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It’s finally happening. After all the blood, sweat, tears, and coffee, you’ve made it – you’re graduating. Do you know how you know that you’re graduating? Your department sends you the reminder email for the rite of passage, the final trial which all up and coming grads must suffer though: graduation portraits.

October. The first reminder email makes its way into your inbox. Wow, you think to yourself, I’m really graduating! A few of the keeners book their photos right away. The rest of us star the email and let it gather dust in whichever server stores the emails we will never answer or look at ever again.

November. You’re supposed to be studying for midterms, but another little reminder gem pings in your notifications. Photo appointments book up fast! it says. Ok, fine, you’re supposed to be studying but hey, the department NEEDS you to book these photos! So you take a ten minute break and make the appointment – December will be good, because over exams you won’t have any class during the day – followed up by a ten minute hour long internet break, because you deserve it for doing an adult thing.

December – the day before the appointment. Everything sucks. Your term paper is nowhere close to being done, and it’s due tomorrow. Plus, your next exam is in three days, you didn’t do any of the readings all semester, and it’s at 8:30am so you probably won’t sleep the night before. You wish that you could hook yourself up to a coffee IV. I guess you should pick out an outfit for your photos?

Photos – the day of. The photographer is treating you like a mannequin. “How’s school?” he asks, as he forces your hand into an awkward claw to balance a fake diploma on. “Just fine,” you lie. He asks you if you have an outfit to change into. “No,” you say, puzzled. “No dress?” he asks. “Are you already wearing makeup? Do you need to do your hair?” “Ugh, no.” Is he trying to say you look like shit? Are you supposed to be wearing a dress?

“Do you have a prop?” A prop? For what? “Some people bring props, like a basketball, or whatever. One time a kid brought in a sandwich.” “Uh, no, no prop.” Wtf?

Periodically between your awkward poses in front of fake pillars, fake meadows, fake libraries, he brings you a mirror. “That’s okay,” you say, “I’m fine.” He lingers awkwardly with the mirror for a moment. “I just want to make sure your mama will be proud.” I mean you worked your ass off for like four years for this degree, but yeah, what matters most is how you look in this one photo.

“Can you stop blinking?” You’re not blinking, your eyes are just so puffy from sleep deprivation that you can’t open them all the way. Booking these during exams was a great idea. Good confidence boost. The photographer retakes the photo. “Oh, I guess you’re not blinking.” Thanks.

You take your headshot for the yearbook that you will likely never see again. Then one pretending to read a book. Another pulling a book from a shelf. You put the hat on, take it off, put it on, take it off. Finally you’re done. You return to your life as a sleepless exam zombie.

A week later. Still no proofs. You look up how much starting packages cost, anyways: minimum $80. Well, maybe they’ll all turn out crappy and you won’t have to buy any. Or maybe your mom will pay for them. Your department continues to send you notices, despite the fact that the photos are already done.

The photos arrive. They all suck. You have 47 days left to go pick up your deposit, if you remember. If not, it’s just $45 and an hour of your life you can never get back. Happy Graduation. 

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Co-Campus Correspondent at Her Campus UBC. Originally from Calgary, Jessica is a third-year English Honours student at UBC. She loves reading anything she can get her hands on, and sometimes she even writes, too.
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