Graduating from college is a huge milestone — it's time to hang up the Greek letters (or philosophy books), and figure out how to live life as a real adult. College kids thought they were an adult when they went to college, but boy, was that only the beginning. Your college graduate may need a little help getting his or her feet wet as they embark the scary world of adulting, and these college graduation gifts from parents will help prepare the recent graduate for success — no matter where their passions lie or what career path they choose.
This list has everything from books to help the new graduate navigate new territory, professional clothing subscriptions, grown up wallets, jewelry and other accessories, to fancy pens and business card holders (you know, for when they finally get that first job). Parents, show the new graduate you're proud of them and willing to support them in their journey to successfully using that degree they earned. And if you yourself are a recent graduate, make sure to send this list to your parents for a little guidance in the right direction. Congratulations to the graduating class of 2018. You did it! Now let the real fun begin.
1. Subscription To A Professional Wardrobe
When I graduated from college and started going to recruiters and having interviews at places, I became painfully aware of just how little I had when it came to professional clothing, especially clothing that still fit. I had my interview outfit I used for interviewing to get into college, but let's be real, that was a lot of beer ago. And once you do get your first job out of college, it's really difficult to create a professional wardrobe from scratch when you have no money. A subscription service for professional clothes could give your graduate at least a little bit of a head start. Gift cards to Banana Republic, Loft, Guess, Express, and H&M would work, too.
2. 'Broke Millennial'
If the recent graduate isn't tired of reading for class, this book serves as a guide to help your graduate figure out how to take control of their finances, manage student loans, and go from broke to not so broke. It's written in a youthful, humorous way that won't make their eyes glaze over, which most people's eyes do when talking about budgeting and finances. For example, when asking how you treat your money, "Do you treat it like a Tinder date or marriage material?"
Let's face it, adulting is hard for everyone. We are all just doing our best and nobody knows what they're doing, right? This book says, "Just because you don't feel like an adult, doesn't mean you can't act like one." And in merely 535 steps, this book serves as a guide to adulting, whether it's what to check for when apartment hunting, avoiding office hookups, finding a reliable and trustworthy mechanic, or even how to fix your own toilet.
4. Amazon Gift Card
Everyone can use an Amazon gift card. Whether it's for the toilet paper they didn't realize wasn't available for free at their apartment like it was in the dorms, furniture for their new place, a new computer, or more fun items like DVDs and music, an Amazon gift card can definitely come in handy for the recent college graduate.
As far as furniture goes, by the way, when I was looking for a nursery glider for my registry on Amazon, I discovered Amazon Warehouse through a friend of mine. This may be old news to some, but just in case, I wanted to throw that out there. They have amazingly cheap deals on furniture and appliances if the recent grad has no furniture when they move out of the dorm. Which, let's face it, none of us did, right?
5. Personalized Wallet
Upon graduation, my then-boyfriend had a Nintendo controller wallet — a wallet that had a picture of a Nintendo controller on the front and it was made out of fabric. I'm sure that wouldn't have looked super professional when at job interviews or client lunch meetings when he pulled it out to pay for his tab. A grown-up wallet with a little sentimental value could be the perfect gift for your now grown up kid. (Or maybe their new boss loves Nintendo.) You can customize it with their name or initials in the front, have a personal message inscribed on the inside, or both.
6. Jewelry Or Cufflinks
When I got married, my gift to my husband on our wedding day was a set of cufflinks that were made out of a game-used baseball from a Colorado Rockies game. He wore them that day and he still wears them for very special occasions. For something a bit more professional, and if the graduate you know will be rocking suits in his new career, a sleek set of customized cufflinks may be the perfect gift.
For the lady college grad that doesn't wear cufflinks, you can try some jewelry so she will remember one of the happiest times of her life. The ring linked above doesn't have to have people's names; it could have a sweet message and maybe her graduation date.
7. Fancy Pens
This could just be because I graduated with an English degree and wanted to be a Writer with a capital "W," but I loved receiving fancy pens after graduating. It made me feel professional and like an adult. And I feel like that could work with other degrees and career paths, too.
8. 'You Majored in What? Designing Your Path from College to Career'
The ongoing joke for my fellow English majors and me was, "I hope you enjoy saying, 'Do you want fries with that,' with that degree." So rude and unnecessary. Plus, there's nothing wrong with working in fast food. But I digress. This book goes to show that "your major is just the starting point for designing a meaningful future," according to the description. You Majored in What? helps you figure out a career path based on your experiences and passions to help you figure out what you want to do and how to get there, no matter what you majored in.
9. Business Card Holder
10. The Beginnings Of A Savings Account
How awesome would it be for your grad to already have even just a tiny bit of savings, just waiting for them to start building on? They can start contributing to it right away, whether they have their first office job, or if they're working odd jobs until something pans out career-wise for them. It's always good to have a cushion to fall back on — especially if you just recently graduated.
11. 'How To Survive The Real World'
If only we all had this book after graduating college. (Or even if we all were just given a copy when we were old enough to read.) This book is for college graduates, by college graduates who have been there. Once you're out of the college bubble, you need to figure out how to live on your own and do things like renting an apartment, handling your finances, looking for and keeping love, how to be healthy, and even finding a job. This practical yet humorous book will help even the most anxious of new graduates feel somewhat prepared.
12. 'I Just Graduated...Now What?'
Like the book above, this one was also written by recent college graduates and answers the tough questions such as, "How do I decide between a career that pays well and something I'm passionate about? How do I find my first job in a tough economy," and what to do about your student loan debt. Very important questions all graduates struggle with and have to figure out.
Hopefully at least one of these gifts will help your graduate get on the path to success and happiness quickly.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.