College years are full of the most defining moments of life, both academically and socially. For most people, this is the first time they move away from home for an extended period, and it’s often the first time they’ve ever really had to “fend for themselves.” At the same time, college can often feel overwhelming and scary. It takes some time to work out that it’s ok not to know your major and the end of high school romances aren’t the end of the world. In reality, there’s nothing that can prepare you 100% for what’s to come.
The same thing can be said for parents of kids heading off for their first college years. While the kids-turned-adults are facing plenty of obstacles, parents across the country are facing several home truths of their own, including that feeling of being both happy and sad at the same time, getting used to one less person around the house and a number of other dropping-your-kid-off-at-college related discoveries.
Whether you’re just about to take on your first chick fledging the nest, you’re a seasoned pro, or even just a teacher or well wisher, getting the right gift for a college kid can be a tough task. That’s why we’ve put together 10 great ideas to make the process a lot easier, from sentimental ideas for that apprehensive first day, to pizza cooking devices that add a little variety to the college diet (sarcasm).
1. “The Alchemist” by Paul Coelho
BEST ADVICE BOOK
A modern-day classic, The Alchemist by Paul Coelho offers advice to kids and adults alike. The life-changing tale urges readers to follow their dreams to a world of self-discovery. It also offers an important reminder to listen to our hearts and recognize the opportunities that cross one’s path. All-in-all, this book should be required reading for college kids, so buying a copy for your favorite student is a great idea.
2. “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss
If you really want to tug on those heartstrings, there’s no better way than with the childhood classic “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss. What once felt like a simple story, now becomes recognition of this important step in life. This book is a great gift to deliver a dose of sentimentality and also acts as a link to home that homesickness-prone students can read at any time.
3. INIU Portable Charger
BEST UNDER $20
There’s no one who doesn’t find a portable charger useful. In those moments when you forgot to charge your smartphone or you’ve been kept away from home longer than usual, a portable charger, like this INIU Portable Charger, is a godsend. This is especially true for students in order to ensure they’re on top of their work schedules, up to date with social affairs and definitely not missing out on any spontaneous gatherings with friends because of a dead battery. This high-quality device lets you charge four times faster than a standard charger and can charge most phones up to three times before needing to be recharged itself.
4. Cards Against Humanity
If you don’t know about Cards Against Humanity, there is probably a good reason for that. Suffice to say, this somewhat controversial party game is extremely popular among college students and even brands itself as, “A party game for horrible people.” The premise of the game is very simple. One person asks one question, then everyone chooses their response from the cards in hand. Good (and possibly despicable and awkward) times are had by all.
5. Homesick Scented Candle
BEST FOR STUDENTS FAR FROM HOME
For many students, going to college is the first time they’ll spend an extended period away from their childhood home. It is unsurprising that lots of students experience bouts of homesickness during their time away. And while a phone call home every now and again can certainly do a lot of good, why not also try one of these Homesick Scented Candles? There’s a candle available for every US state. Each comes with its very own scent to help anyone missing the smell of home deal with their worries. They’re made from natural soy wax and have an impressive burn time of up to 80 hours.
6. BestSelfCo. The SELF Journal
BEST FOR MOTIVATION
Maintaining motivation throughout the school year can be a difficult task. That’s why the BestSelfCo. The SELF Journal is a great gift idea for any student. Used by entrepreneurs, goal-smashers and managers alike, this comprehensive journal guides you into optimizing your performance by aligning your day-to-day life with the major goals you want to achieve throughout the year. It has space for recording small, daily goals along with areas for jotting down personal reflections. If it seems familiar, it’s the very same journal used by Daymond John from the hit TV show Shark Tank and has also been featured in The New York Times and The Huffington Post.
7. Courant Pizza Maker
BEST FOR THE PIZZA LOVER
One of the biggest worries when a child heads off to college is that they are eating well. A simple way to ensure they are definitely eating (“well” remains up for debate) is to send them with the Courant Pizza Maker. Not only will this handy device deliver a 12-inch pizza in a matter of minutes, it’s sure to earn you plenty of friends in the process, too. It comes in red and black options and sports a non-stick coating, which means cleaning up post-pizza is minimal.
8. FUGU Bean Bag Chair for Adults
BEST DORM ROOM ACCESSORY
Is a dorm room even really a dorm room if it doesn’t have a quintessential bean bag chair? We think not. That is exactly why this FUGU Bean Bag Chair for Adults is an essential piece of furniture for any college student. This sturdy bean bag comes in a range of colors and a range of sizes, meaning there’s an option for every dorm room no matter how big or small it may be. It’s also stuffed full of ultra-soft, pillow grade foam, providing the perfect relaxing space for when your student isn’t hard at work studying.
9. Fitbit Charge 2
BEST FOR PREVENTING THE FRESHMAN 15
For many people, the “Freshman 15” may be a rite of passage, but it’s actually something a lot of first-year students would rather avoid. By arming new students with a Fitbit Charge 2, staying on top of daily exercise becomes a lot easier. In addition to monitoring heart rate and steps over the course of the day, the device can also be linked to your phone for incoming message alerts and other handy info.
10. Beats Studio3 Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Everyone knows there’s going to be plenty of distractions at college. Whether it comes in the form of a spontaneous house party, that cute girl or guy from class or the big game in the sporting calendar, it’s pointless to pretend it can be ignored. What you can do, however, is make sure that anytime actually studying is interruption free with these Beats Studio3 Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones. They come in a range of colors, feature Bluetooth connectivity and provide up to 22 hours of playback from a single charge.