For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Dec 17 2017
by Cassidy Jackson

15 Practical Gifts That Every College Student Needs

By Cassidy Jackson - Dec 17 2017

Trying to be practical this holiday season? I got you. Personally, I’m Christian, and so whenever Christmas season rolls around, my parents ask me the quintessential question “What do you want for Christmas?” As a kid, I always had it etched out. Now that I’m older and on a college student budget, all I want for Christmas is boring (but practical) things.

1. Weights & Yoga Mat

New year, new me. New me is trying to be a health goddess.

At Northwestern, I live exactly .2 miles away from the closest on-campus gym. It takes less than five minutes for me to walk from my dorm building to there. But those five minutes feel like a million in the dead of winter (I’m sure some of you can relate to this dilemma). So, to create my own gym and rid me of any possible excuses, this is a handy gift to ask for. I don’t know about you, but my arms have zero muscle, so five-pound weights would get the job done. I know. Tragic.

2. High-quality Running Shoes

I. Love. Running. So. Much. I love running so much that this past summer, I was training for a marathon but wound up getting a stress fracture in my right leg. About a week ago, I ran for the first time in four and a half months, and I felt like how I assume Farah, running champ, felt in the gif above. Running has so many benefits. Running is free mental therapy. Running is a full body exercise. Running is the poor person’s sport (aka perfect for college students). I feel like a sales rep for running right now. I’m done. You get me.

3. A Whole Foods Gift Card

As college students, we don't have a ton of money, so a Whole Foods gift card (or any grocery store gift card) will come in handy. I’m sure you can agree with me that dining hall food gets old real quick, and health isn’t a consistent theme on the menu. So, a gift card would come in handy. I chose Whole Foods not because I’m bougie, but because it’s the closest grocery store to Northwestern’s campus.

4. A Thrift Store Gift Card

As previously stated, us college students are on a budget. It’s not worth it to ask for a gift card to Free People or Gap, because even with a $50 gift card, what will that do for me at those pricey retailers? A $50 gift card to Goodwill or Savers will do much, much more. You could get three sweaters and a pair of jeans at the thrift store with that. Ask for a gift card to thrift, follow in Macklemore’s footsteps and pop those tags.

5. A Starbucks Gift Card

This one is for all the college Starbucks lovers (because I know there are a lot of you!). Is a grande cup of coffee a part of your daily routine? Are you one of the million college students who are addicted to coffee? Add this to your wishlist, then!

6. Money

I mean, must I explain this one?

7. A Movie Theater Gift Card or Movies

At certain points in college, the tears drastically outweigh the laughter (aka finals week), and the one thing we can all count on for happiness is movies. Whether it’s an idiotic comedy, a cheesy rom-com, a scary movie or pure action, movies really get us going. Since we’re in the midst of holiday season, whenever I’m in a bad mood, I go on Xfinity and turn on Four Christmases, the one with Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn. As soon as I watch it, my mood flips. What movie has that effect on you?

8. Pajamas

Do you remember as a kid, when getting a new pair of holiday-themed PJs was a holiday tradition? In my household, that was such a thing. I would get so excited to pick out my Christmas pajamas. How about we continue that theme? Honestly, looking in my pajama drawer, I have no matching sets EXCEPT the ones from Christmas. So, hook me up with some more!

9. Massage

In this past month, I’ve been so incredibly close to getting a free massage. So close, but so, so far. I’ve never had a proper massage in my life, but my assumption is it would be life-changing. I don’t know if this is just me, but school has made me tense all the time. My back is a board of stress. I’m simply tense. Are you tense? You might need a massage, my friend!

10. Pedicure & Manicure

My toenails still have remnants of nail polish from my high school prom. My prom happened over seven months ago, so that’s just disgusting. My nails haven’t been painted in I don’t even know how long. I think we can all agree that getting pedicures and manicures is so therapeutic. You sit back, watch some TV, indulge in some gossip magazines and leave feeling prettier and more put together than ever. 

11. A Bookstore Gift Card or Book

With the new year zooming towards me, one of my main goals is to improve my mental health, because that’s something I’ve neglected time and time again. With the hustle and bustle of college, mental health and physical health are both things that fall to the wayside. Reading and disconnecting from electronics is something that will aid in mental health. Currently, I’m reading this book titled Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. My friend passed it along to me, and I’m loving it. I haven’t read for my own amusement since freshman year of high school, which is just... terrible. When I look at my bookshelf, I feel extremely sad, because I haven’t added a book to that shelf in four years. So, to fund my rediscovered love for reading, I would love a Barnes and Noble gift card. I highly encourage all of you non-readers to discover a love for it. It will open your eyes to a whole new world.

12. Bike/Skateboard/Scooter

Honestly, Northwestern’s transit system scares me. It seems so simple – swipe your card, and get on the bus. In my head though, it seems so terrifying. further postpone me conquering my fears, I want a skateboard. For some reason, since getting to Northwestern, I see only guys riding skateboards. I’ve dreamed of being the known skateboarding girl on campus. Why do I imagine that? I don’t know! Getting a skateboard or bike (or scooter if you want to be THAT person) could make my and presumably your life so much easier.

13. Fuzzy Socks

Winter’s coming. Coldness is coming. Shivering is coming. Numbness is coming. The way to combat all of the winter pain is fuzzy socks. Fuzzy socks are the answer, I promise.

14. Coloring Book/Painting Materials

The huge gift-giving trend last Christmas was adult coloring books. Is that still a thing? I don’t know, but even it isn’t, you need it. I need it. During my finals week, there was a de-stress event in my dorm building, and there were coloring books and painting! I chose to paint, and it was seriously such a mental health jam. As soon as my paintbrush hit the canvas, I immediately felt calm and happy. I was in a trance.

15. Meme/Gifs Book

I’ll admit it. Memes are instrumental to my happiness. Can you relate? Yes? No? It’s weird memes that just give me a spike of happiness throughout my day. Whether it’s a meme I see pop on my Facebook feed from “Student Problems” or a meme posted by a classmate of mine on the Northwestern Memes Page, they just make me happy! They make me laugh! I find myself constantly texting them and showing them to my friends for confirmation that they’re hilarious. So, why not expand that happiness into book form. Maybe Richard Face’s “The Book of F*cking Hilarious Internet Memes”?  

Now when your parents ask "What do you want for the holidays?" give them a link to this article and walk away. Just walk away.  

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Cassidy Jackson - Northwestern University

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