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Tips for June Convocation/Logistics

ClassicRockerDadClassicRockerDad Registered User Posts: 6,243 Senior Member
We will be attending Convocation this June. Lot's of unknowns. Looking for advice from the veterans.

How early would we need to be there on Saturday to get decent seats?
What do people wear? Last time I was at a college graduation, I wore a cap and gown.
Can we get there at 7am or do we need some in our party to camp out overnight on line?
Are the additional events on Friday worthwhile?
How crazy is move out on Sunday from a nearby Hyde Park apartment?
Are rental vans targets of vandalism?

What do you wish you knew in advance.

Appreciate any tips. Thanks.
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Replies to: Tips for June Convocation/Logistics

  • JHSJHS Registered User Posts: 17,716 Senior Member
    edited February 2014
    How early? It sort of depends on what you consider decent seats. None of them are actually decent, though. By the time all the grads are packed in, visitors are a long way from any action. "Decent" really means close enough to see the stage, and maybe near the aisle your child is going to walk down so you can take a picture. Note, also, that if your child is in the Social Science Division (which goes last), and has a name in the second half of the alphabet, you will be able to "trade up" your seating from wherever you were for the past five hours before your child actually crosses the stage.

    Anyway, if you show up half an hour before the kids are supposed to show up, you will probably be fine/close enough to the front to have a decent choice of where to sit. No one camps out overnight, and there isn't much of a line. By the time all the kids show up, however, things are pretty full.

    What do people wear? The whole gamut, depending on what they plan to do after. The ones I went to, it rained both times. One was freezing when it wasn't raining, the other was steaming. Both times, the people in nice clothes were even more uncomfortable than everyone else.

    Additional events on Friday? Ehhhh . . . . It kind of depends on your kid. If his or her friends will be there and were involved in planning the event, yes. If not, not. My older child walked out on the Class Day thing, but I stayed and kind of enjoyed it. My younger child was far more enthusiastic about it.

    Sunday move-out is perfectly do-able. Most move-outs will have occurred by then, and many don't happen until the end of the month/lease term.

    Rental vans: Vandalism, no. Burglary, maybe. I don't think I would leave a van on the street loaded with stuff I wouldn't mind losing, unless it was really big and hard to carry, and not worth bringing a truck back to take.

    Know in advance: How really long the whole ceremony is. Nice to make some plans with kids and their friends in advance.
  • ClassicRockerDadClassicRockerDad Registered User Posts: 6,243 Senior Member
    Thanks JHS. The graduate is an undergrad in the College.

    Sorry more questions.

    Does convocation go division by major for the college?
    How does one find out the correct aisles?
    How does one find out how long it takes?

    I really have no idea what to expect.

    As far as the van, we have to rent for a minimum of 5 days anyway and only really need 2-3 days to drive home, so I was thinking of getting it on Friday, and looking for several opportunities to park it as close as possible to the apartment building door for Sunday move out. We wouldn't leave anything in it, but you couldn't tell that it was empty without breaking in first. Maybe I'm overthinking things.
  • JHSJHS Registered User Posts: 17,716 Senior Member
    Degree award goes by division (in alphabetical order) by last name (in alphabetical order). So Zeke Aames the Biology major (Division of Biological Sciences) is near the beginning, and Abby Zubow, the Economics major (Division of Social Sciences) is near the end. I forget where the various class marshals come in, but they are out of order. Every kid's name is read. Some are mispronounced, but they try really hard to avoid that. It's exhausting, though; it goes on for hours, literally. It's easy to leave early and many do.

    The whole shebang takes from early morning to mid-afternoon. You get your seat and sit around waiting forever (and, in my experience, being rained on torrentially) for things to begin. Finally, they do. There's a bunch of pomp and circumstance -- bagpipers, faculty wearing their colorful doctoral robes, etc., graduates marching in. There's a bunch of speeches and some musical interludes. There is a symbolic conferring of degrees on the grad students. (This used to include the professional schools, too, but now they have entirely separate convocations, I think.) Then everyone breaks for lunch, which is set up by division, and gives you a chance to meet your child's favorite faculty members who happen to be there. They you go back for 2-1/2 - 3 hours of names being read, followed by a much smaller, faster formal exit parade.

    I might pay for indoor parking for the van Friday-Saturday night. But maybe not. It's not like a break-in is assured. I just think that if I were a thief I might be looking for vans in Hyde Park the night before kids have to move out of the dorms (Friday) and the night after (Saturday). I know when my son moved, he tried to avoid having a packed van on the street overnight.
  • ClassicRockerDadClassicRockerDad Registered User Posts: 6,243 Senior Member
    Thanks that helps with convocation. The grandparents are coming too, so I'm ok with pomp and circumstances. :-)
    I might pay for indoor parking for the van Friday-Saturday night. But maybe not. It's not like a break-in is assured. I just think that if I were a thief I might be looking for vans in Hyde Park the night before kids have to move out of the dorms (Friday) and the night after (Saturday). I know when my son moved, he tried to avoid having a packed van on the street overnight.

    The whole reason for getting the van Friday was to maximize the chance of getting a parking spot for it in front of the apartment building. It's up in the neighborhood by Kimbark Plaza so it's not really close to any dorms. I could just get the van on Sunday but then I risk not being able to park it near the building. The minimum one-way rental is 5 days anyway. If I get it Friday, it's not due back in Boston until Wednesday. Maybe it's worth moving the dolly and furniture pads into the apartment and just leave the van on the street unlocked so the thieves can see that it's empty. I often leave my car unlocked in Boston to save the thieves the trouble of having to break the glass only to find nothing worth taking. I've never had a problem.
  • JHSJHS Registered User Posts: 17,716 Senior Member
    edited February 2014
    Why are you obsessed with getting a parking place? The streets are pretty wide. I doubt it would be a problem on Sunday if you were double-parked for an hour while you loaded the van. And if a nearby parking place came free (as it well might sometime during the morning), well, that would be alright, too. Most of the apartment buildings in that area have alleys behind them anyway; you could probably use the alley and the fire stairs to load the van. That's definitely what I would have done with my kids' apartment had I even considered helping them when they moved out!
  • ClassicRockerDadClassicRockerDad Registered User Posts: 6,243 Senior Member
    What time does the whole process ends?

    Is making dinner reservations at 7:15 in the loop reasonable if we're driving there?
  • motherbear332motherbear332 Registered User Posts: 797 Member
    The last things on the schedule for the college are the post-convocation receptions that start at 3:30.
    (see https://convocation.uchicago.edu/page/college)
    Our dinner reservations are for 6:30. After the long day, I'm not expecting that we're going to want to stay all that long.
  • jackiefjackief Registered User Posts: 3,084 Senior Member
    Wanted to bump this and see how @ClassicRockerDad‌ move out went. I flew home yesterday and H and D got the moving truck yesterday morning and loaded. They said they parked "on the street" I don't know if this was live parking or if they found a spot. They had reserved at 12' truck but they were out so they were given a 15' instead.

    Their drive is ~12 hrs, they were able to get around 5 done yesterday after packing and will arrive today and hopefully get everything into the storage unit.
  • tjdad2011tjdad2011 Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    We just received the mailer for this year's convocation. It seems like just yesterday I was reading these forum when DS was applying!

    From reading this thread, I get a sense of the Saturday activities. However, no one has described the Friday night reception. Is it worthwhile trying to get into Chicago early enough to attend?
  • artloversplusartloversplus Registered User Posts: 8,285 Senior Member
    Do you mean the reception at the Science Museum? IMHO, it is NOT worth the effort to change your schedule to attend, it is very crowded and I personally did not enjoy, but we were there several days earlier so we went anyway.
  • artloversplusartloversplus Registered User Posts: 8,285 Senior Member
    I meant the reception at The Museum of Science and Industry. While I did not like the reception, I found the Baccalaureate Ceremony held on Friday afternoon at the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel interesting. In that, the reps of graduating class sing their favorite song and in the mean time they also roasted the professor who gave addresses to the ceremony. It was an interesting afternoon. While we waited on the line to get into the chapel, we also mingled with parents and students in front and behind us, exchange stories and everyone was in joy.
  • motherbear332motherbear332 Registered User Posts: 797 Member
    I agree with artloversplus. I enjoyed the Baccalaureate Ceremony, but the reception at the Museum of Science and Industry--not so much. S did enjoy it, though. We (parents and grandmother) left early, he stayed and had fun with his friends.

    Last year, the weather on Saturday was glorious. They had large television screens up all around the quad, so if you couldn't see the stage very well directly, you could still see what was happening. A good seat was one in the shade in the late morning. Do take a hat.
  • J'adoubeJ'adoube Registered User Posts: 2,133 Senior Member
    We all had a blast 3 years ago (including 90 year old grandma). The weather was beautiful and we did arrive on Wednesday so we had plenty of time to try everything. Even got pictures and videos with the bagpipers when they were practicing on Saturday morning at the garage across from Ratner.(great place to park if still available because of construction of new dorm next door). Glorious. I'm a ham. I know.
  • jackiefjackief Registered User Posts: 3,084 Senior Member
    we also thought the MSI event was skippable. Did not attend the bacc. Spent that time helping D pack up her apartment, which was supposed to have been done before we got to town..
  • runnersmomrunnersmom Registered User Posts: 1,984 Senior Member
    For our first U of C graduation in 2009 we skipped the MSI reception, but did attend the Baccalaureate in Rockefeller Chapel. For our second in 2011, we attended both and enjoyed the new experience. For our 3rd (2016), things will be different because it will be the law school graduation. Advice - get to Rockefeller early (really early) for the Bacc. It gets incredibly crowded and space is at a premium. For graduation (our first did not include the whole university), I second whomever suggested getting there early and snagging seats that meet your own requirements...close to restrooms, jumbotron sight lines, shade, etc. If you, or a grandparent or two in tow have mobility issues, you can request disability seating which was very organized. Our seats were assigned and had our daughter's name on them. We've had glaring sun and 90 degrees, and we had rain and 40 degree temps. Either way it was a glorious experience. I look forward to experiencing it one more time - maybe the third will be "just right!"
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