The season of Recognition of Educational Achievement is upon us, with high school musical ensembles across the nation rehearsing Pomp and Circumstance and the National Anthem, and Elaborate Concern about when to flip one's ring or tassel. While these affairs have become more Festivals of Applause than solemnities - somewhat to Etiquetteer's chagrin (but to harp on the point would mark Etiquetteer a killjoy, which is tedious) - their importance as a Rite of Passage has not been dimmed.
Etiquetteer does wish more graduates (and faculty, for that matter) would consider more carefully their complete appearance with cap and gown. Especially, Etiquetteer would like to advise young ladies to consider their shoes more carefully. Appearing in a lengthy academic procession in high heels of four or more inches, in which your body and face look like bamboo shoots are being driven into your toes with every step - well, people are not focused on you but on your shoes. Indeed, it may lead people to question just how well you've been educated. You deserve not to be upstaged by your own shoes! There is no shame in kitten heels. But if you must wear Heels That High, practice walking in them a lot to keep yourself from falling over or looking like you might. Look at this poor girl:
Etiquetteer also looks suspiciously on young gentlemen who are quite obviously not wearing a shirt and tie under their academic gowns. A T-shirt on an occasion of this importance does not show you at your best advantage, nor do jeans or ragged corduroys with athletic shoes poking out at the bottom. A graduation is an Occasion and it, and you, deserve to be treated with respect. Dress up!
So often, especially at college graduations, one sees elaborate decorations on mortarboards. Etiquetteer knows better than to condemn this - it's not just established, it's a beloved tradition - but it would be lovely for these not to be so elaborate that they block the view of those sitting behind them.
And with all that said, Class of 2016, get busy and change the world - in a good way.