Your pride and joy is frantically gearing up to begin medical school in a few months. Needless to say, you want to show your support. Finding gifts for medical students can be tough. They seem to be a naturally well-equipped bunch. However, after wracking my brain (and even consulting Mrs. Survivor DO) I have come up with a list of ideas that will be both fun to give as well as useful gifts for medical students.
1. Feed them!
What was my best investment of medical school? It wasn’t a book. It wasn’t an iPad. It was my freakin’ $35 Crock-Pot. Medical students are busy people. The temptation is to say “I’m working my ass off, I deserve to eat out, I just don’t have the time to cook”. My solution is the Crock-Pot. Not only does it save you money but it also saves you from turning into a fatty by eating out all the time. Mine is a 3.5 qt bad boy like this one. It is just the right size for about 4 days of meals for a single person. Look up a recipe on AllRecipes.com. Throw in some ingredients and 4-8 hours later you have your meals for a week. This cannot be beat! What to eat for breakfast? Take in on the go with a single-serve blender.
2. Help them study!
One of the most serendipitous things that happened to me during medical school happened during my second year. I had a spare 22 inch flat screen television I didn’t know what to do with (#firstworldproblems). I decided to begin using it as a computer monitor and it opened up a veritable utopia of studying for me. Now I could look at a PowerPoint or other electronic resource and type notes into a Word file or make electronic flashcards at the same time! You will find dozens of ways to use the extra real estate not to mention it is just nice to look at! I have had great luck with Vizio for my HDTVs and use a 22 inch similar to this one for my monitor. Alternatively you could get a dedicated large screen computer monitor like this ViewSonic, however, the cost difference is typically negligible to add the functionality of having a full-fledged TV.
3. Keep them awake!
Med students and doctors with their coffee. It is a long running joke but it is one with a lot of truth behind it. Most of us can’t officially start our day until we have a warm cup o’ joe in our hands. The solution? The Keurig. At first I saw little benefit to the single-cup coffee maker, however, I VERY rarely need to make more than one cup of coffee before heading out the door and the Keurig does it simply and efficiently with no mess. I have found the investment worth it. To cut down on cost and waste you can utilize the re-useable K-cup. I am a bit of a klutz (I know, great trait in a surgeon) and have to thank my in-laws for getting me the Contigo Autoseal Travel Mug. This is bar none the best travel mug ever. It keeps my coffee warm for literally hours (my record is 6!) and is spill-proof (seriously, watch the videos)! Not even I can make a mess with this thing!
4. Entertain them!
I have recently been “cutting the cord” (it’s not just for OB/Gyn anymore!) and must say I wish I had done it much sooner. Right now I am living off of a high-speed internet connection and have eliminated cable completely. I have not missed it one bit. For entertainment I would highly recommend the Roku player. I have had absolutely zero issues and it seamlessly streams to my television. I would suggest a subscription to Netflix, Hulu + and/or Amazon Prime. Of the three Amazon Prime is my favorite, it has PLENTY of content and is combined with free two-day shipping from Amazon! Start by signing up for Amazon Student for free!
5. Make them stylish!
You should be proud of your student’s acceptance to medical school. This is a big deal and they worked hard to get there! Let them show their colors with a school logo hoodie. It will probably be their most popular article of clothing over the next 4 years!
6. Make them relax!
Half the battle of medical school is keeping sane. Obtaining the right balance between studies and social life is important but nearly impossible because it is a constantly shifting target. Regardless, EVERYONE needs to do something but study. One of the best gifts for medical students is something that will encourage them to keep participating in a hobby. Perhaps a ski pass or gift certificate to a yoga studio. Whatever floats their boat as long as it gets them away from the books!
7. Keep them in shape!
Sticking with the theme above, exercise is one of the best ways for a medical student to blow off steam after a long day of classes and get prepared to spend the evening studying. Most medical schools will have access to a gym but I prefer working out at home. The Bowflex Selectech adjustable dumbbells are a great product that take up very little space. Combine these with p90x and you have the equipment you need to stay in shape at home. Mrs. Survivor DO prefers pilates using the reformer (yes it is REALLY called that!) and Jackie.
8. Keep them in the black!
Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. Medical school is full of hidden expenses. Whether it be club dues, a review book that is suddenly crucial to passing the next test or just a well deserved trip to the movies there is always something popping up. Amazon.com is my go-to website for just about everything. If you can’t find it there then you don’t need it. They offer gift cards that arrive either electronically or the next day in the mail at no additional cost. Of course, cash is always an option as well.
9. Help them feel like a doc!
You may be disappointed with my list to this point. Yeah, this is all good stuff but you want a gift for medical students. Shouldn’t it be related to medicine!? Fact is, the way most medical schools form their curriculum the first two years are very similar to undergraduate. Medical students don’t need any of the stuff they will be using in the hospital quite yet. There is one exception. Most schools require the student to have a stethoscope for one reason or another. The Littmann Cardiology III is the standard (although probably overkill).
10. Give them the little things!
Still looking for some ideas? I always hate the feeling of getting nitpicked for little items. Get your medical student a gift basket of things they will need in a pinch. The Pilot G2 is the most ballin’ disposable pen out there. Trauma shears come in handy. The Otterbox Defender has saved my phone from certain death almost daily. I look at my Skagen watch hundreds of times throughout the day (most of them just because it’s sexy!). With a little imagination you can surely keep your student in stock with the items they will need from time to time.
These are some great potential gifts for medical students. I have used each of these products almost daily and would not recommend them if I didn’t think they would help lead to success in medical school and life. What is the most important gift? You’re continued support! Tough times are ahead, make sure you check in every once and awhile to help keep your new medical student sane!