom call or having a small celebration at the park. And my favourite way to celebrate is with some dessert — so grab yourself some cake! Take the time to reflect on all your hard years of work, all those early morning coffee runs and late-night study sessions — they’ve paid off. And now, you can go out and make a difference in this world.”

– Aswathy Kumanan, Bachelor of Human Kinetics

4. Plan a picnic

“The biggest tip I would give is to bring the grad celebrations with you. Go to your favourite outdoor place in town (mine is the lake), and take your immediate family or two close friends with you. Bring some grad decorations (e.g. balloons, sparklers), and have fun! Explore the area and celebrate this achievement. Bring your favourite food — you can have a mini picnic or cut cake.”

– Sayma Hussain, Faculty of Engineering

Student in graduation gown, posing with her parents at an outdoor celebration
Photo by Darren Hull

5. Pop open the bubbles

“Graduation is a very special moment in every student’s journey, a chance to celebrate their hard work in earning their degree. Even though this year’s graduation is once again virtual, we can still spice it up and have an amazing time celebrating in the comfort of our homes. My family and I celebrated virtual graduation by having a backyard party with immediate family, following all the protocols. A champagne pop is a must (or a non-alcoholic sparkling juice)!”

– Arshdeep Purba, Faculty of Science

6. Hold a virtual social with fellow grads

“Have a virtual call with fellow grad friends from across the globe, play grad-themed games, quiz each other on UBC trivia or exchange gifts.”

– Sayma Hussain, Faculty of Engineering

7. Plan a graduation photoshoot

“Dressing up always boosts the mood. We decorated our backyard with a gorgeous balloon arch and graduation-themed décor, balloons, flowers, candles, a message board and props. We took so many beautiful pictures to capture the moment. Of course, we had to take some pictures with a graduation cap and confetti poppers.”

– Arshdeep Purba, Faculty of Science

Student in graduation gown, tossing cap in the air while celebrating from home
Photo by Darren Hull

You did it! Years of hard work, dedication, late nights and early mornings. Ups and downs, successes and struggles. Amidst the pandemic, stress piled on, but you did it.

Things can move fairly quickly after you graduate — you may be moving or starting a new job, and before you know it, graduation celebrations will have come to an end and you will be on to your next chapter. Take time to be present in this moment, and in the next weeks before your graduation, consider making a list of things you would like to do to commemorate your accomplishments. Check out our graduation bucket list with even more ideas to get you started.

As one final thought, make sure you take time to recharge now. For some, this means spending time in nature, while for others it may be enjoying a Netflix marathon, treating yourself to a spa day or having an agenda-free day. Make it a lifetime priority to care for your mental health, and schedule time for self-care activities that help you recharge.

We will be celebrating alongside you at UBC’s virtual graduation on June 2. Be sure to tag us in your social media celebration photos and stories using #UBCOgrad and #UBCgrad so we can follow along.

Congratulations, graduates! Welcome to the alumni UBC family.