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Student at graduation

Graduation is a time for celebration and while it may look a bit different this year, there’s no reason it can’t be just as memorable and special an occasion.

Covid-19 restrictions mean it’s simply not possible for us to have the usual ceremonies in Durham Cathedral, and we’re really sorry about this (we’re disappointed too!), but for that reason the Class of 2021 will have a unique story to tell about how you celebrated your achievements in the year that the world hit the pause button.

1 - Start the day off right

Kick off your celebration as you mean to go on with a slap up breakfast or brunch to start the day. Make sure to include some fizz (alcoholic or otherwise!) as bubbles are an important part of any celebration.  

2 - Decorate for the occasion and bake a cake

If you’re celebrating at home, decorate your home or garden in University or College colours – or both! Get creative in the kitchen and bake a cake with a graduation theme. It could be inspired by the beautiful city of Durham, the subject you studied here or the sports teams and societies you were part of as a student. Unleash your inner Mary Berry and make a cake big enough to share.

3 - Dress up

An important part of any graduation ceremony is choosing a special outfit to make you feel a million dollars in your photos. Dress up for the day – you can always re-wear your outfit when we’re able to all get together for celebrations.

4 - Do a photoshoot

Don’t waste that fabulous outfit – make sure you take lots of photos! We’ve created some print at home props you can use to make your photos stand out – simply download them, print them out and have fun with them! This is a great opportunity to get friends and family involved and create some amazing memories. Download the props here.

5 - Watch the official graduation ceremony for the Class of 2021

We may not be together in the cathedral, but there is still the official business of conferring your degree to attend to. Watch the official In Absentia conferral video to hear the speeches and formal conferral of your degree just as you would at an in person ceremony. Gather family and friends to watch together if you can! 

6 - Treat yourself

This day marks the end of a long journey and an incredible achievement. Treat yourself to a special gift to help you remember the day. If you’re stuck for inspiration, you can find some ideas here to help you remember your time at Durham:

7 - Share video messages with your friends

Ask all of your friends to record a short video message for you that you can play on the day (don’t peek too early!). Make sure you also record messages for them and then you can still share your best wishes and congratulations, even if you’re not together. This will be something you’ll always have to look back on and remember how great it was when you were all students together.

8 - Host a virtual graduation party

Set up a zoom party with your classmates or flatmates so that you can all get together for a toast, even if you’re far apart. It’s always good to get together with friends and graduation is a key time to do this. You could even host a quiz with questions only a Durham graduate would know the answers to!

9 - Share your day on social media

Let the world know about your achievements by sharing photos on social media using #DurhamGrad. We’d love to hear how you’re celebrating and all your happy memories of Durham so feel free to tag @durham_uni into your posts! Don’t forget to update your LinkedIn profile with your latest qualification!

10 - Don’t compare this to a ‘normal’ graduation

Try not to compare what graduation could have been like. We know this isn’t how you hoped to be celebrating, but hopefully you will still have a fantastic day filled with well earned congratulations. Make the most of a unique opportunity to celebrate graduation in a different way and we’ll see you in the cathedral as soon as we’re able.

Congratulations to the class of 2021 – you did it!