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The Stresses of a Maltese Graduation No One Prepares You For

Graduation; the golden ticket to freedom from all those suffocating years of academic life.

I can still remember sitting at quad and turning green with envy every time I saw a herd of robed graduates prancing about, mocking me with their fancy hats and bright-eyed smiles as tears of desperation fill my eyes.

“Someday,” I used to tell my friends, “someday our time will come.”

Lo and behold! We finally made it!

All that’s left is to get on that stage and receive that validating piece of paper.

Well, at least that’s what I thought until I came face to face with all the things that need to be taken into consideration prior to the graduation ceremony.

The Toga

The first thought I had as I stared in disbelief at my results was to strip down and run naked in the streets while screaming like a lunatic.

In reality, what I should’ve been thinking about was finding a toga rental place from where to get robed. Those bookings get snatched quicker than the Maltese sausage pastizzi were during their month of existence.

And let’s not forget to mention how expensive renting a toga for one night is.

I’m starting to question whether fulfilling my cliché dream of throwing my hat to the skies is worth the risk of damaging it and losing my deposit.

The Outfit

Most people think that graduation is the ideal time to splurge on that lavish outfit they’ve been trying to justify buying for the past few months.

Oh, but wait … do you hear that?

*knock knock*

That’s the sound of the university regulations coming to crash the party.

All those hours of flipping through endless tabs of shopping sites, trying to find the perfect attire for this special day have suddenly been thrown into the trash along with your hopes of finding your dream job straight after graduation.

I guess that basic black dress or suit at the back of the closet will have to do the job.

Or just go in your birthday suit, the toga will be covering everything anyway.

The Tickets

Opening the mail and finding only three extra tickets might trigger anyone who does not belong to the traditional cereal box family.

I could never imagine the amount of stress and fights that picking three people out of all those who wish to attend the graduation causes.

Who are you to judge whether or not I should to bring my entire family tree to my graduation? What about my dog? You have no idea how supportive she was!

Cue the agonising journey of selling your soul to every student from your faculty for a set of extra tickets only to realise a month too late that you could’ve easily gotten them from the university itself.

Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.

The Graduation Dinner

Finally! You have the perfect excuse to have a taste of that expensive ethnic restaurant you’ve been dying to try. And what’s even better is that all expenses will probably be handled by your family as a gift for your success.

Win-win situation, right?


Everyone has an opinion when it comes to food.

“Uwejja, do you seriously want to go there to celebrate? Why can’t you think of some place with normal food?”

“Vera ta! I don’t think nanna will like anything from the menu.”

Well guess what, it’s my party, so I’ll do what I want to. Nanna can go get a ftira from the corner store if she wants.

The Photos

In this day and age, nothing has really happened if you don’t have a photo to prove it. So, it’s only natural to feel the pressure of getting that perfect graduation photo.

But guess what! Every photographer is probably drowning in bookings already because your lazy behind kept postponing everything to the last minute.

Haven’t you learnt anything about the side effects of procrastination from your student days?

And while we’re on the topic of photos, let’s not forget to mention the struggle of taking that iconic picture with the university campus Christmas tree without getting a sea of equally hopeful individuals in the background.

Having said all this, if you are graduand dealing with such stresses, remember that these are only trivialities.

Graduation is a celebration of all the blood, sweat and tears you have poured into your hard work, so no fancy restaurant or outfit should come at the cost of enjoying this very special day!