Class of 2013

This coming weekend, my baby sister is graduating from my Alma Mater, Cornell. Ever heard of it? (FYI, if you didn't know, that's a joke from 'The Office' and not me just being a cocky weirdo).

I love love love Cornell. That's a pretty dumb statement because in general, I think most people enjoy their college experience. However, Ithaca is a really charming town with a lot of character and because I'd never lived in such a rural setting in my life, it was an interesting and special experience. My sister's graduation is a bittersweet moment because I no longer have an immediate excuse to head up to Ithaca but of course, it's amazing, because hello, she's graduating.

The ceremony will take place outside. I say this with certainty because on campus, we joke about the "Cornell weather machine." The weather always seems to be perfect for specific occasions, e.g. Cornell days (which is in April when prospective students come to visit); somehow every year, the weather is gorges (re: gorgeous) for the whole week. So, I'm pretty sure the weather machine will come through again.
I plan on wearing a breezy white dress from Zara because it's Memorial Day weekend and we can all officially start wearing white! Kidding. To be honest, I don't really follow that fashion rule because it's stuffy and white is an amazing color that should be worn year round. Since we'll be outdoors and I expect the sun to be out, I will be bringing a pair of sunnies and a straw hat to keep my face protected (on top of wearing an SPF lotion).

I hate the pre-made bouquets available in supermarkets so I'm thinking about making my own bouquet to bring up. I'll let you know how that works out.

As far as graduation gift ideas are concerned, I've gathered a few ideas and broken it down into three categories: work, practical, and fun, and into three levels of preparation, from super thoughtful gifts to quick ones you can grab in a pinch.
  • Work-related gifts: The new grad is most likely starting a job soon or looking for one so this is a great starting point for ideas.
    • If you have the time and cash, consider getting the graduate's diploma framed. It's eventually going to be displayed in his or her office and (s)he will always think of you whenever it's viewed.
    • For a less pricey, less time-consuming option, consider purchasing a nice laptop bag or portfolio. These days, everyone has a tablet so a professional-looking portfolio that has space for a tablet as well as a notepad is great.
    • Oh no! You forgot to get your grad a gift! Run into Target or a department store and pick up some desk accessories, like a pretty pencil cup or some nice stationary. Or, if your grad is a coffee (or tea) drinker, a nice thermos is great idea as well.
  • Practical gifts: These gifts are not as "boring" as the work-related gifts but are still quite functional.
    • A computer upgrade is a great gift, especially if the grad has been using the same computer since freshman year; at this point, it's gone through quite a lot.
    • These days, everyone has a smartphone with an amazing camera. However, I quite like my CSC and highly recommend it to anyone in the market for something that's a step up from a point & shoot. If your grad loves to travel, this is going to be an awesome gift.
    • Crap! You need to get a gift but you don't have a lot of time or cash! Head into Target, Walmart, or even most grocery stores and you'll find a huge selection of gift cards to retailers and restaurants.
  • Fun gifts: If you're a "cool parent" or the grad is your friend or sibling, you probably want to get them something 100% recreational.
    • If you've got the budget, you can fund a trip for your grad - whether it's plane tickets or train tickets or a rental car. If the grad already has a trip planned (backpacking in Europe, anyone?) then why not get them some nice luggage?
    • Or, you can gift them with supplies to enhance their hobbies, like a new bicycle or rollerblades for the sporty grad or new paints and an easel for the artistic grad; you get the picture.
    • Whoops! You totally forgot to shop for a gift! No fear, cash is always appreciated. Just make sure to include a card with a little blurb to congratulate them.
Congratulations Class of 2013!