Graduation Celebrations: The Lebanese way

“Regardless of much it will cost, we will go anyway,” said Yara Moussawi, a graduating student from the Lebanese American University. “We do not graduate every day so we might as well.”
by Sally Farhat and Ghadir Hamadi

28 May 2018 | 12:52

Source: by Annahar

A group of gala party LAU students along with singer Shiraz (black dress). (Photo courtesy of Filmline Production).

BEIRUT: Caps and gowns week is just around the corner. 

Between drowning in finals and having pangs of nostalgia for the four years that passed in the blink of an eye, graduating students still find time to think of the parties and celebrations that follow the big day.

But, the excitement of students for all those parties seems to go far beyond the usual to overshadow the expenses of attending such events.

The costs of post-graduation plans, which swing between partying with friends and attending parties organized by universities, is the last thing some students take into consideration.

From party tickets to makeup and dresses, how much are students ready to spend on this once-in-a-lifetime event?

 “Regardless of much it will cost, we will go anyway,” said Yara Moussawi, a graduating student from the Lebanese American University. “We do not graduate every day so we might as well.”

Spending lavishly on this once-in-a-lifetime event is the trend.

Despite how far ahead a party is scheduled, students have started preparing their outfits and taking hair and makeup appointments.

“I reserved my spot in one of the most prestigious salons in Beirut even though my graduation is still a bit far,” said Moussawi. “You never know when it might get fully booked!”

Ghinwa Kordab, a business management student at the Lebanese University, pointed out eagerly that “spending over $200 on hair and make-up for a night out is worth it since we are celebrating years of hard work at university.”

Students also consider that those parties allow them to finally let off some steam after the high-level pressure of finals and thus, are worth all the spending.

 Nada Kattan, a media student at the American University of Beirut, has already rented a $220 dress from “The Hour Dress.” She has also booked a professional make-up artist to glamorize her and friends for the night.

As much as students love these galas, local hair and makeup salons as well as soiree dress stores acknowledge the “abundant spending trend” and probably love this season a bit more. After all, it’s a chance for an increase in profit.

“I usually take $150 for hair and make-up, but if a group of three or more girls come together in preparation for prom I only charge them $100 each,” Mona Ousama who owns a small beauty parlor in Beirut revealed to Annahar of her strategy to attract more of the lavish spenders.

After spending approximately $400 on the right look, one might assume that students are ready to party. But, the cost burden does not stop here. Graduates still have to pay for the high-priced tickets to attend the desired party.

At the American University of Beirut, galas organized by the various university departments are some of the most highbrow events students can attend.

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences held its gala at Phoenicia Hotel on April 30; while the gala hosted by the Business Student Society of the Olayan School of Business was held at Les Talus on May 24.

With the average school party costing approximately 115,000 L.L. per ticket, gala dinners are criticized as being “elitist” by thrifty students.

“I’ve attended the gala party a month ago but, skipped the graduation party that was held on May 14,” said Fatima Al Mahmoud, a senior from LAU. “One was enough for me; more of those become just too much,” adding that her set budget covering tickets, dressing, and makeover is a maximum of $300.

Unlike Al Mahmoud who decided to attend one event out of cost-consciousness, other students do not have enough financial backup to think about the subject.

Rawan Hussainy, a senior student at AUST said she won’t be able to attend the graduation ceremony.

“I work in sales part time at ABC Achrafieh to pay my university fees,” said Hussainy. “I definitely cannot afford to spend more money on a lavish dress and makeup, in addition to the ceremony’s fees.”

With all the sky-striking prices, some other students even found it more financially appropriate to organize their own celebrations.

Sarag Hovsepian, who will be graduating with a degree in Media and Communications from AUB, is planning a cozy dinner at Society Bistro before the graduation ceremony to make up for the skipped galas.

“It’s better to enjoy our last few days having conversation and enjoying each other’s company,” she noted, rather than going to a gala and spending the night with people “we don’t really know.”

Yara Halawi, a graphic design student, found her best celebration plan to be a long night of sleep after four years of studious work in the school studio.

 “I think the first step is sleeping and gaining back my energy,” said Halawi.

Contributor: Tala Hammour

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