Graduation season is upon us. In a few short weeks, a lot of us will give up the safety and security college provided us and enter the world of grown-up, tax-paying adults (hopefully) with careers. If that’s not enough to make you run for the hills, then I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe you’re just more emotionally and mentally stable than the majority of us.
You’ve picked out your dress (and a back-up, just in case). You decided on a cute pair of wedges, lest a heel get stuck in the turf of your football stadium and you eat shit a la Lizzie McGuire. As for jewelry, if there was ever a more appropriate time to rock your full set of pearls, I’d be hard pressed to find it. The last piece of the puzzle? None other than your graduation cap.
There are a lot options available to one when debating about how exactly to personalize a graduation cap. Just Pinterest ‘graduation cap’ and I guarantee you’ll be overwhelmed with all the endless options. After all, the cap is going to be a statement of your entire graduation day and will live on for years to come in pictures. You need to get it right the first time because you won’t get another chance.
A neutral background, or one that matches your dress, with a monogram and/or a tribute to your sorority. Well executed but nothing too flashy.
• Pros: Something simple is destined to look good in pictures. A basic design won’t take away from the real star of the show (you) but it also shows that you put effort into memorializing the day. This design is classy and simple, normally just like the girl who gravitates towards it.
• Cons: It’s called basic for a reason. Anybody with half a brain cell could’ve come up with the same concept, which is why at least 50 percent of the girls graduating will be sporting a similar design. If you’re looking to stand out or get points for creativity, this is not your best option.
The most classic sentimental example is grad cap with the words ‘Thanks Mom & Dad’ front and center. That, or an over-used quote about friendship, success, and the classic Dr. Suesss “Oh the places you’ll go,” quote.
• Pros: When I think sentimental, I immediately think acknowledging the people that helped you get to this point, i.e. graduation. In most instances, this is going to be your parents, and shouting them out on one of the most important days of your life is an incredibly kind gesture. It says that this graduation is equal parts yours as it mine. Sharing this day and the memories with the people that made it possible screams maturity and respect.
• Cons: I tend to follow the belief that actions speak louder than words. Yes, thanking your parents on graduation cap is sweet, but you know what they would appreciate a lot more? You not being a giant cunt when you’re hungover and don’t want to talk or answer their phone calls instead of sending them to voicemail. Putting a ‘Thank You’ on a cap just for the Insta likes is really not the same as being a good person or good child, so if you go the sentimental route, be prepared to back it up with your actions. Also, a lot of the sentimental quotes are overused and can just as easily be classified under the ‘basic’ category. Craft carefully.
Don’t confuse this with that “I know I wined a lot but I did it!” quote. Funny grad caps are pulled from current pop culture and clever enough that it might go over the head of the uninformed passerby, but anyone with half a brain will get a nice chuckle out of.
• Pros: Assuming you do it right, it’s a great way to add levity to an emotional day. Also, everyone will think you’re just about the funniest person in the world with a clever, tongue-in-cheek grad cap design. Random people will be coming up to you all day to comment on your hat, making you feel even more like a rockstar.
• Cons: There are a lot of ways to do this wrong. Simply going onto Pinterest and stealing one of the clever ideas is not going to go unnoticed and you’ll end up looking like a tryhard. Plus, if the joke is too abstract, you run the risk of no one getting it and being forced to explain the joke over and over again. And everyone knows if you have to explain it, it’s not funny.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume this is self-explanatory.
• Pros: The obvious advantage to not decorating your cap is that you don’t have to waste time, money, and sanity to trying to come up with and execute the best design. Also, the pictures will be timeless and won’t be dated by a joke that while funny in 2016, is completely irrelevant 20 years from now.
• Cons: The majority of people decorate their caps, even girls who you would never in a million years expect to see with a hot glue gun in hand. Not decorating your grad cap doesn’t make you unique — it makes you lazy and/or uncreative.