Ten Things Not to Do at Graduation Time

The inspiration for this list is the fact that it is graduation season. When you think of all the graduations that are being held in the US alone, you realize the potential exists that these ten things occur with similar results. I hope you enjoy the list and can manage to avoid them.

a graduation


Ten Things Not to Do at Graduation Time

10 If you are a graduate, do not put something dumb on your mortar. If you do, at best even if your family sees you they will not want to admit you belong to them. At worst the picture taken of your message will go viral and will show up every time someone searches your name on Google including prospective employers.

9 If you are a parent of a graduate, do not blow any type of horn when your child receives their diploma. If you do, at best you will cause your kid to want to find another home. At worst, that big over trained guy in front of you is fighting a hangover and will help you stow your horn where you will not want it stored.

8 If you are a speaker at a graduation, do not tell the graduates that the world is looking to them for salvation. If you do, at best your cliché will remind everyone just how out of it you are. At worst, your words will be quoted in some satirical publications who will point out just how many times graduating classes heard the same words throughout the millennium.

7 If your graduate has decided to skip the ceremony, do not fight the decision. If you do, at best your child will make attending the ceremony sound like parental abuse. At worst the child will attend with something dumb written on the mortar to the tune of “my parents made me do this,” and you can expect the message broadcasted worldwide.

6 If your family is experiencing a graduation, do not think this is indicates your job as a parent is complete. If you do, at best you will be surprised by requests for help as like commences. At worst, you will need counseling to overcome the feeling of failure as your child s to move into your spare room.

5 If you are the graduation ceremony organiser, do not think everything will run smoothly because of your careful planning. If you do at best, you will be unprepared when something goes wrong, and there is a long period where no one can hear the speaker. At worst, you will not know what to do with a thousand Champaign corks bouncing off the facility and school officials even though you banned the presence of alcohol at the ceremony.

4 If you are holding a graduation party, do not leave your house even though you trust your loving child to be trustworthy and in control. If you do, at best a few more guests who were not expected will attend with little consequence. At worst, the state police will looking for you to help fund the fire department, EMS and SWAT team expenses that were incurred to break up the party and put out the fire destroying yours and two neighbor houses

3 If you have a graduate, do not over do the gift. If you do, at best your child will expect a similar prize for other accomplishments. At worst, someday it will need to be replaced and the words about the child being on their own when you gave the gift are forgotten.

2 If you are attending a graduation ceremony, do not treat the event as if it is a football game. If you do, at best you will get strange looks when you enter the stand with the team colors and jersey. At worst, you will get a lot of people wanting to buy the bratwurst you are grilling at your tailgate gathering.

1 If you have a graduate, do not keep telling them how amazed you are that they made it through school. If you do, at best they will think you did not have faith in their abilities. At worst, you will give the child a complex that will be manifest in the longing for a career in fast food service as a grill person.


  1. But what if it is amazing that they graduated? I know a few people that everyone swore would be in high school longer than some of the teachers, but they got out with a diploma. Then again, the school might just have wanted to be rid of them.

    1. Ha ha ha . This was what happened to a friend of mine. He promised the school he would never go to college. They graduated him and he never went to college.

      1. Smart move. What did he do after graduating?

      2. Became an automotive designer.

  2. You can make this stuff up John, but I think most of this actually happens 🙂

    1. I’ve witnessed most of these.

      1. I like the division between grads and parents – they can both go off the rails.

  3. All of these sound so close to the truth! How many of them have you experienced 🙂 The only graduation I ever attended for myself was my high school graduation. It was a small class and over within an hour. My college graduations I either skipped because I wasn’t even in town (like on the road moving to another state) or I balked at the idea of the ceremony taking hours with thousands of spectators because of the size of the university. Crazy 😉

    1. I attended my high school and grad school graduation (I was a speaker). I skipped undergrad since it was on a Saturday and I had already started working and was in training.

      1. Yes, when you’re a speaker, you better attend 🙂 My stepsister was valedictorian of my high school graduation. She was the opposite of me in every way (blond, cheerleader, dutiful daughter, etc.) Talk about awkward 😉

      2. My half brother has a PhD in Organic Chemistry. Awkward 2

  4. Reblogged this on 1WriteWay and commented:
    Ah, it’s that time of year when someone you know, maybe even someone you love, is graduating. If you’re a parent, a graduation attendee or organizer, read on for some useful warnings about what not to do during graduation. Courtesy of John Howell.

    1. Thank you for the re-blog Marie. *hug*

      1. Yea! Hugs! 🙂

  5. Great list, John. Number four brought back memories of a kid in my neighbor who had a graduation party. His parents left town and the entire house was trashed.

    1. happened when I graduated from High School as well. I walked into the party and grabbed my date and immediately left. All those caught by the cops had to pay for the repairs. (Total destruction) My mom asked if I attended the party and I told her yes for two minutes.

      1. I felt horrible for the parents of that kid. No respect whatsoever for his parent’s property…very sad.

  6. How about this one (as I show my bias & preference) … if you attend a graduation, sit there & don’t make a sound of any kind – thus treating the ceremony, the institution, and the graduates with dignity.

    1. And if not, we’ll taser ya.

  7. LOL. I think that covers it pretty well, John. I hope people are paying attention. 😀 Hugs.

    1. Yeah, like picking up after the dog.

  8. Great list. My niece and nephew’s former high school laid down the law on family members with horns and other time-consuming items: Do not bring them! Each graduating class has at least one thousand members. Everyone wants to get out before dawn, so hold your applause until the last kid has walked across the stage. This tactic works!

    1. Before dawn. Laugh out loud on that one.

  9. 😀 😀 😀 I don’t believe you’ve missed anything. I still remember those days. 😮

    1. Thanks Tess. I’m glad they are behind me.

  10. Fabulous list, John, and you’ve certainly covered the basics. #2 really resonates with me, as Domer’s dad had HOT COFFEE spilled on his head by a clumsy “fan” during Domer’s commencement two years ago. Who allows hot drinks, along with cheesy pretzels during a graduation, for Pete’s sake??!

    1. I was amazed at the number of corks at my graduation. I enjoyed the beach balls though.

  11. Great list. Fun stuff.

    1. Thank you Dale

  12. None of that has really happen to me, but I like #9 and that is funny. Another thing that is funny to me is how kids are so easily embarrassed by their parents.

    1. Yes I have made my kids cringe. I caused my daughter to melt into tears by asking if she would like to learn to play the piano. I never asked again and she does not play.

      1. Yeah, the get ashamed so easily.

  13. This was great John so very entertaining as always…I thought 9 and 4 were particularly amusing…

    1. Thanks Michael. 🙂

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