​9 Gift Ideas for Medical Students

Happy Christmas-hannuka-kwanza-ramadan everyone! And if you’re just glad to be able to air your grievances and achieve some feats of strength, happy Festivus! (go watch Seinfeld my dear millennial classmates if this one goes over your head) Whatever holiday you celebrate this season, you can bet that your beloved medical student is probably exhausted from a well fought semester. Well friends, family, significant others, and other loved ones, I am writing today to you, yes you, to encourage you this season to think out of the box when it comes to gifts for your favorite future physician. That’s why I’ve attempted to come up with some atypical gift ideas that I believe would brighten any medical student’s holiday….

Note-I’m not going to be suggesting a gym membership-every medical student in my honest opinion should already be exercising regularly. If not, make a Gym Membership unofficial number 10 on this list.

1. Subscription Food Services 

At this point, you’ve probably been inundated with those aggressively innocuous commercials for services like Blue Apron, Plated, and HelloFresh. Despite that, these services are excellent, with quality, healthy ingredients. And most importantly, they taste incredible and are actually cheaper than going out to eat (which admittedly, every medical student does way too much). Your medical student will appreciate eating something other than the pasta bakes and gas station burritos more than you could know. If you’d rather send them away with some delicious snacks rather than meals, Naturebox and Graze (both stamped with the Matthew Wright Seal of Awesome) have got you covered. Prices range and vary greatly based on how often you want services to come.

2. This Adorable Guy

Your smarty pants medical student deserves a plushy brain. End of story. Or if they don’t like that, you can always buy them a giant microbe to remind them who’s really in charge. These guys make excellent stocking stuffers.

3. Subscriptions to Music and Audio Services 

The sad fact of the matter is, as much as we medical students love learning, and as good as reading is for your brain, most days, we’re all too exhausted to do it as much as we should, and far too often we sit in front of the computer screen and burn our eyeballs out, failing to get enough sleep. To fight this, I listen to a lot (try at least 30) different podcasts as well as audiobooks. I cannot recommend services like audible, pandora, and spotify (for music as well as podcasts) enough for the medical student-audiophiles out there. A personal favorite book to get started is “Quite: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking”

4. Office Supplies

Hear me out on this one. I’m not talking about low quality notebooks and pens. What I mean is that medical students spend so much time at a desk writing and taking notes, that creating the proper work environment is key. So,  that means finding quality lighting (especially if your med-student gets the winter blues), a quality chair, or even a standing desk. Maybe it means buying them a little bonsai tree, or some high-quality pens and notebooks to write or journal with. Your medical student might look at you with some eye rolls, but they’ll thank you for it in the long run.

5. Indulge Their Hobbies

Look, even med students need non-school hobbies. Maybe they like craft brewing, or excellent coffee. Maybe they’re a musician, or a botanist, or into building their own computer, or they love to ski. Whatever it is, nudge the student in your life to continue to enjoy their passions in whatever way you can. Heck, for me, it’s as simple as asking for a new board game for Christmas. So, whatever your student’s “thing” is, indulge them this Christmas season.

6. Peace of Mind

Maybe this is the introvert in me talking, but you know what sounds really great after an endless semester of studying and exams? Turning my brain off and starting at a wall for a few hours. Whatever the case is, one of the greatest gifts you can give your medical student is the gift of quietness. So please don’t ask too many questions about why we aren’t seeing anyone at the moment, or plan for us to visit relatives all break. Those things are good, make no mistake, but it will be important to learn to respect your student’s need for quietness and recovery this season. I especially encourage those looking for a “gift” in this area for their student to consider a pair of active noise cancelling headphones (I love mine), or even a bout in a sensory-deprivation chamber.

7. Self-Care Items

Be it comfy clothes, massages, bath bombs (still not really sure what that is), tea, coffee, suduko or crossword puzzles, coloring books (yes, coloring is for adults, and it’s awesome), favorite homemade foods, or a fancy haircut/mani/pedi, self-care items cannot be undervalued.

8. Experiences

Look, I’m not saying we can all afford a trip to Cabo for the holidays or anything (heaven knows I can’t), but some of the best gifts I have ever received have been those that allowed me to try something new. For example, Receiving concert tickets (tickets to Trans Siberian Orchestra is still my favorite Christmas surprise while I was growing up), gift cards to restaurants they love, lessons for a new hobby or skill, sky diving lessons, or if you can afford it, a vacation. Any opportunity to experience this beautiful world we live in is one of the most incredible gifts a medical student can receive.

9. Pay a Bill

Do I need to explain how poor we are right now? Please just pay our phone bill or make a car payment, or if you’re feeling especially generous-pay rent for a month. This is honestly one of the easiest, kindest things you can do for your student this season.

Most importantly, remember to love your medical student and meet them where they are at in this season of life. Hug them, listen to them, and care for them this holiday season. Happy Holidays from MotivateMD to all of you! Best of Luck!

By Matthew Wright
Medical College of Wisconsin

Leave a comment