Your graduation wedding proposals are ruining everyone else’s big day

Babe it’s not all about you


For the majority of us, the thought of our beau getting down on one knee at graduation is about as appealing as a public waterboarding or a night with Nigel Farage. This is because an engagement should be an intimate, once-in-a-lifetime moment between only you and your significant other. At a push, close friends and family members might be nearby but that’s it.

Nobody who has said a tearful yes at a perfect, private proposal has ever come to regret the absence of their university’s Dean, faculty staff they’ve never spoken to and 200 coursemates they spent three years trying to avoid.

This is because graduation is never, in any circumstances, the place to be capitalising on your lifelong need for mild public appreciation and short-lived attention.

Despite this, every year some attention-starved graduates (who probably studied drama) don their graduation gown and prepare – nay, demand – their 15 minutes of fame, ruining your big day and sense of achievement in one fell blow.

Incidents of “look-at-me” cringiness have escalated this year: only yesterday, Southampton finalist Ian Ying went as far as to interrupt a ceremony to ask girlfriend Chloe Ou to marry him in front of the entire Business and Law Faculty.

As she nervously makes her way onto the stage, he can be heard whispering to her “It’s okay”, in the same voice you use to try and calm your pet down on Bonfire Night. It’s probably the least romantic sentence to ever make it into someone’s proposal.

Really Ian? You’re going to do this now?

If you read about Ian and thought “Hey, that sounds like a good idea,” bear in mind proposals shouldn’t involve having to gently coax your petrified girlfriend into your arms. Instead, do us all a favour, sit back down and let the poor girl collect her certificate in peace.

What should have been a day celebrating the academic achievements of Chloe and her peers, as well as the end of the best three years of their lives, will instead be looked back on by everyone as “the day that girl got engaged”.

The attention-grabbing, day-ruining insanity doesn’t end at marriage proposals. All kind of ridiculous show-off behaviour keeps happening and needs to be nipped in the bud as soon as possible.

In July last year, Terri NG Winghei went fully arse over tit at her graduation ceremony as she made her way across the stage to collect her certificate. The instinctive human reaction to such a cataclysmic humiliation would usually be sympathy, but in this case, she entirely brought it on herself.

The Trent grad was sporting a pair of obscene, space-age platform wedges made out of recycled materials. As if that wasn’t already asking for trouble, she then tried to take a selfie while she walked across the stage. In a video of her fall, you can see the moment her ridiculous shoe fails to make proper contact with the ground, causing her to crumble as if all her bones have just been removed. Frankly, she got what she deserved.

In what world are these graduation appropriate?

Now, memories of the proudest day of her life are tarnished by her momentary lapse of dignity, and everyone behind her in the queue to get on had to receive their degree while half the room were still sniggering.

If this arms-race of showing off doesn’t stop soon, it’s literally a matter of time before groups of mates start launching into flash mobs, people take to the stage in Heelies or some chancer gets his nob out in a futile attempt to make it onto Lad Bible.

The whole foundation of the graduation ceremony is that it brings us all together in celebration of academic achievement. Everyone walking onto that stage has earned a degree, whether you aced it and got a first or (God forbid) got a third.

Once you’re in that hall, everyone is there for the same reason, and deserves an equal share of the limelight, so stop trying to one-up each other with ridiculous clothing, unecessary PDAs or (admittedly brilliant) high-fives.

Graduation is a day for modesty, constraint and sticking firmly to the status quo. It’s everyone’s day, not just yours.