Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Presents for College Freshmen: Tips on What to Buy and Why

 Photo courtesy of Unsplash


First-year college students are starting a new chapter of their lives. They are finally on their own and experiencing the freedom and independence of living away from home for the first time. At this point, this means leaving friends, family, and favorite hobbies behind for a new home, new roommates, and an unfamiliar routine filled with classes and various clubs. So with this in mind, what kind of gifts do you get for a college freshman? There is no shortage of ideas. But before you rush out to grab something random from your local department store (which might not be advisable because of the risk of coming off as cheap), it’s important to understand why these young adults need recognition and affirmation at this time in their lives. You will want to give your child the best presents to prepare them for college.


Why Gifts Are Important for Freshmen


Although it might seem as though freshmen would not be as interested in receiving gifts compared to other life stages, this is not the case. Presents serve a greater purpose for first-year students than any other age group. As these young adults begin a new chapter in their lives and may face new challenges and uncertainties, receiving gifts can help them feel more connected, supported, and reassured. It’s also important to remember that they might think they have very little to offer others during this time. This makes them extra grateful for any gifts they receive.


Reinforcement and Recognition


As newly minted first-year college students begin to carve out their identities in a new setting, they will likely experience the occasional uncertainty that comes with forging a new path. They may wonder if they have made the right choices or feel pressure to conform to certain expectations. This makes them especially receptive to recognition at this time. The simplest way to reinforce their options and help them stay confident in their new situation is to acknowledge and celebrate what they are doing. For example, if a student is involved in a club or organization, find out more about their interests and goals, and show your appreciation for their hard work and dedication.


Helping Them Grow


As freshmen move away from home, they often face new challenges and growth opportunities. One common challenge is learning how to manage their money. Whether you want to gift them cash or a card that can be spent on what they need, giving them cash is a great way to help them get on their feet and feel more independent. Students are often busy with classes and extracurriculars, so gifting them something that can help them relax and have fun is another way to help them grow. For example, if you know they enjoy reading or going to the movies, consider gifting them a membership to their local library or a gift card to their favorite movie theater.


Celebrating Their Unique Interests and Strengths


First-year students often have a lot of interests and passions, but they may not feel like they have the time or resources to explore and develop these passions fully. Keep in mind that they may have already chosen a major, which means they likely have a long-term plan for how they want to explore and develop their interests. If you aren’t sure how to support their interests, try to find opportunities for them to explore their passions. For example, if your friend has a love for gardening and working outdoors, consider gifting them a membership to their local botanical garden or membership to a community garden.


A Way of Connecting Through Shared Experiences


As with all life stages, college presents opportunities for people to share hobbies, interests, and experiences. If you want to gift something that will help your gift recipient explore and develop new passions, consider buying them a gift card to their favorite restaurant or movie theater or a gift card to their local museum or community event. If you want to go further, consider creating a group experience where everyone can connect over shared interests. For example, if you and your friends have a love for board games, consider gifting a subscription to a board-game-of-the-month subscription. If everyone contributes to the gift, you can make it more meaningful by choosing a board game suited to your gift recipient’s interests and passions.


Jewelry to Mark the Occasion


The start of a new chapter in your life is a great occasion to mark with a gift. If you know your friend’s birthstone, that’s a great place to start when choosing a gift. Birthstones are widely recognized and can be a great personal gift without being too emotional. Earrings, pendants, and rings are other terrific options for jewelry. If you want to mark the occasion but don’t know your friend’s birthstone, consider getting them a piece of jewelry with a meaningful symbol or design for both of you. If you want to mark the occasion but don’t know your friend’s interests, consider getting them a piece of jewelry like a pendant necklace with a meaningful symbol or design for both of you.


Summing up


Whether you are shopping for a new college student or want to show appreciation for an old friend or family member who is going to college, there are many gift ideas to choose from. It is essential to find ways to support your friends and loved ones as they navigate their new chapter in life and explore their passions and interests.


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