I’ve been giving some thought to gifts for college students back in the day.  By “back in the day” I mean decades ago when I was in college and begging for some college swag from my parents, or grandparents, or pretty much anyone who would spring for some item without which I was sure college would never been the same.  I asked for these things as Christmas gifts, going back to school gifts, school is out for the summer gifts, I passed all my classes gifts, and of course I finally graduated gifts.

And funnily, my list is not so far off than that of the lists of today.  The methods of asking may have changed; an actual handwritten letter home, or one typed on an actual typewriter in the college library, complete with whiteout where all the requests were spelled wrong, severely diminishing my chances of getting anything from my parents other than a request to concentrate on my studies, in particular learning how to spell.  Or maybe an actual phone call made after collecting dimes and waiting my turn at the one pay phone in the college dorm lobby to call home, or if lucky enough to have that one rotary phone in your college dorm room, waiting until 7:00pm every Sunday for the weekly call home because long distance rates were less after 7pm to make my plea.  Those were the opportunities to state my case as to why my request for said “college-logoed” gift was so reasonable an ask. No emails, texts, cellphones at my finger tips.

My list was full of things that screamed college.  I loved my school and I wanted everyone to know it.  I went to college very far from home, and I was proud of the fact that I had the courage to do so and that my college choice had turned out to be the best one of my life!  How could I not want everyone to know about my college, my college pride, and want to buy everything associated with my beloved school.

So, my 5 gift ideas for college students then and now are:

  1. College sweatshirt (a given for any college student or graduate wardrobe)
  2. Cool tapestry to hang on the wall, or across the ceiling covering the light to give your whole dorm room that funky, “I am a college student” vibe.
  3. A bike, and by bike, I mean bicycle! You can buy your college student the nicest car money can buy, but they will miss every college class while they drive around trying to figure out where to park the thing.  The bike is the way to go.  It is amazing how beneficial learning just how many things you can actually transport on a bicycle is to the future of college graduates.  Honestly, it would be a great engineering class!
  4. School logo boxer shorts. Go ahead and roll your eyes, but you know I am right.  This gift idea spans generations.  I’m telling you.  Both of my kids are either in or about to start college and I was one of you college kids once upon a time, and I LIVED in my CU Buffs boxers.  My daughter is often found lounging in hers.  AND, no lie, I still have mine! (Did I mention I have kids in college now?!  Just to give you an idea of how old mine are!)).  I’m telling you, college themed boxer shorts, you can’t go wrong!!!  And, for those who doubt the existence of my 30 year old boxers, note the picture above!
  5. Finally, of course, jewelry! A much more subtle way of expressing the love you have for your school for years to come.  Something that means a lot to you but can be worn much more often than boxers for sure; to work, to casual or dressy events, to games, to the grocery store.  You name the occasion and jewelry can be worn and be that reminder of what were maybe the best years of your life as well.