9 Ways for 2018 Graduates to Spruce Up Your Graduation Outfit

Red Pegasi, graduation is so close and it hurts my heart to know that we will be leaving our beloved MoHome soon to navigate “the real world”. While Mount Holyoke is not perfect and has room for improvement (as does anywhere else), nothing has been more real than being at such an amazing college which exposes students to new ideas, innovative ways of thinking more critically and effectively problem-solving, inspiring leaders, and helping to mold more conscious activists, talented and educated students soon to be members of societies all over the world. While it may be bittersweet to be graduating soon, it is a wonderful day to celebrate all your accomplishments, involvements, and hard work, and to make this day even more exciting or special there are a few things you can do with your graduation regalia or outfit to spruce them up and simultaneously show your pride! Here are 9 of my favourite ideas on how you can decorate or add to your graduation outfit to make things a little more colourful, fun, or personal to you!


1. Decorate your cap

Decorating graduation caps is one of the most common ways to spice up graduation regalia around the world. You really have no limit on what you can do with this and your only limit is really your imagination! You could write meaningful quotes, Bible verses, meaningful words from people you know, acknowledge people who got you to where you are, or include anything that you think is special about you or who you are, or where you are from to decorate your cap. If you want to make it a little more humourous you can also decorate it with fun images or funny quotes, or inside jokes you may have with friends, professors, significant others, or family. Whatever you decide to do have fun with it, and maybe even turn it into a bonding event with your friends where you all decorate your caps together! This is also pretty reasonable in terms of price if you can make use of things lying around your room or you can find cheap supplies at a dollar store or something, and then you can save a little bit of money to put towards the repayment of those college loans!


2. Wear something special to you or your family

Some families have traditions around graduation and may have special colours, accessories, or heirlooms that can be incredibly meaningful. If you have anything your family treasures, or that you treasure because you got it from a loved one, make sure to take it out for this special day to celebrate your success! If you’re not sure of what you could do, but are interested in this idea, use this opportunity to learn more about your family by asking family members if there is anything passed on that you could wear or any family traditions around graduations, and if not think about starting one for yourself (and potential kin to come after you!).


3. Personalized jewelry or class rings

Another thing you could do to make things more interesting is to deck out your garb with beautiful or classy jewelry and accessories. If you have a class ring it would be a good idea to wear it, and think about all the fancy pictures that you could take featuring your fingers. However, if for whatever reason you don’t have one, could not afford or didn’t want to spend several hundred dollars on one ring, or lost it (I hope to God this isn’t true for anyone reading this, otherwise RIP class ring), there are several websites out there that allow you to customize different kinds of jewelry (bracelets, rings, necklaces, etc.) at a much more affordable price; you almost have unlimited options with this!


4. Campus involvement or academic honour cords

Add a pop of colour with honour cords that recognize your accomplishments or involvement on campus. This can be really special since being passionate about or spending a considerable amount of time on different activities on campus is incredibly meaningful and worth recognition. If you are part of an org or team that has custom cords for their members, then this is a great way to represent whatever you have been involved in and has been a significant part of your college career. I know I will be wearing a Her Campus cord because it has been a privilege for me to be a part of the Her Campus Mt. Holyoke team on campus, and I’ve met so many amazing and talented people through the org (as well as it creating space for more personal growth, and also helping me develop and refine my leadership skills more, in running the team with Lyssi)!


5. Get a custom stole made

Though people of colour at Mount Holyoke have the option of receiving a kente stole (pictured above) at the stolling ceremony that is customized to a certain extent, if you want something more personal to you (or if you are not a person of colour), you can also order a custom graduation stole online. You can do a lot with this from repping your flag, to having your name embroidered on it, to acknowledging whatever or whomever you want! One thing to make note of is that this option is a lot more pricey, but the stole should also last you a lifetime and make for amazing pictures and a great memento.


6. Wear your class colour (Red!!!)

This one should be easy since you should already have lots of red in your closet as a loyal Pegasus (right?!), but wearing red to graduation would be apt and rounds out our college experience connecting us back to our very first convocation in 2014. Wear the class colour and make sure everyone knows that you have 2018 pride! 20 - 18! 20 - 18! 20 - 18!


7. Rep your country flag(s), your organization, or anything else special to you

You can represent anything (a country, place, person, etc.) that is special to you in multiple ways, and I have given a few examples for you, but you can do this in any way that is meaningful for you. Really there are so many ways you could do this so use your imagination; admire the brilliance of the custom made stole above with the Haitian flag on it, and let your creative juices flow!


8. Coordinate with friends

Graduation may be the last time you will see so many of your MHC friends at once, especially if you’re from or live abroad, and it’s a great time to take lovely pictures and to make even greater memories. Coordinate with your friends on something that connects you, something that you all love, or that makes you laugh- there is a lot you can do with this! Your Mount Holyoke experience would not be the same with the special connections you’ve made here, so working with friends to do something together or match, whatever you decide, would only make the moment even sweeter.


9. Have fun!

This is less of an item that you can wear, but make sure to enjoy your day and have fun on graduation day! It’s a day about you and all your hard work so don’t let anything come in the way of your spectacular day! Like the astute little Annie believes, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile”, so make sure you’re wearing your biggest and most genuine one!

I hope you enjoyed reading these suggestions, and that you will try out some of these ideas for graduation, or that they at least sparked some more ideas of your own (I know I will be having fun with some of them!). Whatever you end up doing or wearing can add to your day, but they are also not necessary (especially since doing some of these can be quite costly!) for you to have a phenomenal day. Whatever you decide or wear does not always mean that much, because at the end of the day what is important is that you made it to the end of your journey at Mount Holyoke even in spite of whatever challenges were thrown your way, and then you will be preparing to start another journey whatever that might look like for you! Own YOUR day and bask in your glory, success, and determination, because you earned that piece of paper! Congratulations class of 2018!


Image sources: Cover, 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e, 1f, 1g, 1h, 1i, 1j, 1k, 1l, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

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