Higher education wants to ban the selfie—at least temporarily. Last Week, Bryant University announced a ban on students taking selfies as they cross the podium to accept their degrees. Yesterday, the University of South Florida announced a similar policy. That's two separate schools, and according to the rules of Data Journalism that I just made up, that makes it a trend. The War on Selfies™ has begun.
Well, not really. The bans—which are for the degree hand-off, a part of the graduation ceremony that should take less than 30 seconds per person—are about speed. As one Bryant official put it, “Selfies would slow down the ceremony.” USF offered the same reasoning. This is absolutely 100 percent true.
You can still, believe it or not, enjoy your college graduation without selfies. Firstly, the ban on podium selfies is not a complete ban on selfies. Feel free to take a selfie while seated, or while proceeding in, or whatever. Maybe ignore selfies entirely and take pictures of something that isn’t your face! Do you really want to look back on your graduation photos decades later, only to find a much younger version of the lifeless eyes you face in the mirror every morning?
And lest you think that your graduation will go undocumented, here’s another important thing to note: literally everyone you know will be taking pictures. Your friends, your dad, your mom, your uncle, your great-grandpa, that neighbor from across the street who somehow got a ticket—they will all be snapping photos. Plus, the school will have hired a photographer to get a nice professional shot of you accepting a degree. It’s another revenue stream for them but still, it’ll look better than your slightly blurry Instagram.
Also! Unless you are the most vain person on the planet, you will be absolutely be sick of posing for photos by the end of the day. If your graduation takes place any time after mid-May, there is also very good chance that you will be dying of heatstroke in your cap and gown as you force a smile for Auntie Suze. Graduation is amazing, but it is also a searing hot hellscape that I am happy to never revisit.
Lastly, I know there are some of you out there who will take a podium selfie anyway. You’re super-narcissistic and just can’t kick the habit—I get it. So, for everyone else’s sake, please follow what I have deemed the Four Second Rule: you should be able to take your phone out, take a picture, and put it away within four seconds. (Fun fact: this rule also applies to concertgoers.) At least make an effort to not hold everyone else up. You only get one shot at your podium selfie, so make it count. “Oh shoot, I accidentally left it in video mode and need to change the settings.” Nope, sorry, should have planned ahead. Bye bye, keep moving.