College is the time for many young people to cast off the cloak of parental protection and start taking care of themselves. Naturally, most of them fail miserably. From refrigerators filled only with condiments, to mattresses without fitted sheets, to flip-flop sandals being worn as winter boots, college students have done a lot to earn their somewhat haphazard reputation. Luckily, giving your child a shot at maturity doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t give them other things as well. Here are five gifts you can give to the young scholar who might still need one foot in the nest.
1. Gift Cards
Some people have mixed feelings about giving gift cards. True, gift cards can be impersonal and forgettable, but they can also be really useful. This is a time in your student’s life when the day-to-day routine can take on a “fly-by-the-seat-of-one’s-pants” quality. Most college students operate on a very limited budget. True, many have jobs in that allow them some small amount of monetary compensation. Of course, those who do, often find themselves cramming 30 hours of work into 24 hour days, due to the added load of a full school schedule. The point is, students frequently find themselves in dire need of something completely mundane. Gift cards allow the student to easily make that purchase, without having to wonder what else they should—or could—be spending the money on.
In an age of fast-as-light digital downloading and paperless classrooms, many college professors still require their students to purchase textbooks. Never mind that the professor him or herself might be the author of said book, and that students are often paying twice for the same information. The sad truth is that when a college instructor says “book,” students are required to say “where buy?”So if you want to get your student something that they’re sure to use, why not chip in and buy a couple of text books? It may not be the most exciting gift, but it’ll defiantly be appreciated. Just a bit of warning, however: text books can be expensive. Consider shopping online or buying used if you want to keep the cost down under three digits.
3. Emergency Kit
There’s a reason it’s called an emergency and not an expectancy. If we knew when one was coming, it wouldn’t even be a problem. The terror of an emergency is lessened when one has the resources to deal with it. But for someone living in a dorm and trying to make three outfits last seven days, there aren’t a whole lot of situations that aren’t emergencies. Getting your student a small emergency preparedness kit can mean a lot. It should contain things like water, non perishable food, first aid supplies, toiletries, and anything else that might come in handy. Another useful item is a well stocked tool box. Why not bundle the two items together for the ultimate utilitarian present?
This doesn’t necessarily mean a car. If you can afford to give your student an automobile, more power to you, but really most college towns tend to pack all of the interesting and important locations into just a few square blocks. How about springing for a decent bicycle instead? It’ll allow your student to get from point A to point B, it’ll keep them in shape, and it’ll save them money on gasoline. The handlebar basket is optional.
5. Seasonal Clothing and Apartment Furnishings
Many college students end up going to school in climates very different from what they’re used to. A Californian attending school Maine might not realize what cold actually is, and an Alaskan in Florida may find that what they packed for summer is equally inappropriate. If you think that your student might be wearing a windbreaker in subzero temperatures, do them a favor and get them a nice coat. Just, whatever you do, try to match their preferred style. After all, no little bird wants to take their first flight looking like a dork.
Along with clothing is apartment furnishings. I don't recommend buying a huge T.V and the latest gaming system, (you do want the to study, right?). The simple basics will do. Whether it be dining ware and utinsels, kitchen appliances, blankets and towels, or even taking them on a grocery shopping spree, all will be greatly appreciated.
About the Author: Paisley Hansen is a freelance writer and crafter who is an expert in fleece fabric. When she isn't writing or working on a craft project, she can usually be found reading a good book.