FINALS are approaching, and I’ll bet your fav college kid would LOVE to receive a great CARE PACKAGE! The key is gifting consumable, helpful products that won’t take up more space when it’s time to pack up the dorm in a couple weeks. Rather than the ever-popular “3Cs”(Cheetos, Chocolates, and tChotchkes), here is just what the doctor ordered to perk up your exhausted student:
*Please note that I have NO financial ties with these products, but I’m including links to those I use and recommend professionally for your convenience.
- Eye Relief: Everyone has sore, tired eyes from unending hours of computer use, and some will even develop tiny corneal abrasions (usually from falling asleep in their contacts.) Did you know we blink up to 66% less often when staring at screens? No wonder our eyes get so dried out! Encourage your student to help their aching eyes by periodically switching back to their prescription glasses and applying lubricating drops like Blink or Systane (NOT the “get the red out” ones, those actually aggravate the issue) every few hours while studying. In addition, take a daily midafternoon break by applying a soothing lubricant gel like Refresh Celluvisc and closing your eyes for a 5 minute escape.
- Neck and Back Relief: Speaking of long hours on laptops, how about those aching necks, shoulders, and backs? If time, money, and local COVID restrictions are no object, a gift certificate for a massage would be awesome. However, slapping on a couple menthol-based pain-relieving patches like Salon Pas or IcyHot can offer significant prolonged relief. During long study sessions, setting 30-minute reminders for one minute of neck and shoulder stretches will help a ton. To fix the root of the problem (which is that laptops alone are never ergonomically sound) I highly recommend computer stands like this one, paired with a wireless keyboard. Looking for more on this topic? Check out Ch. 27 “College is a Pain in the Neck” in The Ultimate College Student Health Handbook: Your Guide to Everything from Hangovers to Homesickness.
- Odor Relief-Have you ever walked into a dorm during finals week? Not judging, just saying that lack of personal hygiene and the lack of attention to laundry combine to produce… unpleasant aromas. While many students are oblivious to the smell, nearly all appreciate a clean, fresh scent which decreases stress. Remember candles aren’t allowed in most dorms or apartments, so a simple plug in or stand-alone air freshener is great. Avoid flowery smells and go for “clean” not “perfume-y”; I prefer gels or solids.
- Energy Boost: While I want every student to know that a ZILLION studies have confirmed test scores are better with an extra hour or two of sleep (rather than staying up those extra hours trying to cram in more last minute studying) the reality is that if your student drinks coffee, they will be thrilled to see a STARBUCKS gift card in this package.
- Heartburn Relief: And along with TOO MUCH CAFFEINE comes HEARTBURN. Ditto for nicotine, and students who vape use frequent hits from their JUULs to “stay alert” as they study. During finals, students often hyper-caffeinate with coffee, Red Bulls and “energy shots”, all of which relax the little muscle at the base of the esophagus (the lower esophageal sphincter) whose sole job is to keep acid in the stomach. FYI, caffeine, nicotine and alcohol ALL relax that little sphincter, which allows stomach acid to slosh up (aka “reflux”) into the esophagus and cause the chest discomfort, burning or pain of heartburn (which many students do not recognize as reflux/heartburn, adding unnecessary anxiety on top of the pain!) So, it doesn’t hurt and might really help to include an antacid like these rather tasty TUMS Chewy Bites.
- Hunger Relief: A gift card for pizza is great for one meal, but let’s try to facilitate better nutrition by including grocery/meal delivery gift cards like GRUBHUB, DOORDASH or UBEReats. Handy snacks are also key to surviving finals week, so consider sending nuts and/or fruit if your kid enjoys those. For example, our family’s favorite small-town Texas store ships AMAZING pecans. Feel free to share links to your favorite local shops in the comments!
- Headache Relief: Many finals’ week headaches come from dehydration! Whether it’s stress, too much caffeine, or simply not taking the time to drink enough water, it’s great to have these three things on hand: acetaminophen, ibuprofen, (or try the combo product) and electrolyte-replacement powders like LiquidIV.
- Affirmation (and a Bit of Laundry) Relief: See above…not much laundry happens in the last couple weeks of school! If you’re looking for something encouraging and practical to add in that care package (that wont be too much to pack), consider a pair or two of “you’ve got this” socks or perhaps a fun t-shirt.
- Stress Relief: Add some FUN with a light up frisbee or maybe a gift card for miniature golf. Getting OUTSIDE & grabbing some fresh air & activity with friends can go a long way to clear the brain for more studying!
- Packing/Clutter Relief: Almost everyone ends the year with way more “stuff” than they started, and a good chunk of that stuff is clothing. Consider including some compression packing cubes (no vacuum required) or a couple IKEA bags to help with move out.
Bottom Line: Finals are SO STRESSFUL that they impact our student’s physical health as well as their mental health. Give your kid a boost by including these items in your care package and GOOD LUCK to everyone during FINALS week!