The best graduation gifts: useful gifts for life after college
College graduations, we all know what they look like: hats thrown in the air, beautiful speeches, families reunited and lots of crying. But after a special day of celebrating your much-achieved diploma, many questions start popping through your mind as you try to get rid of your hangover.
“What’s the next step?”, “Where do I even begin?” “Will that company call me back?” And whether you’re a family member, a friend or their sweet half, your job is to give your newly college grad the perfect college graduation gift. But let’s make that gift a useful one too, am I right? Something they actually want, but something that’s going to help them in the real world – a.k.a. adulthood (apparently a secret trust fund you had no idea you had is a great one)! So buckle up, here are some useful – but perfect – college graduation gift ideas college grads are actually going to be excited about!
1. A new laptop
I know, I know, this is an obvious one. But stating the obvious is not so obvious sometimes. If your college grad already has an amazing laptop maybe this one’s not particularly for you. However, if they have a crappy laptop… one that lags, has no memory and overheats in seconds, this is a great and useful graduation gift (a group gift perhaps). I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but remote jobs are seriously a thing now. Forget your office computer, your newly college grad might even work remotely from home, and having a good computer is part of the hiring process. There’s no need to spend thousands of euros on this either, there are plenty of amazing computers that come at a bargain! You’re welcome.
2. Stylish work bags
When I was saying that you need to get something that is both useful and cool, this is what I was talking about. Whoever said cool work bags are just for girls has never been in a stylish work environment. Do you really want your first day at work to be with an old Jansport bag? Didn’t think so, Carl. The bag that you carry to your first job is really important (and exciting)! And the best part is that there are so many different styles at so many different prices. Just a tip though, try to keep in mind the kind of job your college grad is going to go for: a creative work bag for a graphic designer would look completely inappropriate on a lawyer. Also, if backpacks are a thing, there are plenty of cool compact backpacks for work – some are even anti-theft (you never know how much they’ll need to commute, better safe than sorry).
3. Speakers or stereos
Just because college is over doesn’t mean the party is over, too. It’s time to rent a house, start paying the bills and maybe get a flat mate. But it’s also time to do whatever you want (as long as you don’t disturb the neighbours) and that means house parties as well! Whether it’s a dinner with your best beds, a small get together with your college friends or a romantic dinner with your love bird, music is always of first importance. So put those stereos on your list, they’re a great gift for recently graduated college students!
4. A savvy carry-on suitcase (low-cost friendly please)
I have never first handedly bought a suitcase for myself. Why should I do that when my parents are full of them? Thing is, you’re definitely going to need one. But then again, who would buy a suitcase on their own when calling up a friend or family member and using theirs is just so much better? When you’re going to have to constantly travel for work (and for leisure too hopefully), you’re going to be thankful that long lost family member gave you that savvy carry-on suitcase that all low-cost airline companies (including RyanAir) allow you to board with. And what if I told you you could also get one that has a built-in battery pack?
5. Professional clothing: blazers and suits
Not everyone is packed with professional clothing. And one of the worst nightmares of newly hired employees is the “company dress code”. Jeans, no jeans, blazers, dark colors, no sandals… the list goes on. But there’s one classic that never gets old: a professionally looking blazer or suit. Help them make a good impression, please?
6. A nice gym bag that won’t look inappropriate in the workplace
There are so many people that work out in the morning or right after work (clearly I’m not one of them). But bringing a nylon-colored gym bag to work is NOT a good idea. Especially if you’re the youngest one there. And unless you drive to work, you won’t have anywhere to hide your ugly looking bag. That’s where you come in and help your fellow newly graduated student. Get him/her a nice gym bag that won’t get them noticed in the wrong way at work!
7. Jewellery and watches
Alright, maybe they’re not extremely useful, but who doesn’t want a pair of nice earrings or a new watch as a graduation gift? Exactly. And the best part? With the myriad of jewellers and watch-makers out there, you can seriously find amazing jewellery and watches at any price. For girls, a necklace, some beautiful earrings (or simple ones to wear to work) or a ring to remind them of their graduation is a special gift. For guys, watches are it. Whether you want to get a vintage watch or a smartwatch, there are plenty of options out there.
8. A trip or a weekend getaway
Everyone loves to travel. Whether it’s in their own country or to the other side of the world, exploring, relaxing and just enjoying is one of the most wonderful things life has to offer. Maybe a sibling trip, a romantic trip or a trip with your college friends, whoever it is you’re going with, it’s going to be a blast. And it’ll surely be one of the best graduation gifts (not to mention a memorable one)!
Which new college graduate isn’t into headphones? Whether it’s for listening to music, podcasts or whatever they’re into, headphones are a great product to give for a college graduation. Plus, they’re quite expensive so unless they already have some cool ones, this will be one of those gifts they’ll use all the time. Imagine if long commuting is part of the job description. Headphones will be life savers!
10. A nice wallet or business card holder
I’ve seen people put their money and cards in all kinds of places: inside their ID card plastic holders or even thrown into their purses. That’s not the way to go in adulthood, people. It’s time to wake up and live in the real world. From credit cards to cash, a nice looking wallet that will last through the ages is an amazing college graduation present. My parents gave me a beautiful blue leather wallet and I still use it today. Depending on the wallet size, it’s also easy to put in those business cards. If the wallet is too small for business cards, you can always go with a nice business card holder. Because let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than receiving an aged and dirty business car.