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Grad Gift Guide: What Do Students Really Want for Graduation?


Congrats, class of 2017! Cue Pomp, circumstance and a whole lot of stress. Besides the frenzy surrounding “the first day of the rest of your life,” finding a job and preparing for the “real world” (whatever that means), finding and getting the perfect grad gift can be an added stressor. News flash: We don’t want a stuffed version of Sparky donning a cap and gown or an “ASU alum” license plate frame for our ’06 Civic. While those types of gifts are sweet and sentimental, they’re not something we particularly want or need. If you’re a friend or family member of a grad, stop scouring Amazon and the ASU bookstore. If you’re a future grad yourself, you might think about dropping some not-so-subtle hints. Here are nine things we actually want for graduation.

Getting a gift card as a graduation present is a simple solution to the questions that frequently beset gift givers: “Is it personal enough?” and “Will they actually use it?” Personalize your present by getting a gift card to our favorite restaurant or to a one-stop discount store like Target or Walmart where we can redeem the card for everything from groceries to new shoes. Of course, you can never go wrong with a card for the things that fuel us: food, gas and coffee. Gift cards for grocery stores, gas stations or Starbucks are a surefire way to get on a graduate’s good side.

While sentimental stuff such as jewelry and stuffed animals are thoughtful, we really have no use for them. Let’s be real here: What we really want is cold, hard cash so we can buy the crap we really care about, like Chipotle and PBR. Also, while those weird money leis people use to bedeck their necks at graduation ceremonies look cool, the last thing we want is $12 tied together. We’d prefer a crisp (and easily accessible) Benjamin concealed by a cheesy Hallmark card.

If there’s two things we care about more than beer and food, it’s music and movies. So give us the gift of unlimited streaming. For as little as $7.99 a month, you can support our habits of binge-watching the same two shows and listening to the same four songs over and over. Basic Netflix and Hulu subscriptions are $7.99 a month, while an Amazon Prime membership has a monthly fee of $10.99. Spotify allows users to listen to any song in its database for just $9.99 per month.

Once we say goodbye to the college days, we also say goodbye to carefully curated college care packages. Soften the blow by buying Propecia online us a monthly subscription box service. On average, subscription boxes range from $10 to $50 per month and themes vary from food to beauty to health and fitness. Consider Ipsy, Birchbox or Boxycharm for the beauty-lover or Manpacks for the masculine grad. Loot Crate provides goods for geeks and gamers and Graze and Blue Apron are perfect for foodies. Subscription boxes truly are the gift that keeps on giving, and you can cancel at any time.

We’re no longer in college, so I guess that means it’s no longer acceptable to drink two-buck chuck out of a coffee mug. Pretty soon we’ll be having “dinner parties” and “get-togethers,” which will no longer mean smuggling a 30-pack of Bud Light into the dorms or slurping a Cup O’ Noodles over a study sesh. To further push us to the brink of adulthood, a nice set of wine glasses or beer steins might help point us in the right direction. You can lead a college grad to craft beer but you can’t make us drink it!  

Have you ever thought about how ironic it is to pay money for somewhere to put your money? College students have, and we’re notorious for cutting costs anywhere we can, even if that means walking around with $20 worth of loose change in our backpacks. Long story short, a wallet isn’t something a starving student (or broke alum) would buy for themselves, so it makes for the perfect gift.  

According to a recent study conducted by Pew Research, more Millennials are living with their parents than ever before. That doesn’t mean we want to. Establishing financial independence is at the top of our wish list, but that doesn’t bode well for the broke and jobless (read: recent college grad). That being said, the deposit for our first apartment and/or a shopping spree at Ikea would make the perfect post-grad present, so we can start the rest of our lives with stability and style.

“Hey, I just graduated — hire me!!!!” Wouldn’t it be great if that’s all we had to write on our cover letter to procure our dream job? Unfortunately it takes a lot more to snag the career we want and worked so hard for in school. The promise of the perfect job would make graduation a lot less stressful, but that can’t be wrapped and tied neatly with a bow. Instead, we’ll settle for a subscription to a resume service or a new wardrobe so we can dress for the job we want — which is pretty much any job at this point.

Since most grads don’t walk right off the stage, ditch their cap and gown and trade them for a suit and briefcase, it would be nice if we were given some time to take a deep breath and decide what we want to do next. The post-grad job search is daunting enough without everyone breathing down our necks about it. It’ll all work out eventually; it just doesn’t have to be right after we turn the tassel.


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