If you graduated from high school years ago like me and went off to college then you may remember the things you took with you way back when. I remember that I got a refrigerator and a typewriter, yes a typewriter. Well although things have changed, some things have also stayed the same or have just changed the way it looks but have the same function. Here are some gift ideas for your graduating senior that you can get a start on now to help with the big expense in August.
1. A laptop – College kids still need a way to crank our those papers but laptops will also help them do research or blog with their professors and fellow classmates, and of course they can email you too.
2. A bag for the laptop – so that they can carry their laptop around campus.
3. A printer and refill ink – what good is a computer if you can’t print? This is also a necessity as it will help your university bound child not procrastinate and then find him/herself in a bind because he/she can’t print – at least that is what we hope.
4. A refrigerator – kids still need their own private stash of drinks and cold-cuts.
5. Bedsheets and comforter – what a shock! Sometimes we forget that our young men and women are going to dorms not hotel rooms.
6. Towels and washcloths – for the same reason as number 5.
7. Shower supplies including soap, tooth brush and paste, shampoo and conditioner, razors (for both guys and gals), flip flops for the showers, deodorant, lotion, and other personal items…
8. A shower caddy – to carry all the bathroom necessities.
9. A new book-bag – chances are the one from high school has seen better days.
10. Office supplies – printing paper, stapler and staples, paper clips, tape, post-its, index cards, pens and pencils, calculator, etc.
11. Appropriate clothing – Once you know where your child will attend, what is the weather there? Is it different than where you live? Does he/she need warm or cold weather clothes or both? Do they need shorts and tees or sweaters and coats? Does it rain a lot? Will they need an umbrella? So many things to think about.
12. Stationary/journal/photo album/address book/stamps – okay so I date myself with these items but some kids still “write home” or just write on paper (not just on the computer)… Okay, not many, but some, so these would be nice stocking stuffers or items for a small gift basket.
13. A new flash drive to store their college papers on.
14. Cell phones with a great unlimited plan. College students, especially Freshman, get very lonely; they will call home… and they will call their friends… Suck it up and expect it. Make sure texting is included also or you or they may be in for an awful/expensive surprise.
15. Money – All college students need money. That is a great gift to tell family to get for them. Visa cards work well too.
16. Dishes and pots, toaster, coffee pot or at least paper plates, a bowl, plastic ware, and a mug. After a while, the dining hall food will be abandoned and/or your kid will need a midnight snack and whether they have cold-cuts or not, what are they going to spread the mayonnaise with?
17. Transportation – be it an airplane ticket home, or a car, or a bus ticket/pass. Your kid is going to need means of transportation and maybe a city map or GPS.
18. An alarm clock – you won’t be there to get him/her up. Make sure it is a good alarm clock. Cell phone alarms may not be loud enough or always on.
19. Condoms – It is hard to believe and even harder to accept, but chances are even if your child is not sexually active before college, they are likely to be by the time they come home. Even if your daughter is on birth-control pills, she needs condoms and with the condoms, both males and females may need a final discussion about responsibility and morality… Even if your religion teaches no premarital sex (don’t most?) Have that conversation.
20. A checking account and credit card. If your kid doesn’t know how to handle money because you never spoke to him/her about it, then it is past time to have some financial education…
21. Tylenol, cold medicine and Vitamins – but make sure you talk about the the dangers of the overuse of caffeinated beverages or No-Doze… (Do they still make that?) Nothing beats sleep. And while you are at it; reinterate your views about illegal drugs…
22. A camera – to take memories.
23. An Ipod – for their listening pleasure.
24. A watch so that they can be on time for class; plus they will look cool and grown up.
25. New underwear and socks. Yes, these are young men and women but if they don’t already buy their own underwear and socks, you may need to give them a supply to go.
26. A framed photo of the family.
27. A good solid suitcase and or duffel bag or both.
28. Hangers for those new clothes.
29. A Bible or your religion’s holy book or relics. College and independence is hard. We all need to trust our faith.
Letting go of our kids is not easy, especially when we still feel responsible for them. It is also very expensive, especially if you want to give them a leg up… so take a deep breath and exhale. Then spread the expense out by thinking about what your son/daughter will need in a few months and begin giving them it a few gifts at a time.