5 Items Every Student Care Package Needs

College students, like members of the military, enjoy receiving care packages from home. (photo courtesy of Smithsonian Institution on flickr)

College students, like members of the military, enjoy receiving care packages from home. (photo courtesy of Smithsonian Institution on flickr)

Are you interested in sending your college student a care package, but are unsure what exactly Johnny or Susie would need? Worry no more, every college student longs for five items that will help get them through the demanding schedule of a college semester.

1. Coffee and/or Tea

College is hard: all-nighters, multiple exams within days of one another, and all those papers on Shakespeare and the differences between Quartz and Hematite. By packing a pound or so of your son or daughter’s favorite flavored coffee or tea a sense of relaxation will overcome them once they open your package. Droopy eyes: goodbye! Constant yawning: adios! Caffeinated coffee and tea are not only healthier options (compared to soda, for example), but they can also provide students with the extra jolt of energy needed to complete the semester.

2. Holiday Decorations

Whether it’s St. Patrick’s Day or Halloween, students will miss seeing holiday decorations strategically placed throughout their childhood home. By including a little figurine, wreath or stuffed bear students will feel at home while away at school, and know you’re thinking about them, with a tiny decoration included in the care package.

3. Non-perishable Food

College students eat, a lot, but not on a regular schedule or according to the food pyramid. Anything that can be placed on a shelf or in a pantry for an extended amount of time is an excellent option to include in a care package. From pasta and spaghetti sauce to soup and rice, students will be happy to easy-to-make food that lasts a long time.

4. Money and/or Gift Cards

Because college is expensive and time-consuming, many students work part time if at all. A care package that includes a little extra cash or a gift card to the closest grocery store would be the college-equivalent of opening a Tickle-Me-Elmo on Christmas day in the mid-nineties: Priceless! The benefit of a gift card is that it will prevent your loved-one from spending money on frivolous outings to the local pizzeria or smoke shop. If a $50 gift card for Publix you know that at the bare minimum he/she will have a fridge of beer and a pantry of Ramen Noodles.

5. Toiletries

With what little money most college students do have, it is unlikely they want to spend it on items such as shampoo or toothbrushes. Suggested toiletries (from a once dorm-residing college student) include: toothbrush, toothpaste, Q-tips, Kleenex, a loofa, soap, shampoo, razors, lip balm, nail clippers, tweezers, etc. By shipping these items in a care package not only will you be providing your hard worker with tools for personal hygiene, but also (indirectly) more money for the important things, like textbooks… and gasoline.

Above all, make sure your care package is built and packaged with love. In a world full of instant-this and immediate-that, receiving a package in the mail provides a sense of thought and care that e-cards or text messages cannot.

Ashley Benson is a distance education professional with five years of experience in the for-profit sector. She has worked coast-to-coast within the United States as an academic advisor, an adjunct teaching assistant and, most recently, a campus Registrar. Through formal education and industry experience, Ashley practices staying informed on the current events and changes within higher education and the students involved.

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