My little sister is graduating from the University of Oregon on June 13th. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! OMG the pride you guys!
Because of this amazing occasion many members of my family are flying in from all corners of the world (no joke, one is coming from the island of Santorini!) to celebrate. As is customary most of us are picking out special outfits and thinking of the perfect graduation gift.
Both items have given me pause. What to wear to two outdoor ceremonies and one fancy dinner? And more importantly, what to get the grad?
In my quest to get the perfect “YEAH you graduated college and never found yourself locked up for public intoxication!” gift I have searched online in many of places, and shamefully actually found myself reading those, “What to get grads” articles written by people who obviously have never graduated from college themselves.
After reading one too many gift guides it dawned on me. I know what grads really want but are ashamed to ask for. So here we go.
Things College Grads *Actually* Want As Graduation Gifts
- MONEY. Don’t beat around the bush, this is what they all want. They are poor, most likely in school loan dept and probably personal credit card debt and have held down 1-12 part time jobs while also going to school. They’re fucking poor. Give them cash. Or gift cards. No gift cards aren’t tacky, money towards gas is always appreciated. Especially when gas is $17 a gallon.
- RENT. Bypass them depositing it into their accounts and spending it backpacking through Europe, contact their landlord directly and offer to pay their rent. One month, two months, a year, whatever you got they’ll take.
- A NEW CAR. Odds are they are still driving the car they were given or purchased themselves in High School. It is most likely broken down and pathetic. I’m not saying get them a $30,000 car, but even a used car that’s in good condition is going to feel like an upgrade of epic proportions from what they’re probably driving. Instead of 12 small gifts, why don’t you get your whole family together to pool resources? One awesome sauce gift is going to feel much more amazing than 12 new things for their apartment.
- A JOB. Preferably making a decent salary so that for the first time in their adult lives they can breathe. It doesn’t even have to be in the field they studied in! If you know someone, who knows someone, who can get them a job with BENEFITS, and an actual SALARY they’re going to want it. Especially in this economy. Ok, if you can’t GIVE them a job, at least help them get an interview. Who you know is a big deal, and if you know someone, help a sister out!
- A TRIP SOMEWHERE TO RELIEVE A LITTLE STRESS BEFORE STARTING THE HELL THAT IS LOOKING FOR A JOB. Do you live somewhere amazing? Invite the grad to come hang out. Because they need a break from you know, spending the last few decades in school. Plus, they know they have job hunting to look forward to, and I’m sure your pool house is looking like a great place to forget about the future for a week or two.
I won’t even continue. This is all they want.
They do not want your special thoughtful gifts.
Ok, I mean I’m sure they like them when they open them, but it wasn’t what they were hoping for. Right now in this economy, if you’re graduating from college you’re TERRIFIED. The future is a bleak bleak place and you most likely struggled to find even part time work while you were going to school.
So give a grad a break. You don’t have to be a baller, but if you can alleviate some of their stress, they’re going to thank you.
So go forth and enrich the lives of a terrified college graduate.
And if you MUST give them something thoughtful, a set of steak knives, a bracelet with their name engraved in it, AT LEAST also throw in a gift card for groceries or gas. Or pay their electric bill. Or throw in the business card of your friend at such and such company who you already forwarded their resume to. That bracelet is going to feel a lot more special next to that potential interview.
Don’t look at me like that, the truth hurts.