Graduation Memories

TEEN STUFF, June 2009, by Brittney Haines


Grad Memories
The Story of My Grade 8 Graduation

 Last year at this time I was in grade 8. I was totally excited for graduation, but I was also very nervous. What should I wear? Will this be the last time I will see everyone? Will I win any awards? So many questions were running through my head about everything. If you're about to graduate this year I'm sure you're probably pretty curious too!

My graduation was so fun, and full of awesome memories. Lots of girls have been writing in to GCDA wondering about their grad coming up, so here are my experiences to help you feel less stressed or nervous about it. Plus, some of your fellow grade 8's from Forestview Public School have sent in some tips on shopping and getting prepared for the big day!

My Story
Before my grad even came, I was thinking about getting my dress. For me and all of my friends, it was super important to find the perfect dress at a reasonable price. Knowing me, I waited until the last minute and I didn't get my dress until like May! That obviously put a little more stress on me. Also, actually finding the dress can be really hard if you don't know what you're looking for. Pretty much anything goes. I saw people at my grad with everything from short summery dresses to the long ballgown types.

The Perfect Dress
After going to many stores and trying on many dresses, I FINALLY found the perfect dress! Mine was champagne gold and sparkly. It was a halter top style, and went down to just above my knees was so pretty. One problem – it had a little rip in the back near the zipper. It was the ONLY ONE left in my size so there was no way I was letting it go! It didn't stop me from buying it though. My grandma can sew, and it wasn't a huge fixer-upper, so I went ahead and bought it anyway. I got like 15% off for a discount and after my grandma sewed it, it looked as good as new in the end! Walking out of that store I felt so much more relieved. It was like I made a huge accomplishment ...just one less thing to worry about.

Of course once all my friends and I got our dresses we all got together because we wanted to show them to each other.
Grad is so much more fun when your friends are with you!

High heels or not?! THAT is the question.
Of course to go with the dress you need shoes. A lot of girls have written to me about heels... how tall? will my feet hurt? will I fall? I personally LOVED the idea of getting to wear high heels, even if I like never wore them again. They make me feel more confident. Some parents and teachers told me that I shouldn't wear them because my feet would kill and I could fall in front of everyone. It was ultimately my choice in the end, but I was pretty confident that I would be fine. This was my one chance to be able to wear high heels, and there was no way I was going to pass it up! All I needed to do was wear them a lot and practice walking. Trust me, at first I felt like I was on stilts and I could barely keep my balance, but eventually I got used to them. After about two weeks of practice around the house, I could walk normally and my feet didn't hurt as much as they did in the beginning.

During the actual grad ceremony they did eventually start to hurt, a LOT, but all the girls ended up taking their shoes off during the dance anyways. Would I wear flats next time? NO WAY! High heels were part of the fun and I loved it.

You Decide
As long as you're happy, do what suits you best because this is YOUR night; it's YOUR graduation. In the end it doesn't even really matter what you put on, it's about celebrating the accomplishments made by you that year! There's no need to be nervous (even though you will be) because your friends and family are there to support you through it! When each student was going up to the stage to receive their scroll I thought of all the good times I had with that person and the fun memories I will always have from my grade school.

The Dance
We had a dance afterwards and it was so much fun! That was like my last night at that school and with all my old classmates together. My advice: dance with all your friends, and even that 'special someone' until your feet hurt (and not just from your heels). You will always remember your grad by how much fun you had. I took tons of pics and will remember my graduation forever.

Tips For Getting Ready for Grad
Here are some tips that Olivia, Natalie, Adriana, Saska, Ivana, Vanja, Lexus, Samantha, Amanda and Casey at Forestview Public School have sent us after their grad shopping trip!

Forestview Girls!

CLEARANCE The best months to find a fantastic dress at a reasonable price are April, May and June. BRITTNEY'S NOTE: I bought late and I was lucky. Don't wait too long or the good ones will be gone!

Some stores will do a Buy One Get One at 50% off. Sometimes you can buy your dress, shoes and accessories this way to save money.

GENTLY USED If you can't afford a brand new dress, there are places that will supply gently used graduation and prom dresses for unbelievable prices! Look for places in your area. BRITTNEY'S NOTE: This is a great tip. I only wore my dress once for grad and once for a wedding. If I grow much more I won't get to wear it again and it's in perfect condition!

BUDGET Set a budget and stick to it. Avoid shopping or looking in places that are out of your budget. You don't want to get your heart set on something beond your price range.

HIGH HEELS Get a reasonable height heel. If you don't know how to walk in heels, avoid high, high heels. This could lead to your feet hurting, or even worse, the embarrassment of falling as you receive your certificate. Practice walking in your heels once you get them. BRITTNEY'S NOTE: If you have lots of time before grad, like I said before, get the high heels and just practice at home. You'll LEARN how to walk in them. I did :)

MANICURES, PEDICURES, MAKEUP We went around the mall and found the average cost for hair, makeup and nails. 'Mani's and Pedi's' can cost anywhere from $35 to $75 each. Creative hair like updo's and curls can cost anywhere from $25 to $110. Make-up done by a professional adds even more expense to your budget. If you are looking to save, see if you can get a group rate for nails or hair; or, even better do your own or do each other's make-up. BRITTNEY'S NOTE: My mom did my hair and makeup for me. We practised the style a couple times before the big day and we knew how long it would take and how to do it. Salons are so much fun too! If you want to book a spot, CALL EARLY! They fill up fast.

Thanks for those great tips, Forestview girls... they are really great and they sure brought back memories for me!

Last but not least, see if you can relate to their comments as they approach grad, and the start of high school!...

- "The past is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift - that's why we call it the present. I'm excited because my big sister will be there to help me."

- "I am nervous about going to high school because I am worried about meeting new people. I am glad I have my friends from Forestview to help me."
- "I'm nervous and scared because I don't want to change, I want to still be me."
Amanda -
"I'm worried about being the youngest after being the oldest here."
- "I'm worried about getting lost in the halls at high school."
- "I hope I don't trip in my heels at graduation."
- "I have a fear of fitting in with new kids."
- "I'm worried about Math."
- "I'm excited, I can hardly wait!"

You guys are awesome! Now go and get ready for your grad... congrats to all of you and be sure to email me and tell me how it all went! :)

~ Brittney

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