Hats Off For Creativity: 15 Graduation Caps That Made Us Laugh (And Cry)

After many years, sleepless night, tears, and dollars, students finally reach a day when they’re able to say that they're a graduate. And this moment culminates in a ceremony where all of their friends and family members come to watch them walk across a stage and get an empty folder that they can use to put their degree in when it eventually comes in the mail.

Sometimes we go to these things because we really want to do it, and other times we do it because we have to, but whatever the reason is, we try to make the best of it. That’s why people come up with creative ideas to make their ceremony just a little bit more memorable.

On occasion, somebody might decide to pull off a prank. Other times, people bring giant beach balls to toss around in the air as they wait for their name to be called. And if a student really wanted to do something to make it stand out, then they can do something creative to their graduation cap. There’s nothing special about a cap and gown because everybody has on the exact same one, but if you choose to decorate it then that’s something that you can hold on to for the rest of your life (or at least until the moment that it gets lost in storage somewhere years later).

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15 No Job, No Money

Sometimes no matter how hard you try, you can’t get a job right after you graduate. You do everything right, too. You go to class, pay attention, and do your homework so that you end up with perfect grades in all of your classes. You participate in internships so you actually have work experience, but that still isn’t good enough. And since you don’t have a job, that means that you don’t have money. And chances are, you took out some loans to pay for this education, so now not only do you not have a source of income, but you also are in debt.

Because of this, you don’t have enough money to buy yourself a decent meal, let alone fly to Las Vegas with a group of your friends for a bachelorette party. Yes, Annie was poor, but she did have enough money to afford a coach plane ticket to celebrate her friend’s last few moments as a non-married woman.

When you first graduate, that seems like a fantasy. You definitely won’t be doing anything like that anytime soon. The closest you’ll come to experiencing what Ms. Walker felt would be by gathering a group of your gal pals together to watch Bridesmaids.

14 Short Term Memory Loss

I didn’t have this problem when I was working on my undergraduate degree. I strolled straight through all of my classes because I was able to pick up on everything pretty easily. I didn’t even have to study for most of my exams because I could recall a lot of what I was taught in class. All I had to do was just read over my notes a couple of times and then I would be set for any test that I had to take. That’s not the case now. For some reason, everything that I learn while working on my masters just goes in one ear and out the other.

I really do try to pay attention, but nothing that my professors tell me seems to stick.

I feel just like Dory from Finding Nemo. In this movie, the poor fish couldn’t remember anything. The whole purpose of her journey with Marlon was to find his son, Nemo, but many times she wasn’t even able to remember that. If she was ever in college then I’m sure that she would have a seriously hard time retaining anything. Sure, her memory gets better in Finding Dory, but it’s still pretty shoddy.

13 We're All The Grinch

For a lot of us, as we get older, we find ourselves becoming more and more cynical. Life starts to happen and you realize that everything isn’t as amazing as it once was when we were kids.

My mom mentioned to me semi-recently that I’m really cynical, and all I could say in return was, “Duh.” That’s why I relate to The Grinch on a spiritual level.

I find myself wallowing in self-pity on a daily basis. In fact, my day wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t do it. Sometimes I also just happen to stare blankly ahead of me for minutes without any particularly reason why. My dinner time is also always spent alone. And funny enough, all of this behavior started towards the end of my time in college.

The closer I got to graduation, the more that I began to do everything on this graduation cap. And the only reason I went to the actual ceremony was because my parents made such a big deal about it. I didn’t even buy a new outfit to wear. I just put on a skirt and top that I had in my closet because there wasn’t even any point in getting something new because no one would see it.

12 Oldie But Goodie

Whenever decorating graduation caps started to get popular, this was one of the first images I saw.

And when I saw it, I loved it straight away because it referenced one of my favorite scenes in my all-time favorite series in the world.

In Harry Potter, Dobby is a House Elf that serves the Malfoy family. And because he’s an elf, the only way that he can ever become free is if his master gives him an article of clothing.

At the end of Chamber of Secrets (the movie, not the book) Harry takes off his sock and then he puts it inside of Tom Riddle’s diary. When he runs up to Mr. Malfoy to give it back to him, Lucius gives the book to Dobby to hold. Mr. Potter tells the elf to open it up, and once he does, he realizes that there’s a sock inside. Because Mr. Malfoy gave an article of clothing to his servant, it meant that he could finally be free. And when this happens, Dobby says, “Master has given Dobby a sock. Master has presented Dobby with clothes. Dobby is free!” The person who created this cap has just cleverly replaced the word “sock” with “diploma.”

11 Thank You Indeed

When you have a big exam hanging over your head, you may not know where to start. You realize that you have to study, but you just don’t know what’s important enough for you to look at and what’s insignificant enough for you to just pass over. That’s where Quizlet comes in handy. It’s an app that helps you to study by using different tools and games. I first came into contact with it when I was in high school, and I used it religiously. And I definitely continued to use it once I got to college.

The flash cards are particularly useful. Normally when you want to use flash cards, you actually have to get note cards and take the time to write out each word and its definition, but by using this app, all you have to do is find the topic you’re interested in and start studying away. No assembly is required!

And if you want to have a little bit of fun while studying you can use the gravity game. With it, asteroids come across your screen, and inside of each asteroid is a definition. And it’s your job to type the right word that goes with the asteroid as it passes by.

This app is definitely a life saver. I don’t know where’d I be today without it!

10 That's So Fetch!

Just in case you’ve never seen Mean Girls before, this image is a direct reference to that. During one scene, all of the junior girls in North Shore High School are sent to the gym after they all go wild after reading pages from a burn book that’s been passed around and reveals all of their deepest darkest secrets.

They use this time in the gym to share their feelings with one another... Even though only girls from that high school are supposed to be there, one teen from another school ends up inside, and she reveals how she feels.

No one even realizes that she’s not a student there until Damian (a male student, who snuck into the meeting) calls her out. When he doesn’t recognize the girl, he yells, “She doesn’t even go here.” And from that moment on, we were given a new line that we could quote whenever we were in the presence of someone who “doesn’t even go here.” I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve said this phrase since watching this movie. But I haven’t used it at graduation, even though that’s the perfect place to use it. When you graduate, you don’t go to the school anymore, which is why this graduation cap is so great.

9 #Facts

College is expensive, and that’s a fact. There are some schools that are cheaper than others, but if you end up at a four year institution, then you’re tuition is going to be thousands of dollars.

People who go to community college first can cut back on some of the costs. And those individuals who attend state schools can save some dough, too. Judging by the dollar amount on this cap, it looks like this person went to a state school. But if you find yourself at a private university, then you can expect for that number to be six figures.

It’s enough to make you want to cry, but at least some people are able to find a way to laugh through the tears.

This was a clever way of showcasing just how much money their education had cost them. On SpongeBob, they’ll often do time jumps in the narrative, and when this happens the narrator will say something like, “two days later.” And while he’s saying it, the words that he says will pop up on to the screen in font that’s identical to the one that’s used in this picture. And behind the text on the screen you’ll also see a background that’s pretty similar to the one displayed on this hat.

8 Yes You Are

During high school, I read The Gatsby like so many other students, but unlike these students, I blocked it out from my mind because I couldn’t stand that book. And when I say that I "blocked it out," I’m not exaggerating.

Years later when the movie came out, I knew that I had read the book, but I didn’t know anything else about it. I didn’t even remember that I had despised it. So because I couldn’t remember that I disliked it so much, I went to see it. My baby Leonardo DiCaprio was in it, so of course I had to watch it!

I wasn’t sitting there long though before the plot started coming back to me. And then once I began remembering the storyline, I also remembered that I disliked reading it. And the reason why I despised it so much was because of how much Gatsby said, “Old sport.” I know it’s a weird reason to not like a book, but he said it so much that it got really annoying really fast.

It’s like you couldn’t go more than a few paragraphs without seeing that phrase printed on the paper. For that reason, and that reason alone, I did not enjoy this popular story.

7 Keepin' It Fresh

I’m a '90s kid, so I grew up watching The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. I loved everything about this show. I even watch reruns of it now on Netflix, and I don’t even skip the intro. On literally every other show I watch on the streaming site, if they give an option to fast forward past the recap or the theme song, I do it, but I can’t seem to do it for this program.

I happily sit there on my bed with iPad singing along to the tune in my head. I’ve seen it so many times that I can actually picture the entire opening credit sequence in my mind. And that’s because this song is just as iconic as the actual show.

It might even be more popular than the program! I’m sure that there are people out there who have never watched an episode of The Fresh Prince, and still know the track. It’s on the same level as friends. I’ve never seen it, and I know other people who have never seen it, and yet all of us still know the theme music. Programs like this are just too engrained into the fabric of our culture for people not to know at least a little something about it.

6 Of Course!

I’ve only ever watched one season of The Bachelorette, but for anyone who’s a true fan of the show, this is the perfect cap for them.

The men and the women who compete for “love” may change from season to season, but one thing always remains true, and that’s Chris Harrison. Since The Bachelor first aired back in 2008, this man has been the host. He’s even gone on to host the spinoffs as well. So while he may not be asking the question, “Will you accept this rose,” he’s definitely there when the men and women ask this to their suitors. He’s also there to talk the bachelor or the bachelorette to see how they’re handling their journey on the show.

When I watched the season with Rachel as the bachelorette, he had quite a few interviews with her where they discussed what she thought about certain guys and how she was feeling overall. And who knows, maybe the person who created this cap had imaginary conversations with the TV show host in their mind in order to help them get through their classes. Perhaps they owe their success to this man, and that’s why they decided to put him on their cap.

5 Living The Dream

Mulan is such a great movie! It’s one of the first Disney musicals where the leading lady was the one who saved the day. She didn’t need a man to come and save her. She did it herself. Sure she ended up with a guy at the end, but her feelings towards Shang were secondary to her devotion to her family and to her country. She put everything on the line to fight for a noble cause that she cared about, and that’s all any of us really want from life.

The goal is to find something that we’re passionate about and to pursue that with such tenacity that we can’t help but achieve our dreams.

That’s what Mulan teaches us, and that’s what college is supposed to help us do, so it’s definitely appropriate that this individual decided that they were going to use this movie on their cap. And they found the perfect line to show that they were off to bigger and better things. I’m sure that this graduate isn’t getting ready to go off to war to try and defeat the Huns from invading China, but they are all grown up and depending on what they’re doing after graduation, they might even end up destroying a life or two.

4 Play On Words

Depending on what you’re studying in college, you’ll either graduate with a BA or a BS. A BA, or Bachelors or Arts, is usually given to people who are majoring in a liberal arts subject. It’s more holistic than a BS in the sense that people who are awarded this degree are usually forced to take classes in a range of different liberal arts subjects, as opposed to only focusing on classes that have to deal with their specific major.

A BS, or Bachelors of Science, is for those individuals who focused on one particular subject matter. Instead of learning a little bit of everything, their years in college are devoted to mastering the technical and practical skills that are necessary to go into the specific field that they are studying.

This graduation cap has a double meaning. It lets us know that the person who’s wearing it has received a BS and not a BA, but it also echoes a sentiment that all college graduates, regardless of major, feel. After four or more years of constant sleepless nights, stress, mental breakdowns, lack of a social life, papers, tests, quizzes, and lessons, you just hope that all of that BS wasn’t for nothing.


3 Meredith Understands Their Pain

The back and forth between Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd in the first few seasons of Grey’s Anatomy were exhausting. The whole "will they, won’t they" thing got old fast.

You could clearly tell that they both loved each other, but after a while you just wanted them to get together or move on from each other.

In season two, episode five, Meredith delivers one of her most iconic speeches. She’s fed up with having to wait for Derek to decide if he’s going to officially divorce Addison or not, so she essentially gives him an ultimatum when she says, “Okay, here it is. Your choice, it's simple, her or me. And I'm sure she's really great. But Derek, I love you. In a really, big really big pretend to like your taste in music, let you eat the last piece of cheesecake, hold a radio over my head outside your bedroom window, unfortunate way that makes me hate you... love you. So pick me. Choose me. Love me. I'll be at Joe's tonight, so if you do decide to sign the papers, meet me there.”

So this graduate may not be fighting to win over the love of their life, but they are fighting to get a job. They just want someone to pick them and to choose them, and that’s not really too much to ask.

2 Wait For It

Barney Stinson is an interesting character to say the least. He is one of five main characters on How I met your Mother. While the other four characters seem to have a semi-normal life, Barney leads one that’s highly intriguing. He’s a bachelor and he takes full advantage of that fact.

Most of his life is made up of him finding elaborate ways to trick women into sleeping with him. He’s essentially the epitome of the word “womanizer.” In addition to this, he works at this bank doing a mysterious job. It’s years before any of his friends find out what he actually does. And even though this show is shot in the 2000s, Barney has a handful of catch phrases like he’s a character from an old-school sitcom like Family Matters, Full House, or Diff’rent Strokes.

One of those catch phrases happens to be depicted on this graduation cap. Whenever Mr. Stinson does something that he thinks is epic, he says, “It was legen, wait for it…dary! Legendary!” Apparently this graduate thought that their time at college was legendary. Their school years were filled with many awesome memories, and they decided that the best way to capture that would be by using this quote from HIMYM.

1 Oh! Now I Get It!

Boy Meets World was such a huge part of many '90s kids’ lives. We grew up with these characters, and watched the show religiously. As we continued to progress through our education, we could use the lessons from this program in our own life. And since the show followed Cory and the gang through their first couple of years in college, we were even able to use it during our years at college as well.

This cap, however, is referencing their early years.

By the time the characters in the show reached high school there was finally a proper theme song with lyrics, but before that we only had an instrumental to listen to. In the middle of the series, we got to see the gang driving in a car as clips from the show passed by overhead, but when the program first came on the opening credits were typical of a '90s sitcom.

It had the corny “pan to a character while they silently move their lips” aspect. But because it was also meant for kids, it had things like rollerblades and baseballs floating around a white screen.

It definitely isn’t one of my favorite openings for a TV show, but it’s a part of my childhood so I still feel an insane amount of nostalgia for it, and so does Chris.

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