Graduation caps are not suited for very curly hair

Published 5:44 pm Saturday, October 29, 2022

By Jillian Haskin

The graduation cap is something that has become a symbol of achievement among scholars for years, and it continues to do so. It is distinctive in its shape, with many theories regarding its geometrics, unlike that of most caps. Yet it is modernized in its customization, which allows it to symbolize each graduate like no other.

But perhaps, senior photo graduation caps need a slight upgrade for various hairstyles.

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Accommodations: simple, generally accessible, and solvable with a fundamental question. Why do accommodations sometimes boil down to something so difficult?

Some started prepping for senior picture week at Pearl River Central High School at the last minute, others the week before. As for myself, my primary prep started with hair the day before. While it’s normally a ponytail of short, long, medium, tight, loose, and everything-in-between spirals, my curly hair was the biggest prep factor. Sure, my curls hold their value heavily, yet my routine needed inconsistency for senior pictures, which boiled down to using a flat iron.

After a wash, complex blow dry, and a hot straightening session, two hours and thirty minutes were enough to run through a complete hair metamorphosis: straight from curly. Many people consider their hair to be something simple to maintain in the morning and evening, but for me, factoring in almost 30 minutes for my hair was nothing out of the ordinary – just the basic detangling of my curls. So the morning of senior pictures, straight hair presented itself as an angel for my alarm, which was now delayed from a whopping 7:15 to 7:50 a.m.

On Monday, October 24, I walked into the library and stood in line, amidst the most excited to the most nonchalant girls. Yet each of them commonly donned a uniquely similar hairstyle range: straight, curly, or wavy. As more girls filed in,  I couldn’t help but take note of the cap style and the hairstyles presented.

My mental note-taking of this started to formulate into a story when the photographer placed the slippery blue cap on my head, and I realized it would not fit in the case in which I wore it when it’s in its natural state: curly. While it’s probably not something that crossed many minds, as one of the few minorities who are used to a more voluminous state of hair, I could not help feeling a rushing pondering with a bit of uneasiness at the small lack of accommodation.

Though my perspective on the graduation cap not having enough space to accommodate or display curly hair in a natural  manner may not resonate with many who have straight hair and do not find themselves worried about how a swim cap may fit or whether the weather will permit them to have straight hair for more than a day, it is still a weighty, wholehearted value that many photographers and cap-making companies should take into consideration.

Often, graduation caps for curly hair or other voluminous textures can find themselves more accommodating with the addition of a glued-in headband. The simplicity of such a fix is what makes the current senior portrait process so annoying and unaccommodating.