Giving graduation gifts can be stressful. After all, no one wants to be the person who’s remembered for their lame gift. But the answer is a lot simpler and closer than you think. Consider taking a look around campus at some of the gifts Penn State classes gave to the university, and you’ll be instantly inspired.
Inspiration: HUB aquarium, Class of 1999
The HUB aquarium is part of a “living classroom” thought up by the Penn State Marine Science Society and is used to teach students about environmental science, biology and chemistry, according to the Penn State class gift website. Even though the graduate may not want to learn anything else for their major, they may be interested in something more fun. Scour the web for lessons such as flying and wine tasting. They may not remember that complicated chemistry equation but they’ll remember your awesome gift.
Inspiration: Library endowment, Class of 1932
For the book lover or future writer, consider putting a nameplate in their favorite book or that textbook that they had their nose planted in for four years. Yes, it may be a little nerdy, but it’s the next best thing until the graduate writes their own novel and tops the bestseller lists.
Inspiration: Peace Garden by the HUB, Class of 1997
Four years of late nights and endless essays have taken their toll. Be inspired by the Peace Garden and create a little oasis of serenity for your graduate. Take them on a spa day complete with a massage and facials. If you want to make it more personal, make your own spa kit and have a spa night complete with relaxing music and homemade face masks.
Inspiration: Old Main frescos, Class of 1946
Everyone has that one poster they absolutely love and want to keep forever. Why not take one of their favorite posters and get it framed or get a larger copy on a canvas? That way they can keep some of their college style even when they get out into the scary grown-up world. If they don’t have a favorite poster, you can make a shadow box from the mementos they’ve collected over the years. Or enlist the help of mutual friends to paint a unique work of art. It’s okay if you’re not Picasso; you can always say it’s modern art. Who knows? You might find that you’re actually good at art.
Graduation gifts can be practical, sentimental, lavish or cheap. What matters, though, is the thought that you put into the gift and letting your graduate know that you’re proud of them for making it four years without completely losing their mind.
Photo by Jessica Korch