21 Back-To-School Gifts College Students Actually Want

21 Back-To-School Gifts College Students Actually Want

Even if they're not poor, they're kind of tight on cash.

As back-to-school season approaches, you may have shopping for a particular college student on your mind. In case you want to get them a parting gift, whether for their freshman or senior year, here are a few ideas every college student would love to receive.

1. Fast food gift cards

Chipotle, Wendy's, you know, the college kid's natural diet.

2. Pens

We always have them, but we're also always losing them.

3. Scratch Off Tickets

I could think of a million cheesy things to add in a post it note with these.

4. Texts

A simple “hope your semester is starting off well" text warms a student's heart.

5. A printer cartridge

Expensive, but a blessing they will appreciate for the whole first half of the semester.

6. Grocery store gift cards

Someone has to buy groceries sometime to feed the whole apartment.

7. Inspiration

A quick text or quote from some college educated successful person would help.

8. Extra cardboard boxes

Even though they just moved home a month ago, somehow all the boxes from that move have disappeared.

9. A clothing store gift card

No guilt buying a new outfit if the only place you can spend the twenty dollars is Forever 21.

10. Duct tape

Anything can be fixed by duct tape.

11. A good old fashioned card

Getting mail is a whole new level of exciting for college students.

12. Target gift card

Everyone loves Target, right?

13. School bookstore bucks

They can get that super expensive school sweater for half off and it seems reasonable.

14. Regular bookstore gift cards

After dropping 200+ dollars on school books our pockets are feeling turned out for buying the book we really want.

15. Printed photos

Even if it's just one picture from your trip to the fair with them, it'll probably go on the cork board.

16. Pocket money

Just thirty bucks and the stipulation that the money be used for something fun.

17. Sit down restaurant gift cards

Olive Garden financial aid, here we come.

18. Office supplies of any kind

They're needed and appreciated. Even just a package of sticky notes.

19. Prayers

Even though we love school, we're going to miss our families and we're going to hate our homework.

20. School supplies

That extra spiral notebook you have stuffed in the dusty junk drawer? Rip out the one page you wrote on and it's one less notebook they have to buy.

21. Love and good vibes

Just send it out there, through a text or tweet or Facebook comment or phone call. It's always appreciated.

Cover Image Credit: meiiii1114 / Instagram

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A Letter To Myself During First Semester

Allow yourself to experience college for what it is!

Dear First Semester Self,

You just hit the send button on an email that contains a message to your randomly selected roommate. As you wait for a response by the computer screen you begin to digest the reality of the situation; in a month, you will be a freshman at Syracuse University.

You begin to bite your nails, a habit that only shows its face when you're nervous, which results in you chipping away your freshly painted nail polish. You have been eager to attend college since the beginning of your freshmen year at high school and now that it is almost time go the eagerness is replaced with fear and unease.

You are worried about the places you will go and the people you will meet and the overwhelming life change that you are about to experience. The gravity of the situation at hand is large and engulfing, but it is simultaneously exhilarating and breathtaking.

You are worried that you will not make friends or connections with any of your peers as easily as you did in high school, you are concerned that the classes you are taking will be too advanced for you, and you are scared that you will become homesick.

These apprehensions are all normal for an incoming freshman to feel about college; after all, it is an experience that compares to no other. I am here to tell you that you will do just fine adjusting to college life.

Although it will make you anxious, attend the first-floor meeting with a smile; this will be the first interaction you will have with the people that you will see every day for the rest of the year. Although you hate icebreakers, participate and listen to what others around you have to say because you will find that you share common interests with the people surrounding you.

In classes and lectures, allow yourself to socialize with complete strangers, even if it means talking about the Gucci sneakers that somebody is wearing. Unlike high school, you are entering these classes blindly and not knowing anybody.

Because of this, it is up to you to introduce yourself and mingle with the people sitting around you.

This is terrifying, but it is the best thing you can do for meeting new friends and study partners. Through it all, just be yourself and be open to meeting different people.

The topics and workload that you will receive in college surpass that of high school. This should not come as a surprise, given the numerous tales of study sessions and all-nighters that your sister has told you about regarding her four years at college.

Although the classes are more advanced and demanding than you are used to, don’t worry about it too much. High school has prepared you for what college requires, and more. Despite the essays being longer and the homework being more than a simple worksheet, you are capable of completing the work and exceeding the average if you apply all the skills that you learned in high school.

You are well equipped to handle things such as time management and rhetorical thinking which in turn will help you succeed in your classes. You are able to take comprehensive and detailed notes during lectures and classes which will only serve to benefit you when studying for an exam or final. So yes, the classes are more advanced than high school, however, you are more than able to handle it.

When leaving for school, you will realize that you have never been away from home for such a long duration of time. The closest thing that you can relate going off to college with was my experience with summer camp when you were in the seventh grade.

You recall that you were not a fan of summer camp for after the third day of extensive activities in the blazing summer sun you began to feel homesick; I would dedicate an hour out of every day just to write my parents a letter.

My favorite part of summer camp was not swimming in the lake or making friendship bracelets, but rather retrieving the mail so I can have some degree of communication with my family. Because of this, leaving for college was something that filled my mind with anxiety.

You will initially feel homesick, but this is totally normal.

You will miss your family so much more than you thought you would, however, there are ways you will keep in contact which will help with that. You will find that phone calls and Facetime are the best way to connect with your family, regardless of however many miles away you are from them.

There is a silver lining to this too: there is no curfew in college! Despite your occasional homesickness, you will find the newfound independence of living on your own to be exciting and educational.

There is much more I wish I could tell you about your first semester of college, however, it is important that you learn them yourself as you go through the experience. Allow yourself experience new things, regardless of your anxieties.

You will hit a few rough patches along the way, but everybody does and this should not limit you in becoming the best student and friend you can be. There will be long study nights, an abnormal amount of coffee consumption, and exams that leave you scratching your head, but it is worth it in the end.

It is so rewarding to step out of your comfort zone and experience all of what college has to offer.

Sincerely,
Second Semester Nicole

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Teachers Are The Unsung Heroes In Our Lives

They do so much for so little in return

There are some professions out there that just don't get enough recognition, and teaching is one of those professions. Teachers are so much more than people who stand in front of you and talk for a few hours. Not only do teachers have to be incredibly smart, they have to be able to understand people, and have a passion for what they do. There is no job quite like being an educator; it is stressful and hard, but the reward is one of the best in the business.

"Teacher" is really just a word that encompasses all the different things they are every single day. They have to be an educator, good enough to teach and explain a subject that their pupils don't know anything about yet. They have to be counselors whenever a student comes to them with a problem, able to help that student move on with their day.

Teachers have to be like a parent to all their students, and teach them right from wrong, and what is and isn't acceptable not only in the classroom, but in life as well. Sometimes, teachers even have to be like social workers, and advocate for students in need, whether the student knows they need the help or not. Every day they problem solve, and work their way through seemingly impossible situations because teachers are superheroes, and only they can change and inspire future generations.

If a teacher is someone who goes above and beyond, then I can almost guarantee you that somewhere along the way, they changed a student's life, and sent them down a path they never thought was possible. Teachers are role models, who set off that spark inside of students and teach them that learning can be amazing and that it can take you places you never thought you could go.

I know I have had several teachers who, because of their ability to teach and have passion for their subject, have inspired me to write, and to believe in myself; they have taught me that with a little hard work, anything is possible. When teachers connect with a student, and find something that they're good at, you can see it in both the teacher and the student, because they have this renewed sense of self, and a determination to keep moving forward.

Not only are teachers all these things, but they are humble as well. They work long hours, often taking their work home with them, and don't get paid very much for all the work that they do. It is only because they love what they do, and the students that they teach, that they will keep doing what they are doing, despite the daily ups and downs and long, stressful days.

Teachers don't give themselves enough recognition, and they don't get enough of it from current and past students. It has almost become an expectation for teachers to just teach, and then be forgotten, and for that I am sorry. These people are the superheroes no one talks about. They challenge the minds of hundreds of kids every day, and receive little in return. So, from all those students out there, thank you teachers, for being the unsung heroes in our lives. Thank you for teaching us that doing what you love is one of the most important things in the world. Without teachers, no one in the world would be where they are today.

Cover Image Credit: Element5 Digital

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