I can remember how exciting it was to get a food care package in the mail when I was away at college. A care package meant that you might make new friends, because food is the connector of all first year college students. Home cooked food, especially anything baked, is a treasure. It’s funny, my mom knew more about me that I knew about myself at that time. A big box of chocolate chip cookies helped with stress, took the edge off meeting new people, and reminded me that people back home still cared about me. I was homesick at the beginning, as we all were, and it gave me just the little pick-me-up I needed.
So, what should a parent include in a college care package?
A Novel Graduation Gift – Dorm Deck by life Hack Decks™
The following care package items are old standbys, and they do the trick. A new product that has recently come onto the market is Dorm Deck by life Hack Decks™. Dorm Decks are a deck of 52 card prompts that help ease the transition from living at home to living independently in a dorm. The prompts help first year students get out ahead of the curve of college life by doing things such as setting up a calendar that makes remembering homework easier. Another hack is to put their schedule as their lock screen at the beginning of the semester. Or doing touristy things with a friend to help get to know their new city and someone better. The deck is full of unique and quality ideas that make the first year of college fun. This is one of the best high school grad gifts to give to a loved one going off to college for the first time. It is also a great item to tuck inside a care package. Give a gift that will help your college student succeed while making college life feel a little more personal. Little touches and hacks can make all the difference.
Now, let’s get on to care package items that have stood the test of time.
Here are a few ideas that can take the edge off your student’s transition into college dorm life:
Food – Always a Hit!
Favorite snacks, which should include delicious baked goods, even if they're store bought. Many students feel overwhelmed by the pressure of starting a new semester, or at midterms and finals. They appreciate something that helps them stay connected to the feeling of home while venturing out on their own. Food does the trick every time. A food care package filled with lots of different items that are easy to grab on the way to class, or a large quantity of a few items, are both good choices. Trust me, when you send a college student a food care package, it is a hit and never forgotten. Remember that some companies will send care packages for you, but nothing is as good as homemade. And do your best to ship and pack them so they reach your college student while they're still fresh.
These days, very few things are handwritten. Everything is either sent by text or email. A student may love a heartfelt note written in a parent’s handwriting. Again, it reminds them that you are thinking of them at home. The note doesn’t need to be long; it just has to be something they can feel. Words are important. Let them know you’re thinking of them, that you’re proud of the way they prepared for college, and that you’re behind them as they take on college life. They might even send you a handwritten note back. You never know!
Water Bottles – Make Them Reusable
Water bottle holders are a must to hold reusable bottles. When rushing from class to class or to the gym, off to see a friend or to a study group, a water bottle is always in tow. Hydration is very important in hot weather and to keep the brain moving. A reusable water bottle in a college care package keeps plastic water bottles out of the environment; a college gift idea like this will keep them thinking about you, too. They’ll appreciate the ability to refill it on the go, and it will never be relegated to a gift that never gets used.
What a great freshman life hack. It sounds like it would be intuitive, but after food, other things can help relieve a new college student’s stress level. Stress relievers come in lots of products, in various shapes and sizes, and range from putty to traditional stress balls. Even lotions help a student wind down after a stressful day. A calming or familiar smell or a stress reliever can take a little stress off a student for a short time during the day. Using something like lotion daily may become a healthful routine, especially in an area of the country that is dry.
Stress and lack of sleep are two of the most common problems faced by college students. Studies show that lack of sleep while at college can have implications on how much stress a student experiences. High quality skin care products can be very important to students who are on a tight budget. A skincare care package from home will really say, “I’m thinking of you.” It will also give students the much needed support they need so that they don’t have to focus on their skin if they’re experiencing breakouts. Instead, they’ll be able to take that brain space and focus on studying instead.
Things for Their Room
At graduation, students receive a lot of gifts. Parents who try to help them prepare for their freshman year run around purchasing items for school dorms. School dorm design and dorm room coordination are a real thing now. In my day, we didn’t bring much with us to school. Whatever fit in your car went with you, and nothing too much more. Now, outfitting a dorm room is a business and there is a lot that can make a student’s dorm room feel like home.
Once a student gets to school, though, there may be items that weren’t on a parent’s radar. Or a student’s for that matter. For this reason, it might be a good idea to include a few items your student may have forgotten. These can range from shower essentials to a dorm hack that they have seen someone else use. If it’s a dorm hack, chances are it will help them succeed their freshman year. Ask, before sending the care package, if they’ve seen anything that looks useful that they’ve forgotten to bring with them. Something simple may make a big difference in their day-to-day routine. Whatever the item, it’s good to know about it when other kids go away to school for the first time. Or, enclose an Amazon gift card that they can use to purchase things they may be missing.
Gift Cards – Always Welcome
I just sent my niece a Door Dash gift card to school. She was grateful. She loves being able to order food from a local restaurant at night when she’s hungry. It keeps her from having to go out late at night by herself or when it’s raining. And a gift card keeps her from getting up to get food. It’s delivered. Another idea is a coffee gift card since coffee is one of the staple drinks of dorm life. A Starbucks gift card goes a long way. A retail gift card also makes a big difference. I have given Amazon cards a lot of times to college students because they often run low on essentials that they need. If they’re on campus without a car, an Amazon gift card can make a big difference.
Some students are familiar with laundry duty before they get to school. Others are not. After living with family, some undergrads need reminders of how to do laundry. Or they don’t know all the essentials to make their clothes smell fresh and clean like they did at home. A care package of laundry detergent, fabric softener or dryer sheets can save them a trip to the store and provide lots of free washes. Make sure to put these items in a plastic bag in case they spill. And, try to tuck in something else that reminds them of home.
Care Packages Are a Loving Touch
Whether it’s your first year college student, or a niece or nephew’s first year, a little something special in the mail makes a big difference. It says, “I want you to know I’m thinking of you,” or “I care about you." What better way to ease the transition from home life to dorm life?
About Dorm Decks
Dorm Deck is a deck of 52 card prompts that help ease the transition from living at home to living independently in a dorm. The prompts help first year college students get out ahead of the curve of college life by assisting with time management, organization, and dorm room living. The deck is full of unique and quality ideas that make the first year of college fun and more organized. Dorm Deck helps college students succeed while making college life feel a little more personal. Little touches and hacks can make all the difference.
Give the gift of Dorm Deck as a high school graduation gift, going away to college gift, or for anyone leaving home for the first time to attend school away. These decks are inexpensive, at $19.95, and provide essential information for living alone or in a dorm for the first time.