Neighborhoods are decorated in high school graduation signs, your street is impossible to drive down with high school drivers parked down the curb for their friends' graduation parties. Caterers are busy, cards start selling out, and everything has a graduation cap on it. I remember it well- it was a time of relief- to be finished with high school and begin this next chapter of my life. I decorated the clubhouse with pictures of myself and UGA colors next to high school awards. I explained my intended major 387 times an hour. I probably spent too much time looking at dorm decor on Pinterest.
This is the season of never having to pay for food. Grad party season means getting Moes at 1:00 p.m., ice cream sundaes at 2:00 p.m., build your own burger bar at 3:00 p.m., popcorn station at 4:00 p.m. and pizza at 5:00 p.m. Though I considered myself pretty far removed from Etowah and much of my graduating class from dual enrolling full time for a year, I received about 30 graduation party invitations, and unfortunately for me, gift giving is my love language. I'm writing this- a year removed from high school grad- to give advice on what I received/ wish I received at graduation from my friends and family.
Even if it's a key chain with their college or a pack of k-cups- at least make an effort. I really appreciated my friends who managed a few dollars on a gift for me to take something to college. A little really does go a long way and shows that you made an effort and aren't just there for the free food.
Small and inexpensive is underrated.
Most people bring Keruigs to college. Gifting a small pack of K cups is so thoughtful because these can add up when you're grocery shopping with 10,000 other people at Target on move-in day. The same goes for disposable cups because doing dishes in a community bathroom is not the best and being able to take a coffee to class without worrying about a dish to wash later is a wonderful thing.
A shower caddy. All college freshmen will most likely be sharing a bathroom with others. Having a basic shower caddy to carry to and from is such a necessity. Filling it with shampoo and shower essentials is an easy way to be thoughtful on a budget. Even tying a dollar store loofa onto a shower caddy makes for a great gift. When you're poor in college you would rather spend 410 on a meal with your friends instead of having to make a 30 minute trip to Walmart for shampoo and conditioner.
On the same note, towels and a towel wrap are a great gift. Everyone is going to need them, and already having a velcro towel to wrap around you while you wrap one around your hair to go down the hall is such a convenience and saves everyone the awkward first week of trying to keep up a regular towel or having to wear your clothes to the bathroom and carry a stack back. Shower shoes are also a must. Old Navy flip flops tied to a towel or shower gel is such a great gift.
A hanging jewelry organizer or anything that helps to minimize space in a dorm room the size of a coat closet is amazing.
When your bed is lofted, phone chargers are a pain. Gifting the longest charger you can find makes you a hero. I got a 10-foot charging cable to go with a 6-foot outlet plugin. No matter where I am in my room, my phone can charge and it's an amazing luxury.
I got a bunk buddy to have a small shelf connect to my lofted bed and its incredible. I can do work or watch a movie in bed and have a safe place to put my laptop. I have a place to put my phone at night so I can use it for an alarm in the morning. I have a place to put my retainer where I won't forget to put it in at night. I can put a tissue box here when I'm sick or have the book I need to read sit on it.
Gift Cards. THE CHICKFILA ON CAMPUS WON'T ACCEPT THEM. Think about small places related to the college that will accept gift cards. At UGA, Raising Canes may or may not become my new address and you can gift their gift cards online. At Kennesaw, Tropical Smoothie Cafe is incredible and Tin Lizzies is a nice place to get away from the dining hall. Places close to campus are wonderful, unlike the on-campus restaurants and coffee shops.
Though few people actually work on homework at their desk, school supplies are the best gift. Having a nice pack of pens, highlighters, stick notes, laptop sleeve, etc is so important and makes shopping so much easier because the little things are already taken care of.
For kids going out, walking to class, driving around, etc, keeping up with a purse or wallet is an absolute pain. Within the first week of school, everyone I know got phone wallets to attach to their case to hold their student Id, regular id, AAA card, and whatever else. Not having to dig through a backpack for your school id to get into your dorm or being able to easily buy a coffee on the way to class or having a AAA card on you when you're on the side of the road with a flat tire in someone else's car is life changing.
I didn't realize how expense laundry was until college. For Christmas this year, I asked for dryer sheets and detergent. Not having to spend $10-$15 to wash your clothes is wonderful. I barely have time to be on laundry-house arrest as is to make sure no one steals my stuff much less drive to Kroger to get detergent when I've already gone too long with barely any close in my closet.
No one dresses up in college for class. Having a nice, comfortable sweatshirt or another few pairs of running shorts or a nice water bottle is nice to have. JCG in Athens has cute trendy spirit wear for cheap. Most schools will have some sort of cozy shirts or crew neck available that will be heavily worn.
A sentimental piece of jewelry to wear around campus or during recruitment helps keep home close.
Most stadiums have a clear bag policy nowadays. Even though I rarely brought things into the stadium, a nice clear bag or backpack is such an essential to carry an extra jacket during November games or deodorant and a hairbrush during August opening games.
This is such a special time for seniors and their families, and this summer is tough. Parents have to learn how to let go and students have to figure out how to live on their own- how to do laundry before you're out of clothes, how to budget money, how to make your own schedule, how to cook basic food, how to balance creamer and coffee without the help of a barista. This time is tough and every little bit helps. Hug a senior. Buy the college freshman Starbucks they can't afford. Help them put the little touches on their life next year. They'll be thankful for their clear bag on game day or k cup for their 8 a.m. or nice smelling shampoo for their first date, their pack of high lighters on exam day, their shower shoes when they get stuck in Creswell, their lucky bracelet on bid day. I never knew I would take not having to drive or pay to get toothpaste for granted until I did.