Sail through Convocation Day—Insider Tips for a Smooth Day

Sail through Convocation Day—Insider Tips for a Smooth Day

Last week, we highlighted some logistical considerations to get you to Athabasca.  This week, we share a few tips to get you through your big day.

AU Convocation info.

Make sure you know where you need to be and when.  The more you know, the less you’ll stress!  Read every page on AU’s Convocation site.  Pay particular attention to the Convocation Checklist page and the Student Procedures page.  If you’re graduating from the Faculty of Business, you’ll find additional information at the business convocation page.

AUSU info.

AU’s student union also sends out helpful convocation info by email newsletter in early June.  But, if your final course end date was April 30, you’ll automatically get dropped off the email list.  Not to worry:  you can still access the newsletters from AUSU’s Newsletter Archive page.


Gowns are not as long as you might expect.  I didn’t worry about what I was wearing too much for my convocation in 2018.  My husband and I were embarking on a two-week trip and I didn’t want to lug formal clothes around.  I figured pants and casual shoes wouldn’t be obvious under the gown, but photos show I was wrong.  Capris and sandals would have been a better option.  Also, the convocation gowns add an insulating layer.  If the weather is warm, you’ll sweat buckets.  A lighter-weight shirt and tons of antiperspirant are good options.

Arrive early.

Once the shuttle buses arrive from Edmonton, the convocation venue gets crowded.  We arrived at the AU multiplex at 9am, well before things got busy.  There were no line-ups at the registration table, and we had plenty of time to browse around the display booths and meet people.

Benefit from experience.

This may be your first go-round at convocation, but the AU staff and volunteers have done this all before—many times.  Everything you need to know will be explained to you.  If you have any questions, just ask anyone and they’ll find the answer for you.

Name tags.

You’ll get a name tag to hang around your neck when you arrive.  But when the volunteers put your gown on you, they’ll tuck the name tag out of sight.  If you don’t want to be anonymous for the hour or two before the ceremony, keep your name tag on top of your gown.  Otherwise, how will anyone recognize that you were the student they were hoping to meet?  Just remember to tuck the tag away for photos and before you join the procession into the ceremony.

Don’t line up to pee.

There are bathroom facilities accessible from the lobby of the multiplex.  But there are also bathrooms on the second level.  If you encounter a line-up to the main-floor facilities, take the stairs or elevator up to the second level to access the under-used bathrooms there.

Don’t go hungry.

AU advertises that food and beverages will be available for purchase onsite.  If the offerings are the same as 2018, I recommend you eat a hearty breakfast, or pick up something on the way.  I found the convocation offerings light—snacks, really—and expensive.  A Tim Horton’s breakfast sandwich or something similar would have been my better option.  I was starving all afternoon.  On the plus side, I enjoyed dinner at a local restaurant all the more.

Continue the celebration.

If you’re looking for a nice restaurant to celebrate your convocation day, I highly recommend the 49th Street Grill.  You don’t even need a map to this place, as it is on 49th Street in Athabasca.  The restaurant specializes in Greek fare, but the menu has plenty of other choices, including steak, ribs, pasta, and pizza.  I loved this place; the meal and atmosphere provided a great wind-down to the adrenaline rush of convocation day.

Above all, pause throughout the day to drink in the experience.  You don’t get many days that are all about you.  Savour this one!