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On Top Of The World: A grad’s guide to graduation gifts

Emily Tomlin | June 24, 2016

“I could have gave up then, but then again I couldn’t have ‘cause I’ve traveled all this way for something.” – Imagine Dragons, On Top Of The World

At this point in time, your high school graduation has either recently passed, or will be coming up in the next week or so, but either way, most high school graduations would not be complete without some sort of celebration.

I’m not talking about throwing major parties or doing some kind of crazy stunt with your graduation adrenaline, so don’t get any ideas. I’m simply talking about when friends and family constantly ask, “so what do you want for graduation?”

While college may not be at the forefront of your thoughts right now, why not respond with something practical that could help you later on down the road?

I had the honor of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance during my graduation ceremony.

I had the honor of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance during my graduation ceremony.

Money may seem like the most obvious and practical answer, but let’s be honest. We’re kids! Not all cash makes it to our bank accounts, even if we need it to. In lieu of money or a party, I have a few other ideas in mind that will surely be useful during your upcoming semesters.

First, a laptop – If you don’t have one already, this is an ideal graduation present. Even though colleges always have computer labs available for student use, you’ll want a laptop, trust me. All of my friends from school, including myself, would say this is an absolute necessity.

Bedding & dorm room accessories – This may sound like a lame gift, but seriously, would you want to shell out a few hundred dollars for sheets and stuff right at the end of the summer? I know I wouldn’t. Though you won’t use this stuff until you’re ready to move in, it would feel amazing to get it all out of the way now and avoid the chaos of last minute shopping.

A fan – Not a wimpy fan, but a nice, heavy-duty fan. It’s pretty common for freshman dorms to not have air-conditioning. While this item could probably be considered as a “dorm room accessory,” I believe it’s important enough to stand on its own. Between feeling the hot sun while walking around campus, to being cramped up with a roommate and all your stuff in a small room, chances are you’ll need a way to cool down and a fan of your own is a great way to go.

Luggage – If you don’t own any suitcases or bags for traveling, this may be a perfect thing to ask for. These items can get pretty expensive and even more so if you choose a set with a variety of sizes. I’d say they are most necessary for not only moving in and moving out, but even for weekend trips back home as well. My freshman year roommate did not have luggage and carried tons of clothes back and forth in small grocery bags. While those are not very expensive, they’re not very convenient either. One to three decent suitcases will make your life much easier and more organized.

Textbooks – I totally agree with the fact that textbooks seem like the most awful graduation present out there. But honestly speaking, textbooks can break your bank accounts quicker than it will take you to finish reading this post. Scary, huh? Even with coupon codes and catching sales, you can never really gauge how much your textbooks will cost. With eight or more semesters of new textbook buying coming your way, it may be nice to take advantage of your family’s generosity now while you can.

While there are many more practical graduation gifts, these were the ones I thought to be most useful. College will be here before you know it so getting ahead is never a bad idea. But until then, enjoy yourself in this moment, during the rest of your summer, and congratulations on reaching your latest milestone.

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Our official cap toss!