Gifts for Graduates


As my previous post mentioned, it is graduation season.  Chances are you’ve already attended a graduation ceremony and party or two, but if you’re anything like me, you have a few gifts yet to give.  I decided to put together this post as an answer to the question:  what I do I get ______?

My cousin Maddie just graduated and is going into my program – Creative Writing – that I just graduated from last year.  It’s a bit emotional and strange for me to consider.  When I graduated college last May, everyone asked me if I was relieved, expecting to hear a resounding YES.  However, graduating was a bit shocking.  I poured my heart and soul into that degree, y’all.

Although my “college experience” was a bit atypical (I got married the summer after junior year) it was formative and wonderful and painful and I found myself among a community of writers that I never wanted to leave.  My program was where I discovered that 1). there were other (creative) people like me; & 2). I had a ton of work to do before my work could be considered good (read: my inborn talent would only carry me so far).

The thing about graduating is that you work so hard and are so immersed in a world that is suddenly GONE.  Maybe it’s just my personality type, but I personally experienced this feeling following both my high school and my college graduation.  There’s a certain safety net surrounding school.  You’re free to philosophize about yourself and the world around you all day if you want, but when you graduate you have to actually face the aforementioned realities.

Acknowledge this change with your graduate, but reassure them that there is SO MUCH joy ahead nevertheless.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

anywayyyyyyyys. moving right along. [I apologize for that display of pessimism.]

First of all, cash never fails.  Cash over gift cards, too.  You may think a gift card is a smidge more personal, but trust me when I say that the graduate is in desperate need of cash to apply towards a car, laptop, textbooks, fill in the blank – or even that sky high tuition.  Don’t feel bad about giving cash.

but if you do want to give a physical gift….

Think office supplies (if they are going to college or any desk type job).



Moleskine pocket notebooks. the so not cheap but 100% worth it notebook.  I can’t even explain the magic of this brand if you’ve never tried it.  these are perfect for any creative type, serious type, you-name-it type.  I’m not kidding.  Get over the sticker shock and pick up a set of three for $9.50 from Target.

A pretty, gold striped notebook. Useful for actually taking notes or for distractedly writing bad poetry or to-do lists while the professor is lecturing. The one pictured at the top of this post was $5.99 from Target.

Good pens. I grabbed 2 felt-tipped pens for $2.29 from Target. It doesn’t take long before you realize that the stick, ball-point pens are not gonna cut it because your hand is cramping like mad from your overly-ambitious prof’s power points on feminism.

Tube of lipstick. I grabbed the Wet & Wild brand for $1.97 to remind my graduate that she can be anyone she wants to be  so long as she is true to herself.

IMG_2608For a more serious type (or male):

this “decomposition” notebook that is made of 100% recycled pages, a moleskine notebook or three, & pen or $5 Starbucks gift card (trust me, all the serious types study there with their oversized glasses and macbooks. I may or may not have been one of them).


Also pictured:

Gold washi tape from the $1 bin at Target. Perfect for hanging up posters they will later regret & decorating their planner.

“Notes” pad from the $1 bin at Target. I use these things nonstop for to-do lists.  Most are magnetized and can be stuck on their mini-fridge to warn their roommate not to steal their food or else.

Floral (small) notebook from Target for $1.99. For to-do lists alternatively or those misfortunate days when the academic planner cannot be found because its under a pile of laundry.

And remember.  If all else fails, CASH. Happy Graduation season, and don’t forget to read Conan O’Brien’s Commencement Speech.

[psst. I received no compensation for this post. this blog is not for profit. I just love Target that much & hoped that by detailing the products + prices it might make your gift giving a bit easier.]

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