Graduation season is in full swing.

Students across the country and here in Franklin County are celebrating graduations in May. On Thursday night, Union High School students get their chance.

Graduation is always a big deal. No matter if it’s a first for the student or the last, it’s a reason to celebrate.

There is no shortage of advice for graduates at this time of the year. There’s a whole machine of people offering their two cents.

Most of that advice is for the future — guidance for the graduates on how to navigate the rest of their lives. I have advice for graduates, but it’s more about the actual event itself.

Yes, future graduates, I have some advice for surviving, and thriving, on your big day.

The first, and most important, piece of advice I have for graduation is pretty simple: Arrive on time.

If there’s one thing I can’t stand in general, it’s lateness. If you’re supposed to be somewhere at a certain point of time, be there. It’s really not hard.

This advice is even more important on big days. Days like graduation.

The biggest reason to be on time is obviously to get the good parking spots. Graduation brings out everyone and the parking lot becomes a battle zone.

If you’re late, or almost late, you’re going to have to park a mile away and sprint to the ceremony. In your dress clothes. With your family. That is not fun for anyone.

Besides parking, you want to get there on time so you don’t miss anything. I’m not talking about the instructions on how to walk across the stage — I’m pretty sure if you’re graduating high school you can figure out how the whole thing works.

What you don’t want to miss is those last moments with your friends prior to the actual event. At Union, the students pile into the fine arts center.

The students have a chance to put on their caps and gowns and escape the chaos of graduation. The whole day can be hectic for everyone, but the downtime before the ceremony is the calm before the storm.

The graduates might not realize it, but that moment is likely the last time they’re going to be in the same room as a lot of those people. I graduated 15 years ago and the last time I saw a lot of people in my class was the day we were all wearing caps and gowns.

It’s cliche, but if you’re graduating, you really gotta soak it all in. This is the end of one major chapter of your life. Spend those last few moments as a high school student enjoying the company of people who went on the same trip you did. Don’t miss it because you were running late.

My next piece of advice comes from experience — not mine, but a close friend’s experience. It’s pretty simple, keep your gown on for pictures.

I know, this sounds pretty simple. You may be thinking, why would I take it off, it’s one of the most iconic symbols of graduation. Well let me tell you about my friend who wishes to be remain nameless.

For reasons still not clear, this friend decided the second after graduation ended to ditch his robe. I think he gave it to his mom or something.

It wasn’t hot out or anything, he just decided he didn’t need it. His call, sure, but one he regrets.

There are dozens of post-graduation pictures with smiling grads and then some kid in a shirt and tie. My friend looks out of place, like the kid who missed the cut and didn’t get to walk across. In every single picture, he looks out of place.

The robes are going to hide the nice clothes you have on underneath, but you have to wear it for the pictures. Look the part so in 15 years people won’t look at the photos and think you didn’t actually graduate with everyone else.

Lastly, the final advice is to just enjoy the day. No matter if you graduated with a 4.0 or just by the skin of your teeth, you still accomplished something. Celebrate. Have fun. You earned it.