Graduation Ceremony Survival Tips

Graduation Ceremony Survival Tips

Mar 25, 2015

Graduation Ceremony Survival tips

On Saturday our family is attending the college graduation of our second son, Jose Enrique Fres Fausto, who will be receiving his diploma from the Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in Management Engineering (ME). ME is a much coveted course at ADMU because it’s a rather tough course that requires a lot of Math subjects with a higher QPI (Qualitative Point Index, similar to GPA) requirement. And that’s why after his third year in college when he and his other classmates were declared as SMEGs (Sure ME Graduates), there was jubilation.

At that time Enrique considered his junior year his toughest because of a very tight schedule before and after he went to Munich Business School for his Junior Term Abroad. Little did he know that his senior year was going to be an even tougher one because he decided he wanted to graduate with honors and also joined extra-curricular activities and a couple of competitions, the biggest one is the CFA Society’s Investment Research Challenge. A lot of gimmick days were sacrificed, vacations cut short for him to prepare for this competition – from the university competition to the national competition to the regional competition. Of course, he also wanted to take part in the yearend dance concert of CADs (Company of the Ateneo Dancers) since it was already his last. So all of these things were happening from morning ‘til night together with last school projects and final exams. On the day before his regional competition, he was under the weather! Through prayers, vitamins and power of the mind, he was in fighting form on the day of the competition, and they bagged the championship! The following day, while Marvin and I were in Cebu, he sent us a text that he made it – i.e. he was going to graduate with honors!

So there’s a lot to be thankful for, to look forward to, this coming Saturday when we attend his graduation. But having attended a few graduation ceremonies at the Ateneo High School Covered Courts (a couple of times while it was raining, other times on the hottest day of the year), I already know that it’s not the most comfortable thing in the world. One has to come in prepared in order to, not just endure but, enjoy the whole ceremony.

So parents and attendees out there who are set to attend this most momentous ceremony, here are some tips:

  1. Choose your outfit well. The school requests you to come in your Sunday’s best. That means ladies in their nice dresses with make-up and heels, and men in their long sleeved polos or barong. But if your venue is not air conditioned (like ours), then you have to consider the temperature and your comfort. I still saw some dads wear their coat and I could just imagine the precipitation happening inside. For ladies, the make-up is the issue. Remember that saying, “Oiliness is next to ugliness” so be ready with your fan and paper powder/blotting paper. Tip: Choose a classic look so you will look timeless in your photos.
  2. Bring baon. Bring crackers and water. Graduation rites can go on and on and it’s good to always be ready with simple easy-to-eat nourishment and water. Last year, we were lucky to be seated beside a super ready mom who brought a big cooler with iced water and juice. No one was dehydrated in our group despite the long and hot ceremony.
  3. Go to the venue early. There will be thousands of people trooping to the venue so be there early to avoid unnecessary stress of being late. If you’re driving, make sure you are really early in order to get good parking. I like telling this story about my sister whose daughter graduated from the same university 10 years ago. She hired a driver for that day but he was a no-show so she drove to the school. By the time she got there, available parking spaces were way too far from the AHS Covered Courts. She was with our 75-year old mother then and it was drizzling. So she did the next best thing, she hailed a tricycle and they rode in it, in their Sunday’s best glory complete with their best South Sea pearls!
  4. Do your picture taking as soon as you get there. Ask your graduate what package he purchased so you can avail of it right away, before the rest of the mob arrives. Tip: On the choice of the photo package, do you really want the highest priced package? Will you really watch the long graduation video? Or do you just want your child’s part which you or your other family members will take using their phone cameras anyway?
  5. Bring a reading material or anything that can occupy you while you wait. If you will be there early to have nice seats, chances are you will spend no less than half an hour waiting, so it’s better to have something to read or play with while you wait. Tip: Parents of awardees have reserved seats. So to those whose children are yet to graduate, ask them to do well to give mom and dad reserved seats!
  6. Make friends with the parents around you. This is an even better way to wait for the ceremony to start. Get to know them, exchange some stories. Who knows they are the parents of your graduate’s good friends. What more, if any of them brought baon, they will share it with you. I remember during my older son’s graduation, a parent seated close to us whom we chatted with brought out some yummy smelling bread and she offered them to us at the time when we were already hungry and tired.
  7. Anticipate. Get to know who the commencement speaker is then google him/her so you know a bit about the person, which hopefully would make the speech more meaningful to you. Our commencement speaker on Saturday is Lisa Macuja. It might be a surprise why they chose an arts personality, but I learned that this Saturday the JG School of Management is sharing the day, not with their usual partner School of Sciences and Engineering, but with the School of Humanities.
  8. Have a designated waiting area with your graduate. Chances are after the rites, your graduate will share some sentimental and emo moments of hugging, picture-taking with his friends, teachers, etc. that you might lose each other in the sea of people. Instead of just relying on your cellphone (which may disappoint you with poor signal in high density places), agree on where to meet. If possible, give an estimated time after the end of the rites so you can manage expectations. This will be our challenge on Saturday as we have to rush to the out-of-town silver wedding anniversary of my sister.
  9. Are you holding a celebration right after the ceremony? If you are make room for you as hosts getting to the venue later than your guests. Designate someone to feed the guests with appetizers while waiting. If traffic becomes really bad and it would be unfair for your guests to get hungry, then also have a strike time when to start serving the real meal even without the celebrator.
  10. This is only the beginning. Have a great time. Celebrate your child’s hard work and achievements. And kids, thank your parents for all their support. For the graduate, this marks the start of living in the real world. For parents, it will be a delicate balance between being supportive and allowing their child to stand on his own.

Happy graduation day to all the graduates and their parents! May the graduates become productive citizens of our country and the world, making their parents really proud.


Our longest summer break is coming. We cordially invite you to set aside one-half day to learn about money aligned with your goals and values as a family. Come to the Family FQ Workshop by the Faustos on May 9, 2015, 1-5pm at the SMX Convention Center of SM Aura, Taguig CIty.

You will hear from the perspectives of the father (founding president of the Fund Managers Association of the Philippines & former Chief Investment Officer of the country’s largest bank Marvin Fausto), mother (former investment banker, now parenting & financial literacy advocate, FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto) and children (all investors at a young age Martin, Enrique & Anton). We promise you not just learning but also entertainment. Given the right approach, Finance is Fun!

Young kids who can sit through straight two hours of listening/watching are welcome to join. The Chief Happiness Officer (Ronald McDonald) will drop by to greet the kids! It will be a great family bonding activity while you learn about this important Economic Self-Defense called High FQ!

Buy your tickets online now, register at (Please click this link: Interested ticket underwriters may contact me at

Poster Mar 24

Thank you very much to our platinum sponsors COL Financial and D&L Industries; our gold sponsors 8990 Holdings, Inc. and Sun Life Asset Management Corp., Inc.; our silver sponsor BDO; event partners DivinaLaw, FMAP, McDonald’s (Hey kids, the Chief Happiness Officer Ronald McDonald himself is gracing our event!) and Kambal Pandesal; our media partners ANC, Mommy Mundo and BetterMe. We’re going to have fun while we learn so Save The Date and register now by clicking this link!

Attribution: Images from,,, and personal photo put together by the author to help deliver the message of the article.

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