My first day of graduate school was similar to everyone else's, except that I shaved my head the night before.
This was a big deal for me. I've spent most of my life with rather long hair (roughly waist-length), and shaving it all off was kind of emotional. Not to mention my mom's reaction when I sent her the photo above. I haven't had a haircut (no, not even a trim) since then.
It was something like a social experiment. It turns out, I *was* treated very differently with such a haircut: some people shied away from talking to me, or asked me if I was a cancer survivor. As it started to grow out but was still short, women tried to pick me up on the assumption that I was a lesbian. About a year and a half into the program, my hair was long enough that I wasn't perceived as aberrant any longer.
I wanted to commemorate my ever-growing hair with a unique hair clip.
This clip is a 5-piecer, representing the 5 years it will have taken me to finish my PhD.
At the top, I have a 3D scan of my own head (making a rather funny face, which was sort of how I felt about grad school when I began).
Second, I have a bicycle wheel. My first and second years of grad school found me floundering a bit for things to do (it was suddenly hard to make friends? grad students don't make time for hangouts the way undergrads do, it seems), so my husband and I went on a lot of bike rides.
The third piece is a dogskull. This represents a sport I got very serious about in my third year of graduate school: Jugger. The game is played with a dogskull as the ball.
Fourth is a d20 that my husband and I collaborated on designing. In that year of grad school some friends and I organized a Dungeons & Dragons group for regular play (we're still playing!).
Finally, I have a hair end. I typically wear my hair braided, and at the end of the braid is a mess of hair held together by a ponytail. This represents the end of my hair-growing, as I plan to cut it again (finally) once I make my thesis defense.
Recreating this artifact is easy. The head was printed at 100% size, but all the other pieces were printed at 75% size so they don't overwhelm the design.
Once printed, the pieces are linked with small metal rings through their printed holes. I then affixed a large ring at the top, and slid a hair clip through it to allow attaching it to the hair I now have.