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3 Ways to Celebrate High School or College Graduation

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Graduation is a time to celebrate current accomplishments as well as the promise of the future. Unfortunately, the weeks leading up to the commencement ceremony can be incredibly stressful, especially for high school students studying for AP exams and college students preparing for the LSAT, the MCAT, or other graduate work.

Blow off some steam and celebrate with your graduate friend for an afternoon, an evening, or even a weekend. Although graduation presents are always appreciated, experiences are truly the best gifts. Here are three ways you can celebrate a high school or college graduation:

1. Take photos – lots of them.

Photographs are one of the best ways to document significant events in a person’s life, and a high school or college graduation certainly fits the bill. Your graduate friend may be too busy to fully document the experience, so take it upon yourself to do so for them. Snap pictures during the commencement ceremony and other events throughout the day. Try to get a good mix of candid and staged photos – and don’t forget the grandparents! Your graduate friend will be grateful for these photos later.

If you feel like going the extra mile, you can make some prints for your graduate friend. Many local pharmacy and grocery stores have photo departments. Small photos can be sent out with thank you cards, and larger ones can be framed for themselves and for family members. Diploma frames are great gift ideas because they allow graduates to display their hard-earned diplomas alongside smiling photos of graduation day.

2. Throw a graduation party.

Show your graduate friend how proud you are of him or her by planning a graduation party. There are many different ways to go about this, depending on the formalness of the party and the funds available. The Internet is loaded with do-it-yourself party ideas, so if you are the DIY type, hosting the party yourself may be the most creative and affordable route.

For spring commencement, outdoor parties are especially fun, weather permitting. Informal cookouts and pool parties are family-friendly activities that everyone can enjoy. You can also hire a caterer, or call ahead and reserve a room or large table at a local restaurant. Consider booking an outdoor location – after all, who doesn’t enjoy sitting outside on a beautiful spring evening while dining with their friends and family? Remember to take pictures at dinner as well!

3. Go on an adventure.

Humans are adventurous by nature and tapping into our adventurous spirit is an exciting way to release stress. Skydiving and short road trips to local parks to hike, fish, or rappel are perfect ideas for one-day getaways. If you are planning a weekend trip, consider going to a day spa or camping at a national park. A good back massage may be exactly what your graduate friend needs to work out the knots from their undergraduate years. Check Groupon, Living Social, and other similar services for deals on one-day adventures and weekend getaways.

Additionally, many students often plan extended vacations during the summer after their graduation. For some, it is almost seen as a rite of passage. Many people choose exotic locations, such as Africa, Australia, or Europe, while many others choose to travel around the United States. If your graduate friend is planning an extended summer vacation, you can help fund it by throwing in for gas money, airfare, lodging, or other travel expenses.

There are many ways to celebrate graduation. Photographs are great ways to document the occasion and framing them allows your graduate friend to show off their accomplishments. Experiences are the most memorable gifts, so you can also help fund a short getaway or a longer summer vacation. Going on an adventure will also help relieve stress, something any graduating senior desperately needs. Use these ideas as a starting point and take your own creative approach. Your graduate friend will appreciate such a thoughtful gift.

BIO: Hayley Irvin is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. When she’s not creating awesome content for Marketing Zen or USA Diploma Frames, she’s watching basketball, reading about space, and writing science fiction. Catch up with her on Twitter @HayleyNIrvin.