23 Thoughtful Gifts To Remind Your College Kid of Home
Only 25% of all full-time undergraduate students live at home with their parents, says a report by the Urban Institute. It adds that it’s at private non-profit institutions of higher education where the most students live in college housing.
Because of this, it’s no wonder why a lot of degree-seeking students are sick of being far away from their loved ones.
According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), up to 94% of college students reported experiencing homesickness at some point during the first 10 weeks of their higher education career.
So, in other words, it’s more prevalent among first-time, first-year college students.
Homesickness, the same study added, was associated with all sorts of adjustments necessary during the first semester. But it also added that, on average, the matter decreased slightly across the first semester.
But a college semester is 15 to 17 weeks long, which can feel like an eternity for yearning undergraduates!
Since they cannot take college closer to home, family and friends of homesick students may instead send them wonderful gifts that will remind them of the people and places they miss the most as they work on a bachelor’s degree.
Many of them can cheer up students living miles away from home, thus making it easier for them to focus on their studies.
Below, I will give you a list of some of the things you can send to a homesick college student.
To make it easier for you I included Amazon links (affiliate) to some of the products I like to send to my college freshman.
1. Customized Pillows
Not being able to see a familiar face, of course, can make a college student miss home like nothing else.
It’s a good thing that pillowcases can be customized, to bear the images of the family, circle of friends or even furry pals back home.
With the faces of the people (or pets) the college student loves and misses the most printed on his or her pillowcases, getting a good night’s sleep, which homesickness makes impossible, should be easier.
2. Relaxing Shower Gels
Did you know that taking a hot shower can help combat homesickness?
Well, using a shower gel that helps relax the mind allows a college student who is far from everyone he or she loves can make it easier to concentrate on the academic program and meet new people and make new friends.
Something that smells like lavender, chamomile, rose, bergamot, jasmine, frankincense and ylang-ylang, say aromatherapy experts, is best for calming.
However, it’s also a good idea to gift the homesick undergraduate with a shower gel whose scent can remind him or her of home, be it pine, orange or cinnamon.
3. Scented Candles
Many scented candles are meant to help alleviate all kinds of things that homesickness can bring, ranging from anxiety, depression to stress.
Especially when paired with meditation, any college student who is still in the process of adjusting to the fact that he or she is no longer a high schooler and now living independently can benefit from lighting scented candles.
Besides making the dorm smell like a day spa, scented candles can also help make it appear nicer to the eyes.
Prior to sending a college student some scented candles, ask if there are any other things that make adjusting to college life seem difficult.
Fatigue? Drowsiness? Nausea? Insomnia?
Whatever it is, there’s a scented candle for it!
4. Reed Diffuser
Many college dorms across the US do not allow candles. Whether scented or otherwise, candles can run the risk of setting off smoke detectors and even burning down residence halls.
But fret not as there’s a safer way to help ease a college student’s homesickness with the help of aromatherapy.
And it’s by surprising the degree-seeking individual with a reed diffuser. Just like what the name suggests, it fills the room with soothing and relaxing aromas with the use of rattan reeds instead of an open flame.
Just make sure that you also send him or her high-quality essential oils for outstanding results.
5. Spa Gift Basket
A trip to the day spa can help reduce stress and anxiety, thus helping to lift one’s mood.
While effective for improving the mental state, unfortunately, it’s not easy on the pocket — an hour of stay at most day spas can cost $100 and sometimes more.
As a matter of fact, it’s not uncommon for some top-tier day spas in the country to charge customers anywhere from $700 to $800 per visit.
It’s a good thing that there are reasonably priced at-home spa gift baskets you can send to the homesick student’s college dorm, such as this 9-piece set.
6. Microwave Heat Pack
College students commonly experience pain associated with studying. Some of the most usually experienced ones include neck, shoulder and back pain.
It’s also possible for muscle pain to result from anxiety, which is one of the things that homesickness can bring.
Rather than popping a painkiller in the mouth, it’s a much better idea for a college student to get his or her hands on a microwave heat pack that helps alleviate achy muscles without the nasty side effects.
It also makes for a practical gift for a student with an active lifestyle, such as one who partakes in sports or is a fitness buff.
7. Weighted Blanket
A student who lives on campus can long for so many things. And they include hugs from their loved ones.
There’s a product that can make a homesick college attendee feel like he or she is being hugged, held or swaddled. And it’s none other than a weighted blanket, which is popular among individuals with anxiety disorders.
But many things have to be taken into account when buying one, such as the breathability of the fabric, type of filler and weight. Here’s one of the bestselling weighted blankets online.
8. Positive Message Socks
At the end of a long and tiring day on campus, nothing can make a student feel better than kicking off his or her shoes in the confines of the dorm.
And seeing an affirmation or a positive statement, especially the kinds that loved ones back at home would always say, printed on the socks can make that stress and homesickness go away in an instant.
Combined with cheery colors and funny characters, a positive message on a pair of socks such as “stay strong” or “never give up” lets a college student feel good and keep his or her eyes on the prize: a bachelor’s degree.
9. Digital Picture Frame
These days, a college dorm is about the size of a 1-car garage. And sharing that space with a roommate is very much likely. It’s because of this why staying neat and organized is a must for every student living on campus.
A digital picture frame allows a homesick student to enjoy memories without the clutter.
Something that connects to a Wi-Fi network and has access to cloud storage, such as this one from Amazon, makes it possible for family members and friends anywhere on the planet to share photos and even videos.
10. Light Therapy Lamp
Is the student studying where it’s usually cold and gray?
Then no other gift could be more perfect than a light therapy lamp, which can help lift the mood and make the dorm room brighter and nicer.
Simply put, the product is designed to mimic outdoor light, the lack of which can have an unfavorable effect on one’s mental health, and may even cause what’s referred to as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
With a lifted mood, a college student may find it easier to combat homesickness and focus on his or her coursework.
11. Bond Touch Bracelet
There is a wearable device that lets a college student experience the representation of the touch of a loved one living far away from the college dorm.
It’s referred to as a bond touch bracelet that gently buzzes and flashes, too, whenever somebody who is on the other end touches his or hers, thus allowing them to feel like they’re next to each other.
It works by connecting the bracelet to a companion app installed on a smartphone, which has to be connected to the web.
For example, this bond touch bracelet is waterproof and its rechargeable battery lasts for 4 days. The app is encrypted, thus allowing users to share personal info safely and securely.
12. Fitness Tracker
It’s no secret that working out on a regular basis may help lower one’s risk of obesity and many other serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
However, not too many people are aware of the fact that it can also reduce homesickness.
A fitness tracker makes for a fantastic gift for a homesick undergraduate student as it can serve as a motivation for him or her to get a dose of exercise on a regular basis.
Many of today’s fitness trackers come with additional bells and whistles such as smartphone notifications and alarm clocks, thus allowing degree-seeking wearers to stay organized.
13. Voice-Controlled Smart Speaker
Sometimes, something as simple as a funny joke is enough to lower a college student’s homesickness level.
It’s a good thing that Alexa or Google can tell one upon command for as long as the individual has a voice-controlled smart speaker.
Listening to an entertaining audiobook or a mood-lifting song is possible, too — the user simply has to give the right command. Other tasks it can carry out include ordering takeout, creating a to-do list and getting weather updates.
Here’s a recent model with a small size but big sound.
14. Gift Cards
According to a report by the Cleveland Clinic, retail therapy can make people happy in a snap as well as fight off any lingering sadness.
And it’s exactly because of this why sending a homesick college student a gift card to his or her favorite retail store or food establishment could easily be one of the smartest steps to take.
As a matter of fact, people who purchase rather than simply browse items are 3 times less sad, say experts from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.
Because the recipient can buy the right product at the right place, it can help him or her feel in control.
15. Journaling Notebook
Something as simple as keeping a journal is an effective way to deal with homesickness.
Writing down things such as those that the college student misses about home or emotions that being miles away from home makes him or her feel can help work through negative thoughts.
Needless to say, a journaling notebook would make for a nice surprise to a homesick college attendee.
Throwing in some colored pens, stencils, stickers and other fun and creative journaling tools can help make managing one’s homesickness by recording thoughts, reflections and ideas more interesting and effective.
16. Self-Therapy Notepad
These days, a therapy session can cost anywhere from $100 to $200.
It may help a college student deal with his or her homesickness alright, but it can also leave a gigantic hole in the pocket. In addition, it can make an already hectic schedule of being an undergraduate even more hectic.
Luckily, there’s a self-therapy notepad available online. It allows the homesick student to assess his or her feelings with a dash of humor.
Measuring 6 inches x 9 inches, the notepad can easily fit into any purse or backpack, thus allowing the student to become his or her very own shrink anytime and anywhere.
17. Handwritten Jewelry or Keychain
Despite advances in technology such as emails and text messages, a written letter remains to make a lot of impact.
And nothing can make a college student less homesick better than wearing a necklace whose pendant or a bracelet whose charm bears an actual handwritten word or phrase by a loved one living cities or even states away.
Wearing one can help beat homesickness and at the same time make the attire look more complete, especially since it can come in 14k gold, 14k rose gold and sterling silver, such as this custom pendant with a chain.
Not fond of wearing jewelry? A keychain with the handwritten note of the giver can make for a fantastic alternative.
18. State Necklace
A college student can pay homage to his or her home state at any given time while making a fashion statement, thanks to a state necklace that comes with a pendant in the shape or outline of the state he or she left behind.
Some manufacturers allow up to 2 states — the home state and the college’s state.
This enables the wearer to demonstrate one’s love for both states, which can make it easier for him or her to establish the fact that the current state is a new home where a bachelor’s degree is being earned and may also provide a future dream career.
Materials can range from gold, sterling silver to stainless steel, which means that there’s one perfect for any undergraduate.
19. Landmark Poster
Based on research published by ScienceDirect, which provides access to a massive bibliographic database of scientific and medical publications of Elsevier, a Dutch publisher, undergraduate students who are living on campus are less satisfied with their dormitories than with their academic as well as social lives.
A simple but impactful decorative element any homesick college student could use is a landmark poster, the kind that showcases a feature or place in his or her hometown that is easily recognizable to all.
Regardless if it’s a poster of the Golden Gate Bridge, Statue of Liberty, Yosemite National Park or Lincoln Memorial, someone who is working on a bachelor’s degree need not feel that his or her dorm is a long, long way from home.
20. Travel Fund Box
Speaking of a home that’s far away, it’s always nice for any out-of-state students to look forward to moments when colleges and universities give their attendees the wonderful opportunity to close their books and visit their family and friends.
Alas, a plane ticket doesn’t come cheap, depending on how far you are from your home state.
It’s due to this why a travel fund box would make for a phenomenal gift to a college student, especially one who tends to miss home quite easily. There’s also something meant for a vacation or adventure.
Either way, what’s really nice about this item is that it allows the recipient to learn about the value of saving money.
21. Nut Gift Basket
There are a couple of reasons why nuts are good for battling anxiety and depression associated with homesickness.
First, they are packed with omega-3 fatty acids the brain needs for proper functioning.
Second, nuts are an excellent source of magnesium, a mineral that helps reduce stress hormones in the brain that can cause mood swings and insomnia.
And that is why nothing can be more perfect for a student who is experiencing homesickness than a gift basket packed with an assortment of nuts, which can be shared with a roommate who could be homesick, too.
22. Healthy Instant Noodles or Ramen
According to a report by Northwestern University, as much as 95% of college students are eating unhealthily.
The problem with this is that it can affect not only the waistline but also the mood, which can make matters worse for a college student who is experiencing homesickness.
And this is why a basket filled with all kinds of healthy instant noodles or ramen, which are devoid of artificial preservatives and flavorings, can be beneficial for the undergraduate.
Instant noodles and ramen are associated with college students by many people, and you don’t have to change this — all you have to do is send a bunch of healthy ones to the homesick college student.
23. Heartfelt Letters
In some instances, there’s no need to spend a lot of money just to make a big positive impact on the heart of someone who is feeling homesick for being enrolled in a college far from home.
Something as simple as handing family and friends nice-looking stationeries and asking them to write a letter to the college student is usually more than enough to make the recipient feel like he or she is still in the company of loved ones who are always there to provide love and support and demonstrate their faith in the individual attaining college success.
Homesickness can make college students feel all sorts of things, including those that can negatively impact their academic performance and even consider dropping out to be with their family and friends.
But the good news is that it’s something that goes away as the weeks and months pass.
While waiting for them to fully adjust to their higher education career and miss their homes less, there are many different gifts that can be sent their way, many of which can help alleviate homesickness.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.