Graduating from high school is a huge milestone in every student’s life. With our schools and personal lives consumed with COVID-19, many of the events that you may have been anticipating are being postponed or even cancelled.
I understand how hard it must be to grieve the loss of these celebrations while being sympathetic to the importance of social distancing during this time. Staple events like graduation, prom, senior skip day and celebration parties and dinners are being put on hold, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate your graduation from home!
Here are a few ways you can get excited about one of the most memorable times of your life, without breaking any isolation rules.
1. Host a Graduation Party
One of the best parts about graduating is being the centre of attention and pride for your family for a couple of weeks. You might not be able to get the whole family together or go out to that fancy restaurant you’ve been dreaming about, but there’s no reason why you can’t still celebrate from home!
Get everyone to dress up, just how they would for a graduation event. On your next run for essential groceries, pick up a few snacks, appetizers, cake and non-alcoholic champagne to pop. If you want to get really into it, order some decorations from Amazon.
Remember to take lots of pictures, play some of your favourite music and do a celebratory ‘walk’ across your kitchen floor–diploma in hand.
2. Backyard Photoshoots
Let’s be honest, taking photos of ourselves at prom and grad is the reason we get all dolled up. If you have access to a yard, a nearby park or even a clean living room, you’ve got all you need! Get dressed up in your planned outfit, recruit one of your parents or siblings, hand them a camera (or use portrait mode on your phone) and POSE! You’re not limited by time or weather, so get creative with it and even try a few different looks.
3. DIY Grad-Caps
The grad cap is a global symbol of the tradition of graduation. Flipping the tassel, throwing it high in the air when your whole class has walked across the stage… my school didn’t actually use them for my graduation, and I wish I thought of this hack when I was in high school! Amazon sells grad caps on their website if you’re not too crafty, but if you’re looking for a way to spend an afternoon, making your own grad cap is super easy. All you need is some construction paper, scissors and glue.
Decorating your cap is more than half of the fun! There are tons of inspiration videos on YouTube, and Pinterest is a great resource as well.
4. Memory Collage
I’m a really visual person, so I always relish in beautiful handcrafted items that symbolize my life or passions. Creating a collage of your high school memories, including photos, ticket stubs for concerts or dances, student cards, hobbies, special work and anything else that comes to mind is a wonderful way to celebrate the end of your high school journey. And, they’re super easy to make with the right materials.
If you’re already a crafter (or someone in your family is) you probably have ModPodge in your house. ModPodge is essentially a waterbased sealant/glue that dries completely clear, which makes it perfect for collaging. While I’ve been quarantining, I’ve made two different ModPodge collage boards with images I cut out from magazines like National Geographic, The New Yorker, Ryerson print materials, playbills from musicals I saw and basically anything I found around my house that I thought I could stick onto a canvas or poster board. ModPodge is really versatile, and you could also use it to apply cutouts to notebooks or cellphone covers.
You just want to take your photos/souvenirs, position them how you want them on the page, then paint the surface with clear glue or ModPodge. Once it’s stuck down, paint over it again with the sealant to secure it and give it a beautiful finish.
Here’s how mine turned out!
5. End of Year Video
If you’re not as crafty, you can still collate and celebrate your favourite memories with a video. Scroll through your camera roll and Snapchat memories and save photos and videos to your phone (you can even ask your friends to send their favourite videos) from as far back as you can go in your high school career, and put them into a free software. If you have an iPhone or a Mac, iMovie is included for free and it’s really easy to use. Using iMovie or other editing apps like Adobe Rush will give you a lot of freedom to trim clips, speed them up and add a voiceover or whatever music you feel like. If you’re less tech-savvy, there are even free apps like Magisto and Splice that basically put together the video for you.
Choose a song that represents you and your high school memories, and share it with your classmates or post it on your IGTV.
6. Thank-You Emails
You probably thought you’d see your teachers one last time to say goodbye and thank them before summer. Unfortunately, that’s not a reality anymore, but your teachers are still thinking about you!
I guarantee that each of the teachers that has played an important role in your high school career would love to hear from you. Take the time to write personal messages to your teachers over email, share updates about your life and thank them for the impact they’ve made on you over the years. It’s not just our friends we leave behind when we graduate, its also the adults that made it happen. Remind them how awesome they are–they’ll appreciate it more than you know.
How ever you choose to celebrate, remember that this is still your moment. You should feel so proud of your accomplishments in high school and even more excited about the next phase of your life! We might be stuck inside, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun.