It’s graduation season. Credit NTU via Flickr.
You did it. After three years of lectures, seminars, sleeping until 2pm, procrastination and occasional financial ruin, you’re graduating from university. But this moment is about more than getting through higher education, isn’t it? A degree is the academic endpoint of everything you’ve packed into your brain over the past 15 plus years. Remember that day in Year 9, when the mercury hit 28 degrees and the sun was so bright it made you squint in the shade? You missed it all because you were in set 2 maths, being told how it was definitely important to learn the difference between sin, cos and tan.
You probably haven’t thought about trigonometry since, but even that was a tiny part of the process that brought you to this day: After all the lessons, revision and exams, you’re a graduate. Well, you will be once you’ve walked across that stage and received your degree at the graduation ceremony. It sounds simple enough, but if you’re young, Muslim, and not privy to the alcohol consumption contests that these events often entail, then it isn’t always as easy as it looks.
Right now, thousands of people in the UK are receiving their degrees while wearing a funny hat. YOU might be one of them, so here’s everything you go through at graduation when you’re Muslim. Starting with one for the girls.
Seeing as the enduring symbol of any graduation is the mortarboard you have to affix to your head, you may briefly fear that the funny hat may disrupt your hijab’s fleek-ness. From our minor research, it does not. And even if does, you’ll lob it in the sky later in the day anyways, so then you can just forget about it.
Paying Over £100 Just to Show up
Fair warning: if you think this blog will contain media beyond gifs of graduation fails, you’re wrong.
Considering many graduates will soon be in upwards of £30,000 of debt, you’ve almost got to respect the gall of universities for charging students to attend their own graduation. Nine grand a year tuition? Well we need £40 for the robe, too. £100 p/w student accommodation? Your funny hat costs £20. Fifty quid just so mum and dad can get two tickets to watch you walk? Well, the bit of paper with your degree on it is £60 on its own, so what’s £50 more?
Many students justify this because they can sink a few glasses of ‘free’ champagne while chowing down on some canapés. But as you’re keeping it halal, you just have to take the L and smile for the cameras.
Not Being Hungover
Having said that, you’ll feel remarkably fresh in comparison to most of your fellow graduates. Many of them would’ve spent the previous night (week, month, term) treating their liver like a piñata. So while you may not be able to dull the pain of the ticket price by guzzling fizz, at least you won’t wish your mortarboard came with a complimentary IV drip.
Awkwardly Introducing Your Friends to Your Parents
The friends you made at university will probably be your friends for life. However, some of the friends you made at university will probably be your friends for about three more hours, so if it’s a bit awks when you introduce them to your parents it’s NBD.
Your mum and dad are here to see you graduate, not to interrogate your peers about your study habits or questionable Facebook activity over the last three years. So let them have a few quick hellos and ask them to take pics of you and your mates. This is a happy day. No need to feel awkward.
Being Seated Next to Someone Who was on Your Course but You’ve Never Spoken to
Few people remember that Paul Walker (RIP) sat next to Lil’ Kim during the graduation scene in She’s All That. OK. Thanks.
There was probably a point at the very beginning of uni when you introduced yourself to this person, but you can’t remember. There were probably lectures where you sat next to each other, and moments you passed in the student union. But for whatever reason, you’ve never actually spoken to them (beyond the ‘hi I’m XYZ’ at the start of year one). Now the laws of the alphabet have brought you together in adjacent seats, so you’ll spend most of the ceremony making odd small talk about the module you maybe possibly definitely both did back in second year.
Whispering Your Prayers Before You go on Stage
Finally, the moment has come. After three (or more) years of study you’re on the cusp of clasping that degree in your highly-educated fist. You’ll shake the hand of the Chancellor – the most powerful person in the university faculty – whose name you probably don’t know. You’ll catch your family cheering in the crowd. You’ll walk off a graduate, your whole life ahead of you.
But like any normal person, you’re worried about tripping as you walk up the stairs to the stage. In an effort to avoid this, you’ll quickly whisper Bismillah just before your name is called.
Over-analysing the Handshake with the Chancellor of the University
The handshake with the Chancellor can actually throw your brain into a bit of a loop. Here’s the head of the university, the person who calls the shots, the leader who ultimately decides what to do with your £9,000 a year. And as we mentioned above, you probably didn’t know their name until 20 minutes ago.
So here’s what will happen on the day: you’ll wait to walk on stage. You’ll wonder how firm you should grip the hand. You’ll consider saying something beyond ‘thank you’ when they give you your degree. You’ll briefly wonder if you should, in fact, leave them hanging and hit the dab instead. And by the time all of this has passed through your head, you’ll already be off the other side of the stage.
Wondering if the Nibbles are Halal
As we mentioned earlier the nine million pounds you spend on graduation will not only rent you a ceremonial robe + hat but also limited access to complimentary booze and nibbles. Obviously the former is out of bounds but the latter may very well be fair game. The only issue is whether or not it’s halal.
To avoid potential pitfalls, you will probably stick with the canapés which are definitely vegetarian. If you risk the oatcake that looks like it’s smeared with a generous portion of pork terrine, you’ll probably end up eating a generous portion of pork terrine.
Then again, it is 2017, so we reckon most unis – with their welcoming, inclusive campuses – will probably serve pretty good halal options, if not vegetarian.
Saying ‘Keep in Touch’ to Someone You’ll Never see Again
Keep in touch. Go on. Credit: NTU via Flickr.
We hate to be a bit of a downer but the demands of real life mean you’ll only remain close with the people you really, really like. Cue half-baked promises to keep in touch with classmates you probably won’t see again.
But remember. There’s always social media. If you feel compelled to have a reunion at some point in the future, then do it. As people graduate and roll into their late twenties and thirties, they appreciate the industrious pal who makes sure everyone bothers to socialise during adulthood. That can be you.
Family Members Asking ‘So What are You Going to do now?’
LOL. Credit: bensonk42 via Flickr.
Here it is. The worst question to ever ask a graduate. Be prepared, this one is going to fly at you on the day. Chances are your parents will ask first, and although it may be hard to believe, they’ll probably be happy with whatever answer you give. You’re their kid! As long as you don’t say ‘pursue a life of crime’ they’ll be proud of you.
Your friends may ask you, but seeing as they could be incredibly apprehensive about the future themselves, they might not.
The most important thing to remember on graduation day is that you don’t have to determine the rest of your life as soon as the degree is in your hand.