The University of Georgia welcomed 1,575 undergraduates and 1,224 graduate students during its fall 2018 commencement ceremonies. (Photo/Ryan Cameron rac86114@uga.edu)

Graduation can be an exciting time for students and families, but thunderstorms, parking and stadium security can easily turn the experience into a hassle. Use this checklist to prepare yourself for anything the day throws at you.

What happens if it rains

The undergraduate commencement ceremony will be held in Sanford Stadium at 7 p.m. Friday “rain or shine,” according to a UGA press release.

The ceremony could be rescheduled to 10 a.m. Saturday if there is severe weather, according to the press release. A decision will be made by 10:30 a.m. Friday and posted to the UGA home page, uga.edu.

The Weather Channel predicts scattered thunderstorms in Athens on Friday, with a 50% chance of rain. Thunderstorms are also predicted for Saturday, and there is a 100% chance of precipitation.

Where to park

Campus parking is free, but it is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For undergraduate commencement, UGA recommends Hull Deck, South Campus Deck, East Campus Deck and Performing Arts Deck as parking destinations. Tate Deck and the E12 lot on East Campus Road are permit-only. Disability parking will be available at East Campus Deck and North Campus Deck. A shuttle will take visitors from those parking areas to the stadium.

For graduate commencement, which will be held in Stegeman Coliseum, UGA recommends South Campus Deck, Carlton Street Deck and Foley Field Lot. Coverdell and McPhaul lots are restricted to permit-holders only. The Hoke Smith Annex lot will provide disability parking.

UGA has parking maps for both graduate and undergraduate commencements available on its commencement webpage.

What to bring and what not to bring

Stadium gates will open 90 minutes before the ceremony starts, but attendees are encouraged to arrive early. Make sure and use that extra time to get everything you need to avoid getting held up at the entry gates.

The UGA clear bag policy is in effect for commencement, so those who attempt to enter the Sanford Stadium with bags or purses that are not see through will be prohibited entry. However, small clutches without handles are allowed. Clear bags are available for purchase at the UGA Bookstore for those in a pinch.

For loved ones who may want to take photos of their graduates, be aware that camera bags are also prohibited. Make sure to carry your camera or video recorder by itself.

Unopened, clear water bottles are allowed, but water will also be available inside at different concession stands. However, lines do get long, so come prepared with some H20.

Based on the weather forecast for the 2019 commencement ceremony, bringing an umbrella is probably a good bet. Grab one on your way out the door and have no fear — umbrellas are absolutely allowed.

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