Choosing Celebration

Abby, like every other student graduating in 2020, finished uni at home. Abby's final submissions were all online. All those hours of working were no longer with mates but in her bedroom at her parents, and those moments of celebration every student anticipates in final year were no longer an option. Instead of accepting it was all a write off and a washout, Abby chose to change her story, to re write the end of her uni years by getting creative and celebrating despite disruption and lockdown. 

I chatted to Abby and picked her brains on how and why she chose to celebrate and she shared some top tips on how you can do the same. 


When University closed down I was gutted. I love my University housemates and we had so many plans for summer term, days out once we had finished our exams etc. When I went home to my parents I felt that the final term of my degree had been taken away from me and all my peers from right underneath our feet.

Graduation marks the end of University and the start of the next chapter of life. Without some sort of celebration, I didn't feel as if I had closure from Uni which was preventing me from looking forward to what is next and moving on well.  How experiences end have a significant impact as to how they are remembered. For example, a patient will recall an operation to be significantly more painful overall when the most intense part is done at the end of the procedure compared to the start or middle. This is known as the recency effect - more recent memories are most salient and recalled over previous ones.  


I organised a garden graduation celebration/ceremony. I spent a few days creating University logos, decorations, garden games and a quiz all about my time at Uni (ten questions per year). The afternoon ran like this:


There is no 'right way' to celebrate but here are some of my thoughts: 

  • Set aside a specific time to celebrate. Allocate a time frame dedicated to celebration. 
  • With a restriction on the number of people who can physically gather, it is vital that those you select want to celebrate with you. I chose my family but anyone who is 'for you' is great! 
  • Think about what you want to get out of your celebration. Discuss and communicate if/what roles you want others to adopt (e.g my Dad was my vice-chancellor and prepared a speech)
  • Use technology to your advantage. A physical gathering with a few can be live-streamed to the many. Use Zoom to host a quiz about the graduate (I created a PowerPoint presentation, use the 'share screen' function to allow distant friends/family to participate)

Don't miss this moment, don't forget to pause, reflect and notice all that God has done over the last three years. This season may feel like a flop, underwhelming or a disappointment, but don't let that define your degree, reclaim the story, choose joy and hope in this season. 

Katie McLean

Regional Team Leader

It was at university that Katie learnt what it meant to follow Jesus, and she wants to see a generation of students invited to do the same. She loves it when students are bold in their faith and churches are creative in reaching students.

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