This year, thousands of students will graduate from high schools, colleges, professional schools, and graduate programs all over the world. Receiving your diploma in your cap and gown is one of the quintessential rites of passage — the ritual and tradition that hearkens back to the oldest initiatory practices that welcome those who've endured the trials, performed the tasks, and passed the tests put before them, into a community comprised of those who've done the same. Whether you're a new nurse, a freshly minted lawyer, or a soon-to-be-incredibly-jaded English major, your degree tells the world that you've done something important.
In the midst of the pomp and circumstance of the ritual is the shared feeling of joy. You're surrounded by your peers and friends, all of whom have gone through the trials and long nights with you. That esprit de corps can't really be described — it has to be experienced.
The caps you're about to see capture some of the joy, some of the relief, some of the trepidation that every graduate feels as he or she prepares to leave the nest of their alma mater and take flight in the "real world" that beckons them.
Not everyone does it, but those who do make the memory of graduation that much sweeter. These have all been culled from Instagram.