The hardest part of any situation is saying goodbye. When you’ve spent a significant part of your life living with someone, there’s just no way to prepare for not seeing them everyday. It’s strange. It’s sad. But whether it’s leaving home or moving out of your college dorm, parting is incredibly difficult. It’s usually tradition to give a parting gift to a loved one, so if you are moving out and want to give your friends a meaningful gift, here are a couple of great options to choose from.
Okay, so printing out pictures isn’t exactly the most modern of practices, since most of us can just send pictures back and forth and store them in the cloud. But there’s hardly any kind of heartfelt appreciation about something like that. Instead, why not go the extra mile and go with something a little more permanent and tangible?
Parting gifts should fall into two categories: practical or sentimental. Practical gifts will be well appreciated and are great for roommates who aren’t necessarily great friends or won’t necessarily get an emotional farewell, but good friends deserve a sentimental gift, even if you aren’t a sentimental person. If you have a good picture of you and your roommate, it’s worth giving as a good old fashioned reminder of good times and bad. Some things never go out of style, and framed pictures are some of the most heartfelt and genuinely appreciate gifts that you can give.
Have you ever been to the team store at the student union? I honestly hadn’t until very recently, and boy was I missing out on a ton of stuff that I didn’t have any need for. Past the typical sweaters and sports gear, it turns out that there’s a cheesy knick knack for every kind of kitchy taste.
Snow globes, christmas tree decorations, picture frames, coffee mugs, keychains, little plush dolls of your school’s mascot. The options were varied and pretty strange, which only delighted me even more. When I got my roommate a $20 snow globe with Testudo, the University of Maryland’s mascot, hanging out in the middle, I can tell you that I was very happy with my purchase.
The great thing about these kinds of gifts is that they are dumb and silly and almost completely useless (not to mention that they are also cheap!), but they also are the easiest way to inspire a little bit of nostalgia whenever you look at them in passing over the next few years. The best gifts are the ones that give you an emotional response in spite of yourself.
You know how when you look up new laptops on your current laptop and it feels weird, like you are cruelly using something to find its replacement and doom it to obscure oblivion? Well it might seem counterintuitive to get your current roommates stuff for their next roommates, especially if you aren’t taking the separation well, but ultimately it is for the best.
And boy do you need a lot for an apartment: kitchen utensils, lightbulbs, batteries, shower curtains, regular curtains, doormats, cups, laundry detergent. None of these things are romantic, or even particularly good gifts, but they are necessary and not any fun to get yourself. Ease the transition for someone else by providing them with the essentials that they will need for next year. The best way to endear yourself to your soon to be former roommates is by setting them up for their future roommates.
So you’ve spent the last four years (five if you were really dedicated to enjoying yourself) drinking from shitty plastic handles of questionably flavored vodka that was found at the bottom of the liquor store shelf. The Green Apple Svedka and Natty Light cans were effective, and you will probably be weirdly romantic about them once you graduate from five dollar beer to TEN dollar beer, but college is all about growing up, so it’s time to mature your alcohol intake as well.
Unless they are sober, or prudes, everybody wants to get free alcohol, and to make sure you really hammer home that it’s a special occasion, it’s time to look a little higher on the shelf. A quality bottle of vodka, a special spirit, or someone’s favorite kind of liquor is a really great goodbye gift because you’ll be able to celebrate your time together getting wasted and being stupid, which is what college is all about. Be reminded whenever you reach for a special-occasion drink.
Why stick with a single gift when you can double up on the sentimentality? A double gift is a way for you and your roommate to think about each other while you are no longer sharing the same space. This can include classics like friendship bracelets and half-heart necklaces, or you can think more outside the box by getting matching reading lamps, pairing picture frames, or even similar toothbrushes (nothing says “friends forever” like good dental hygiene).
Really anything can fulfil this gift idea as long as you get two of them. The key is to do something cheap without seeming like it’s cheap (that’s the case for just about any gift, right?) I’ve heard of people getting matching shoes, matching sunglasses, matching notebooks, matching hats, and even matching tattoos to mark the end of an era. If you are willing to go with a more permanent two person gift, feel free to go the tattoo route, but the point is that there’s nothing too big or too small to match. Ideally it should be something that you use frequently enough that you’ll get that wisp of nostalgia from it every once in a while. But then again, that should be the goal for any gift that you give a departing roomie. When you spend so much of your time together, it can be incredibly strange, and even pretty sad, when you wake up in a new place and don’t see those familiar faces. A nice nostalgia-laden gift is just what you need to keep those roommates close to you at all times.
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