After graduation everyone throws their caps in the air, when they soar back down everyone is holding a different cap that resembles an occupation. Some people hold army hats, others baseball caps, some fast food ones, even a helmet for a space suit. Yours however, doesn’t come back down.
“Well,” you say, looking up at the empty sky above you, “that doesn’t fare well.” Your best friend looks at you with sympathy. She already has put the cap of a popular delivery corporation on her head. “It’s just your first job ever.” She says reassuringly. “Maybe you don’t need one in your business. Many people probably don’t.”
You sigh and look around. Literally every single person you can see has a hat, a cap or a helmet. It’s not reassuring.
You try to apply for jobs, but it doesn’t work out. The main reason why everything keeps crashing and burning is that you don’t know where to apply. You have never worried about your first job, knowing it would be given to you anyway. One after the other, you write CVs and applications and collect rejections. On one evening, you can’t think of another way to describe how flexible in a workplace you are and instead open a new document and start to rant. You write your feelings about graduation on a page, then another and another. You fall quickly into writing an essay about how unfair this predetermination is, how stupid to expect literal children to listen to an age old ceremony that could determine your entire life. Your best friend was smart. She was beautiful. She was inventive. Why should she slave away four years at a delivery company, risk bodily harm and physical strain and possible car accidents when she was going to be so much more one day? You have known her many years and you know she won’t be happy at this job. It will just be something to get by.
You don’t know what to do with the essay so you put it on your blog. Unexpectedly, it gains a lot of attention. People come forth expressing how much their first job has stumped them in carreers, some people to this day are still stuck in the job they had been determined back then and they are miserable. You keep in contact and slowly but surely other people come forth. People like you, who have been stuck at graduation without a returning hat. Who have been dropped into the world without care because they aren’t fit for anything. And when you talk you slowly see similarities.
They spend their life writing. Painting. With photography. Or dancing. Singing. Songwriting. There are people who collect everything to create collages and those who make videos. Some animate, some voice act, some sew or spin or knit or crochet. Many play instruments. Many are poets.
Together you realize how those without hats had time to evaluate themselves, to open their minds to creativity and creation. You call your best friend and talk about what you saw. She bursts into tears because her job has ruined her back and she is afraid she won’t be able to keep doing gymnastics which has brought her so much joy.
A year after, an updated version of your rant is printed in a magazine for youth educaiton. It gains traction. Kids appear to graduation ceremonies without their caps, refusing to let the world determine who they are. You get quite a bit of backlash, mostly from parents who just can’t understand why their kids do not want determined lifes. You know better.
You’ve seen creativity die at the drop of a hat.