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  • A person holding a shopping bag standing in front of a large outdoor Christmas tree with lit with white lights.

    Gift Ideas for the Season

    May Gratton

    When it comes to Christmas gifts, sometimes it is hard to find the perfect thing for your favorite people. Most of the time when we ask for ideas, we are often met with the response, “you don’t need to get me anything, don’t worry about it.” But, if you’re anything like me, you love getting gifts for others. To help ease the stress, I have made a list of a few gift recommendations, based on gifts that I have given to my family/loved ones.


    Last year, I got my parents a digital picture frame. My siblings and I can upload pictures via an app to display on their frame. I have also gotten my parents matching hoodies from my college, Oregon State (go Beavs!) Instead of college hoodies, you could also go to somewhere like Old Navy and get them a nice sweater! If your parents are empty nesters like mine are, another great idea would be to get them some tickets to a concert or some sort of event that your parents would be interested in.


    I’ve always been a huge fan of gag gifts for siblings. One year, when my sister was going to University of Oregon (my school’s rival), I got her an Oregon State blanket, with the intention of my parents keeping it. On top of a gag gift, something simple like a flannel or a cute sweater for your siblings will never go wrong. I always get my brother something simple like a hat, T-shirt, hoodie, or shoes.

    Significant Others

    A great idea for your significant other is getting them a perfume/cologne that you like the scent of. Personally, even if the scent isn’t my favorite, I would still wear it if it was given to me by my significant other. Another gift idea would also be an experience that the two of you can do together, like a concert, a weekend away, or a sporting event. Or how about matching customized sweatshirts? Finally, jewelry! You can never go wrong with a simple bracelet or earrings...maybe even a ring (wink wink).


    It’s fun to use inside jokes and/or little things that you know about your friends in selecting their gift. Last year I got all my friends basic things that everyone uses but hates paying for, like makeup wipes. I also got them Turbie Twists (super-absorbent microfiber towels) to use for their hair after a shower. Candles are something that everybody can enjoy! Just think about random things that your friend may like and find a funny, but useful gift that you could get them. For example, one of my friends loves cats and sushi, so I found a pair of cat chopsticks for her, which she uses at least once a week now!

    Happy gift giving!

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 


  • The blog author’s new puppy has black and white fur and large, pointed ears.

    New Puppy Brings About Efficiency with Responsibility

    May Gratton

    Earlier this year, when I returned to Oregon State from winter break, I came home to a puppy! Her name is Winnie, named after Winnie Cooper from the television show, The Wonder Years, and she has been the light of my life since I have gotten her. Winnie has helped me be more responsible, motivated, and social. As I am sure everyone knows, whenever someone sees a puppy, they immediately want to pet it. This has forced me to come out of my shell even more and talk to new people and make new friends.

    Better Time Management

    Since Winnie is still young, she needs a lot of playtime with long naps in between. As I’ve adjusted to this schedule, I’ve become a more efficient student, getting my schoolwork done more quickly. Before Winnie, I often procrastinated doing homework before due dates and wasted so much time. Now, I have a puppy to look after, play with, and cuddle. Now I make sure to get my homework done on schedule, so I have more time to give my puppy all the love and attention she deserves.

    Increased Bonding

    Winnie has also brought my roommates and I significantly closer. We were all great friends before we moved in together, but last term, we were more likely to be found in our respective rooms rather than together in the common living area. Now, we all spend as much time as we can in the common areas studying, hanging out, and playing with the puppy. This has helped our relationship as a whole and our individual relationships with each other. We have been communicating more than ever and have prioritized keeping these common areas clean so Winnie does not get into anything that she is not supposed to.

    Improved Mental Health

    Winnie has also helped with my mental health more than I could have imagined. She has encouraged me to get up earlier than before and has just overall made me much happier. Although sometimes she can stress me out, the way that she always lightens the mood and is there when I need her outweighs the stressful times. There were times last year where I would lay in bed all day because I didn’t have a reason to get up. Winnie has given me a reason to get up, which has encouraged me to go to class rather than skipping classes and falling behind. She has also helped with the mental health of all of my roommates. The way we like to put it is that whenever we play with her or she lays next to us for her nap, it’s a “serotonin boost”.

    One of the main reasons I really wanted a dog was because I miss my family and my dog at home. Last summer, I was living in my townhouse pretty much all by myself until my roommates moved in. It was very lonely and hard to get myself to do anything besides work and lay on the couch all day. Winnie has filled a huge hole in my life, and I am more than grateful that I was able to get her. I now have a best friend that will be by my side throughout college and whatever the future brings.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started!