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21st April 2016

Project Parent: the inevitable embarrassment of graduation day

What’s the worst that can happen when your friends and parents get together for one big, embarrassing occasion?

There are only two camps who are exempt from being embarrassed by their parents. There’s those who are best buddies with their exceptionally cool parents and all their friends can ring up your mum Jocelyn anytime they like, and there’s those who are so chilled and laid back that they see no reason to be embarrassed.

Sure, your mum may have turned up looking like she’s Princess Eugene at Ascot and your dad hasn’t worked out how to put his phone on silent so his BBC News notifications won’t stop going off, but why should that bother you? You’re your own person.

For the rest of us, graduation is potentially going to be a bumpy ride. Never before has there been such a minefield for disaster. Nicknames that you casually chuck about at uni are going to have to be thoroughly vetted, lest you have to explain in detail why your friend Mike is being called ‘Juiceifer’ and no, he doesn’t work at a smoothie place.

Similarly, now might be the time to warn your friends that Mum and Dad are not going to ‘lol’ at that hilarious story where you vomited into your bag and fell asleep on your friend’s doorstep. Nor the one where you did 48 hours of work straight because you’d left it until the last minute and then had an unfortunate incident with some energy drinks. Definitely not the one where you took home ‘Rick’, sang him ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ and realised the next morning that his name was Nick. NO. None of these.

Talk about that great day trip to the Lowry Museum, the hilarious time that Sarah accidentally burnt the sausages one Sunday morning and other equally tame situations. Once you’ve set the ground rules for conversation between parents and friends, now all you have to worry about is your mum potentially sobbing through the ceremony or shouting when you go up.

If you’ve got older siblings or your dad went to uni himself, he will most likely spend the majority of the day comparing prior graduation ceremonies and admiring the architecture. Seemingly harmless, until the whole family realises that your older brother Tim is now going to need therapy after the three hour period of your Dad indirectly telling him his 2:2 degree in Economics from Bangor University is worth shit if we’re basing it on graduation ceremonies.

Generally though, just treat it as what it is—a highly embarrassing day to celebrate you scraping that degree, with you getting to wear a floor length black cape and a cap.


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