Stereotypical Ways to Decorate Your Mortarboard

With graduation comes a rite of passage. From taking stereotypical senior pictures at the Lion Shrine and Old Main, to crossing off arbitrary things on your bucket list, time is winding down for the #ClassOf2014. One of the most infamous rites of passage for college seniors, especially us ladies, is the right to decorate our mortarboard with as much duct tape, rhinestones, and glitter as humanly possible. Whether you decorate to stand out from your fellow peers, to be witty, or to honor those who have helped you cross that stage, there are an infinite amount of ways to make your cap pop. Here is your guide to some of the most popular:

1) Something with Joe Paterno- The Class of ’14 has seen its fair share of ups and downs at Penn State, but we were fortunate enough to watch the final season of one of college football’s most legendary coaches. Though we might not all be running to sign up for PS4RS, many people have looked up to JoePa for their entire lives, and what better way to honor him than slapping sparkly JVP letters onto your cap? Maybe build another statue?


2) Something for the ‘rents- It is no secret that most of us wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the support and guidance (and sometimes hard-earned cash) of our parents. Whether your whole family has attended Penn State since 1855, or you are a first generation Penn Stater, your parents have probably fallen in love with PSU just like you have. Special shout-out to this girl for also thanking coffee. #holla.

A handful of new graduates expressed themselves with decorative caps Dec. 21.

3) Something witty about loans- If you aren’t drowning in student debt, please refer back to number two and thank your mom & dad a couple hundred thousand times. If you are drowning in student loans like the rest of America, what better way to give a big ‘ol middle finger to the system than to be funny on that weird hat you wear that basically cost you $100,000? Whether you choose a play on words or just outright list your debt, this is your chance to show the man who is boss, and how much you still owe him.


4) “Hire me”- We have probably all heard the myth of the graduate who made the bold move of writing “Hire Me” on their cap, and actually got hired because of it. Now who is to say these are all myths, but if you go with the sort-of-played-out “Hire me”, make sure you find a way to stand out so you don’t just end up with a cap to remind of your job-less future.

hire me

5) Penn State Logo, Four Diamonds, Paw Print etc– Whether you choose to go with a paw print, the Nittany Lion logo, Four Diamonds, or anything else Penn State-esque, these caps will definitely be seen throughout the BJC. This choice gives you pretty much free reign to express your Penn State pride in whatever capacity you would like, as long as it includes LOTS of rhinestones and glitter. FTK y’all.


6) Anything else crazy/funny/weird/cool/Harry Potter related- My eyes have definitely been opened after my in depth research for this post. People have thought of just about everything when it comes to decorating their mortarboard, from strange quotes to the hundreds of Harry Potter references I saw, their is really an infinite amount of ways you can express your joy/pain of having to leave Penn State. Here is one of my personal favorites though:


So whether you choose to be a Penn State stereotype, a grateful child, or a witty douchebag, be sure to keep in mind that you will have to look at these pictures for the rest of your life– so keep it classy Penn State, and CONGRATS!

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About the Author

Mara Kern

Mara is a senior majoring in public relations with a minor in business. She is from Cranberry Twp., PA and enjoys blogging, cats, tweeting, and not wanting to graduate.

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