It is the biggest day of a student's life - and sometimes the most stressful - but for one lucky De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) student, graduation will be a day of pampering and luxury.
Psychology student Erin Dwyer was picked as the winner of DMU's Ultimate Graduation prize - a package of gifts including hair treatment, photographs, robe hire, slap-up meal, drinks and gift vouchers.
Three winners were chosen from those who entered the contest, which asked students to send in a photo of themselves and their favourite DMU memory.
Second prize, of a £50 Highcross gift voucher, family meal and drinks at Meatcure and a cocktail making session in the Maiyango Tasting Room went to Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Science student Shivani Raja.
While third prize, of a £50 Highcross gift voucher and family meal at The Kitchen at The Cookie, was awarded to Luke Smith, who is graduating in English Language and Media.
Erin's entry took the top prize but as the first university graduate in her family, it was the chance the prize offered her to celebrate with her family which was the best part.
Erin, who graduates with a 2:1 at one of the new-look ceremonies being held at The Venue@DMU this month, said: "The hair appointment will be great and the vouchers are nice but it's the meal and drinks I can have with my family which I'm most looking forward to.
"My mum is so proud; every time she talks about me graduating she starts to cry."
For her entry to the competition, Erin sent in a picture from a night out during Fresher's week, when she first came to DMU, which she said was the first point she realised how fun university would be, having been nervous beforehand.
She said: "I'd moved from Birmingham so it was all new and a bit scary but I was helped out by student volunteers from second and third years, who gave me advice and support.
"It helped so much I decided I wanted to volunteer and have done for the last couple of years, meeting new students at Fresher's."
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Erin's prize includes a £100 Highcross gift voucher, £150 Virgin Experience, free photography and robing from Northams, two tickets to her graduation ceremony, a family meal and drinks at Maiyango, hair makeover at Danique and family cocktails at Bruxelles.
Keri Daniel, owner of Leicester hairdresser Danique - which will also have a stall in the Graduation Village, being set up for graduates and their families to enjoy during the week's worth of ceremonies - said she enjoyed helping make the graduands feel more confident.
She said: "It's such a big day and like so many big days, having your hair done is part of what makes it so special.
"They're nervous about little things and we can put their mind at ease. It's so fun to have students come in here; it's such a good atmosphere. And we see some go off into careers but come back and see us again because they've enjoyed the experience here."
Aatin Anadkat BEM, managing director of Hotel Maiyango, said: "We have a wonderful relationship with De Montfort University here at Maiyango, from past partnerships to us taking on staff who are DMU students.
"Being involved in the graduations is a great way for us to give something back and it's lovely to be a part of people's happy memories that they'll treasure forever from graduation."
Second runner-up Luke said his entry was a photo of Brian May, taken when the Queen guitarist visited DMU to talk about his new book and after Luke had the opportunity to interview the rock legend.
He said: "I'm going to stay on in Leicester, you know, there's a lot going on here and I'm working on my entry to the Student Radio Awards, having won at the Demon FM awards.
"Really happy to have won a prize for this competition; might just have to get a new pair of shoes with the voucher."
Posted on Wednesday 13th July 2016