Graduation gift ideas in the $100 range?
May 12, 2010 1:14 PM   Subscribe

Graduation gift ideas in the $100 range for someone getting her BA this week and starting law school in the fall?

Our babysitter is graduating this week and heading to law school in New York City this fall - The missus and I would love to get her something nice, but we're, A: Not familiar enough with her life outside of the time she spends with our kids to be comfortable in a fashion/perfume-y sense and, B: far enough in both directions (our own, and our young kids') from graduation we're stumped. Thanks!
posted by jalexei to Shopping (27 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
$100 Metrocard. ;)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:22 PM on May 12, 2010 [4 favorites]

A nice fountain pen is a classic gift for an aspiring lawyer. Same goes for a good briefcase, though the briefcase may be a little out of your price range. Don't get her a copy of Black's Law Dictionary.

A less timeless but more practical gift would be a bombproof laptop case, since most law students lug around laptops on a daily basis. I've seen some students with what is essentially laptop cover art; I like that idea too.

Law firm interview apparel is something that she'll probably be needing soon, though this may be a tougher buy for women than men (cufflinks, ties).
posted by craven_morhead at 1:22 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Fancy wine glasses for fancy lawyer parties
posted by Think_Long at 1:23 PM on May 12, 2010

I'd do a gift card to a local shopping center or a specific store she likes. After four years of college, she's probably not used to treating herself to something nice, and going right into law school isn't going to improve her immediate financial situation. $100 to blow on clothes would have seemed like a fortune to me at that age.
posted by something something at 1:24 PM on May 12, 2010

I agree with something something. I didn't buy myself new clothes for a while when I was that age, because heck, clothing? I needed to buy books. A gift card to a salon would be a pretty great thing; $100 would cover a facial and a pedicure. Or a massage. Or, if she's more practical, a new haircut.
posted by punchtothehead at 1:31 PM on May 12, 2010

roomthreeseventeen's emoticon belies the great - albeit somewhat pragmatic, gift-wise - suggestion. You'd want to go with a monthly unlimited Metrocard which is $89. Assuming she's not going to take a car with her (please don't let her take her car with her,) she'll be buying one either way.
posted by griphus at 1:33 PM on May 12, 2010

I would definitely SKIP the Metrocard. First, even in law school, a good portion of students live in dorms; second, she may well not have a lot of time to go traipsing around (I certainly didn't as a 1L); third, it is an exceedingly boring gift.

No matter who she is, where she's from, or where she's studying, a $100 gift certificate to the spa at the Mandarin Oriental would be a GREAT gift for a beleaguered 1L. Or another spa of your choosing, but the Mandarin Oriental is great (equidistant to NYU and CLS, for one, and right near Fordham--where is she matriculating?).
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:03 PM on May 12, 2010

A $100 gift certificate to a liquor store near her school. Or $100 Amazon card - she can get anything. Or find out if she has her eye on a new computer bag, headphones, or ipod touch - ask her!
posted by barnone at 2:15 PM on May 12, 2010

Another vote for the fountain pen. It's practical, it's a little bit luxurious, and it will be a reminder of your family when she's away. I received one as a present five years ago and I still use it daily.
posted by OLechat at 2:17 PM on May 12, 2010

Nice earbuds or headphones so that she doesn't derail a promising legal career for assaulting someone in the library who hasn't yet mastered the art of reading silently.
posted by mercredi at 2:36 PM on May 12, 2010

I'd say "no" to wineglasses or anything big/fragile she will have to pack. As a current grad student I'd kill for gas money, Big Box Retail Chain/Restaurant Cards, and quarters for laundry. If you want to do something more personal maybe go the fountain pen route.
posted by ShadePlant at 3:01 PM on May 12, 2010

A fountain pen is a nice real life gift, but I hasten to add that no one uses pen and paper in law school; it's all laptops.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:08 PM on May 12, 2010

How about a gift card to The Strand ? It's one of the best bookstores in the country and a real NYC institution (18 miles of books!).
posted by susanvance at 3:17 PM on May 12, 2010

I'd like to politely disagree with Admiral Haddock's opinion on the metrocard. I think that an unlimited 30 day Metrocard would be great for someone's first month in a new city. It will encourage her to get to know New York. Add to it a decent guidebook to NYC and you have a socially acceptable gift.

My other thought was just to give her cash for her school books.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:20 PM on May 12, 2010

One hundred dollars. Cash money tucked into a nice card.
posted by snowjoe at 3:21 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

If she's moving to NYC and has a month before class starts, the Metrocard is fine (though I still think a bit mundane); the issue is that the first semester of law school does not leave time for exploration. It's like storming the beach at Normandy; you don't have a chance to use your Michelin guide.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:25 PM on May 12, 2010

Perhaps the first year law student I lived with a couple of years ago was unusual. There was little beach storming in her first semester at a top ten law school.

Hence my polite disagreement. But she and her classmates may have been quite unusual.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:29 PM on May 12, 2010

That may well be; I went to one of those NYC law schools, and there was not enough exploring to make an unlimited Metrocard worth anyone's while (wait until 3L year). Plus, the market for lawyers is sublimely shitty these days, and there is, I'm told, a pall hanging over even the most hallowed institutions.

And, as a practical consideration, can you buy a Metrocard over the internet/by mail? The OP is in Boston. I know you can buy a MetroNorth ticket by mail, but I'm not sure about MetroCards.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:40 PM on May 12, 2010

I would be (secretly) disappointed with a fountain pen. I'm sure it would be a nice pen and all, and I wouldn't *say* I was disappointed, but as others have said, laptops are ubiquitous, and I just wouldn't use the pen. And if I did, I'd be worried about losing it.

Cash would much better suit my practical side. If you're the kind of person who prefers to give "fun" gifts over practical ones, then a gift card to a fancy salon is great. Make sure the card is enough to fully cover the cost of a haircut or whatever, though.
posted by runningwithscissors at 3:59 PM on May 12, 2010

I'm not familiar with NYC MetroCard details, but I am familiar with being a law student, and I vote for the MetroCard.

Most of the people I knew who were miserable 1L year were the ones who holed up in the dorms and spent all their time working, complaining about how much they were working, or gossiping about how much everyone else was working. The best decision I made back then was to get out of the hellhole every so often and remind myself that there was life--people who'd never heard of the Bluebook, people who didn't give a shit about law school or firm rankings, people who sat in the sun with ice cream cones and chatted about the weather with relaxed smiles on their faces--outside of law school. It will not kill a 1L to slack on her homework a few times or even cut a day of classes to go explore, I promise. Yes, even in this economy.

As for being boring, it's only as boring as she is. If she's a good babysitter, I bet she'll be creative enough to appreciate it.
posted by sallybrown at 4:01 PM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm a graduating 3L. I came into say what The World Famous said: a leather portfolio to use during interviews. They're way more expensive than you'd think, and they're the thing everyone forgets in the suit/shoes buying extravaganza. And that way you never forget to have extra resumes/transcripts/writing samples on hand. Pens, too.
posted by anthropomorphic at 5:22 PM on May 12, 2010

and i would not want a fountain pen. law students don't really use pens. maybe lawyers do. we'll see.
posted by anthropomorphic at 5:23 PM on May 12, 2010

Black's Law Dictionary would be a useful gift. Not terribly pretty though.
posted by rtimmel at 7:31 PM on May 12, 2010

A gift card to a department store. There she can get a suit, which she'll need, OR she can get fun stuff like perfume, etc.

She will not need a fountain pen!
posted by Neekee at 8:02 PM on May 12, 2010

Starbucks card or amazon card. She'll likely be patronizing both companies heavily. Trust me there is nothing boring about getting something you need when money is tight.
posted by whoaali at 8:24 PM on May 12, 2010

Do a gift card. Seriously, it's really, really nice of you guys to want to get her something memorable and meaningful, but as a just-graduating college student who's headed directly into the face of a phenomenal debt load, it'll be better to have the $ to buy what she needs. It was always supremely frustrating when I was in school and someone spent good money on a gift I wouldn't use or want (I mean, I was and am grateful, but I would rather have had ... the books I needed. Or food. Or rent money.)

I'd go with an Amazon card (she can get anything there) or possibly a Bed Bath & Beyond card (depending on how far away she's moving from). Every time I move I find there's household stuff I need to get, and it's no fun to drop your hard-earned personal cash on mundane stuff like that.

If you don't want to be uber practical, then I agree with the suggestion of getting a gift card for a clothing retailer she likes. There is something really nice about "having" to buy yourself a luxury because, you know, the money's already spent in the gift card. Just make sure it's a retailer she'll be able to find something at (go with Macy's if you don't know anything specific).
posted by alleycat01 at 11:06 AM on May 13, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everyone - my first thought was Metrocard, then my second thought was losing it. My wife talked to a lawyer friend, who recommended a gift card for her campus bookstore, and when we did a bit of research, it turns out her bookstore (as it is here at BU as well) is a Barnes & Noble. So gift card it is - thanks again!
posted by jalexei at 7:21 AM on May 17, 2010

« Older stick figures wanted   |   Backpacking in California's Trinity Alps?? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.