What you should give the graduate

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 09 2015 11:24 AM | Updated as of Mar 10 2015 02:21 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Graduation represents a turning point in the life of your young adult.

Whether the graduate is your very own child, a close relative, or just someone dear to you, it is natural to want to give a token to congratulate him or her for one of the biggest achievements of his or her life.

As the graduate moves from high school to college, or from college to “the real world,”, a gift would serve many purposes: as a reward for having completed his or her academic requirements; a reminder of the time and effort they poured into that chapter of their young life; and as a tool to help them as they go on to face the bigger challenges that will soon unfold.

Given the wide variety of choices that you could give the graduate, what would be practical and meaningful options that would last longer than a bunch of flowers or an expensive shirt?

Choosing gifts is never easy, which is why you might want to do a little research. Try to probe a little further to know what the graduate might need. There is nothing wrong with asking the graduate directly, since he or she would know what they might have use for as they begin the transition. Consulting the parents is also a good thing, particularly to avoid giving a gift the graduate already has.

Here are a few ideas of meaningful gifts – both big and small – that the young graduate may find very useful:

Investment fund.

For as low as P5,000, you can get the graduate an investment fund to get them started on the savings path. Often, savings is last in the minds of young graduates, especially since they have not started earning yet. Since the graduate has his or her whole life ahead of them, you can actually choose to put the money in one of the more aggressive funds that can grow substantially over the time. Remind the graduate to top up regularly when he or she is already earning.

A working wardrobe.

The graduate who is looking to begin his or her life in the corporate world probably, and understandably, doesn’t own a piece of clothing or at least enough that would pass for business attire. This is when a shirt or formal slacks will be appreciated. For ladies, a smart blazer, skirt or shift dresses would likely be welcomed. Don’t forget to enclose the gift receipt so that they can exchange it for a similar item if you got the size wrong. Better yet, for greater flexibility, you may want to give a shopping gift certificate.

On-the-job-training.

If you have a business, you may consider offering on-the-job-training to the graduate. It doesn’t even have to be a permanent position. If you own a trading company, for instance, you can let him or her handle some clerical tasks, or monitor deliveries, or other aspects that you may need help in. This gives them the exposure to the real work environment, allows them to add something to their resume, and let them earn in the process. For the high-school graduate, a short stint introduces him or her to the concept of responsibility, and will widen his or her perspective of life and possible career choices when he or she gets to college.

Planner Organizer.

In the old days, a hard bound notebook or day planner can be really useful, to help the graduate keep track of job interviews and when hired, tasks to do. These days, it could be an electronic gadget, or for something cheaper, a useful App for their smart phone. It would be nice to complement the gift with a lunch or coffee date where you walk the graduate through how to use the gadget or App, and share some wisdom on time management.

Training seminars.

You may think no graduate will want to go back to studying so soon, but some are already quite proactive in seeking additional skills to give them an edge when looking for jobs.

Ask the graduate what he or she may be interested in, and sponsor participation in a training seminar for a practical skill that could complement their undergraduate degrees. These may refer to workshops or seminars on how to use specific software, or some special skills like baking or cooking. These skills may come in handy if he or she should decide not to look for work, but set up a business instead, and will serve them well throughout their life.

In choosing a gift for the graduate, remember that experience matters as much as material gifts, so don’t limit yourself to gifts that come wrapped in fancy paper. Give the graduate a gift with the thought that he or she is starting out, and would gain much from gifts that would give long-term benefits. No doubt they’ll thank you for it.

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