Fatal Fourway - Are graduations overhyped?

Image Credit: Laoise Tarrant

Are graduations worth the hype or is it just another night out? Some of the University Observer's finest give their take.

Ellen Duggan

I am going to play devil’s advocate here, not only because it is the last issue, but because I truly need to vent.

I don’t just believe graduations are overhyped. I believe any school-related memory is overhyped. In fact, I believe memories in general are overhyped. 

I say this as someone who has a horrendous memory. As proof of this, I once downloaded an alarm app that emitted a North Korean wake up call-esque siren every morning that would only cease when I had completed a set of memory quizzes. The quizzes in question involved memorising flashing orange tiles and then recreating their pattern. I set my alarm at 6am and it did not stop wailing until 6:30. It took me thirty minutes to do this quiz. Thirty minutes I could have spent sleeping, downloading another app, or not thinking about my Graduation.

When it comes to school-related flashbacks in particular- NO, I don’t remember finger painting Auntie Mary, and I am a better person for it. I do not stare at photos of my first sports day in a bout of nostalgia, and when I look at photos of my graduation? It may as well be a Getty Images photo. I don’t believe my lack of memory signals towards the event in question being particularly negative and in need of a quick repressing, more so that perhaps our relationship with school-related memories need to be readjusted. Who cares if Graduation is overrated? Underrated? Rated at all? School was overall helpful I suppose, but awful in equal measure. But most importantly, it is over. Thank you for your time.


Isabella Ambrosio

Fifth and sixth year were some of the worst years of my life, but somehow, someway, my graduation night was entertaining. The drinks were cheap enough, the music was decent, and everyone was riding a nice buzz from the fact that we were no longer in secondary school. But would it sound too philosophical if I say it depends on the group of people you graduate with? And it also probably helps if you’re at the same level of intoxication as they are. But I know a massive amount of people who had a miserable experience at their graduation; perhaps the people they were with got too drunk, there were too many chaperones or the ‘vibes’ were just off… Graduation nights can be overrated to a certain extent, or simply just bad. 

It’s a lot of pressure to put on one night - a singular night that feels like your entire academic career has led up to. As a kid in secondary school, your last year is literally what movies are based on. And there’s this certain impression that it has to be great. The year itself, and the night that you graduate will be even better. I think that if you don’t have high expectations of your graduation night, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. And if your expectations are too high, well, your night is going to completely suck. So, my advice? Don’t overhype your graduation night. It isn’t that worth it. The years that follow will be a hell of a lot more exciting than just a single night after secondary school.


Adesewa Awobadejo 

Grad nights are definitely overhyped, but they’re allowed to be. When you have nothing but exams looming over you why not solely focus on and overhype a night out? It’s like the only thing worth looking forward to. I can’t think of a nicer way to end 5/6 years of suffering. (I can, but you get my point!)

The grad night was the first time my whole year group actually got on. From the organisation of it to the day of we all got on… and there were quite a number of us and an interesting mix at that! Everyone put in the work to find a venue that would risk losing their alcohol license to make us happy. It just had to work out and it did eventually - last minute. It was the first time cliques merged and conversations were struck. Like wow, it took me 6 years to realise some of those people were actually sound. Freedom definitely changes people. 

I don’t remember much of the graduation ceremony besides reading out a reflection, hearing speeches from teachers and the principal and then stumbling outside to take those customary ‘I just graduated’ photographs with the name of the school hovering above. I think the grad night definitely won. But the night is a bit hyped up just for it to be over and you realise you still have a Leaving Cert to sit and you’re probably never going to see 90% of people again. 


Author: Luke Duffy

Short answer: yes. Long answer: it depends. I think whether or not graduations are overhyped depends on the kind of experience you had before graduating. I have a year left in my degree so I can't talk about graduating college - but I can talk about my graduation from secondary school.

In many ways, my secondary school graduation was an emotional rollercoaster. Not because I was devastated about leaving - as a rural homosexual, I did not enjoy my second-level experience and couldn't get out of there quickly enough. My grad was weird because I somehow had a lovely night. I was pleasantly surprised that so many of the gals "wanted to be my friend" but thought I wouldn't like them so they never initiated contact. On reflection, this is a polite way of telling someone they're a huge bitch, but at the time it was nice to hear. I also had to endure this painfully heterosexual girl telling me - at length - that she really, really loves the LGBT community, that I was "brave" for being out about my sexuality. She was later kicked out of the club about an hour into grads. The LGBT community loves you too, Lauren.

I still had a nice time at grads, even though I found myself being Yaass Queen'd at several different points. I think it was overhyped though - I don't remotely miss secondary school and you could not pay me to go back. That was never going to change no matter how good grads was. Maybe that's a good thing - it's a sign I didn't peak at 18, if nothing else.