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10 Tips to Prepare Yourself for Graduation Day

10 Tips to Prepare Yourself for Graduation Day

Graduation day is an exciting time, but you want to make sure you plan ahead so you can truly enjoy it. Here are ten tips to make your graduation day go smoothly!

1. Keep up with your schoolwork

First things first, if you want to enjoy your big graduation day, make sure you do the work to get there! It’s easy to get caught up in college applications or just celebrating your senior year with friends, but make sure you’re still doing your schoolwork and keeping your grades up.

If you need motivation or a helping hand, you can look to parents, teachers, or your guidance counselor for advice and assistance. Plus, there are tons of great organizations devoted to helping students reach their dream of graduating and heading to a better college! Here’s an example of heart-touching story of Christopher Yanov who helped many such students get scholarships and transformed their lives. You can’t expect a better helping hand than this.

2. Plan for the future

Though it may sometimes seem like high school is going to last forever, senior year will be over before you know it and you need to have a plan for life after graduation.  Whether that means going off to college, joining the workforce or travelling the world, you need to start planning for it before graduation.

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If you are headed to college, make sure you have your finances in order, too, from filling out FAFSA to applying for scholarships. Last year, in 2015, these 7 students cracked Gates Scholarships of more than $500,000 each. When things are already planned out, you will feel way better, when you walk across that stage to get your diploma as you have done everything to make sure your college dream can become a reality!

3. Create a schedule

From dealing with college applications to planning the day of your graduation, you have a lot of things to organize during your senior year. To make sure you stay on track, draw up a schedule for yourself.  If you have scholarship or school application deadlines, add them to your calendar.

If you need to request graduation tickets or order your cap and gown by a particular time, put those on the calendar too. Even for things that might not have specific deadlines, it’s a good idea to come up with some dates to aim for, just to keep yourself on track. If you do everything on your calendar in time, your graduation day will be a piece of cake!

4. Get senior pictures

Senior pictures aren’t just for the yearbook, they’re the photos your parents will frame and you’ll want to give copies of to your friends. Lots of people choose to go to a professional photographer to do a special photo shoot for their senior year. You can take formal pictures as well as more casual ones like snaps of you doing your favorite activity, from football to ballet to hanging out with your family dog.

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Just be sure to schedule your photos early, because lots of other people will want to take their senior pictures around the same time. Plus, you need to make sure you get them in time to get them in the yearbook and have copies ready to share with friends.

5. Send announcements

It’s a tradition to send graduation announcements out a few months before the big day to let everyone, from your grandparents to your neighbors, know about the big day. It’s basically a formal way for your parents to brag about you. You’ll want to order invitations in advance to make sure you have time to send them out well in advance of your actual graduation day.

6. Invite friends and relatives

For an occasion as important as graduation, you want to have your closest friends and family in attendance. Schools often have a policy where they reserve a couple of tickets for each student right off the bat, but you may be able to request a few additional tickets if you get around to it early enough. Once you’ve made sure there will be seats available go ahead and invite your friends and relatives.

7. Order your cap and gown

Every graduation picture you see features happy students properly wearing gowns and tossing their caps into the air. If you want to be one of them, though, you have to remember to order your cap and gown in time for the ceremony. Usually a salesperson will come to your school with order forms or you’ll receive information from the school about how to order them online.

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This can also be a good time to get a class ring or any other graduation paraphernalia you might want. Or, if the cost of the cap and gown are a little steep for you, there are also options to rent or buy used.

8. Pick your outfit

While it’s not quite prom, graduation is still an important event and one definitely worth dressing up for! You’ll be walking across a stage, having your picture taken and spending time with all of your closest friends and family, so you want to find a nice looking outfit for the occasion.

Guys usually wear a suit or nice pants with a shirt, and girls usually opt for a nice dress, though, of course, you should wear whatever you feel comfortable in. Also, be sure to plan ahead for the weather – graduation can be really hot, especially if it is an outdoor ceremony, so try to pick something light.

9. Get gifts for teachers

Yes, graduation is supposed to be about celebrating all of your hard work, but it’s also a time to recognize your teachers for helping you along the way. Usually the last day or so of classes is a good time to give something to teachers to show your appreciation.

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If you’re strapped for cash, you can just write a nice card to a few of your favorite teachers or bake them some cookies!  Just be sure to think about it in advance or before you know it you’ll be done with classes and it will be too late!

10. Plan your celebration!

Whether you just want to go out for a nice dinner with your family after the ceremony or you want a graduation party full of friends (or both!), be sure you make your plans in advance. Since there will likely be a lot of people planning graduation celebrations around the same time, you’ll need to start planning early.

If you want a graduation party, plan it for a weekend before or after graduation—people will have too much going on during graduation weekend itself! For getting dinner the night of graduation, remember that most other graduates will have the same idea, so you want to get a reservation at your favorite restaurant before it’s all filled up!

Graduation is an important and exciting day – just be sure to get ready for it in advance so you can enjoy it, when the day comes. After all, you are marking the end of over a decade of grade school – that’s going to take some celebrating!

Featured photo credit: pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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