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Every year, the GradHacker authors collaborate on a series of posts suggesting gifts that grad students might appreciate receiving during the holiday season. As in the past two years, the GradHacker Holiday Gift Guide will again be split into three categories—professional gifts, technology, and personal gifts—with a new post in the series appearing each Friday between now and Christmas.

Maura — Good shoes

Conferences, campus interviews, and other professional events often involve a lot of walking, so you’ll want to have a really comfortable pair of nice dress shoes that won’t leave you with aching and blistered feet. But quality shoes can be a budget-buster, so a gift certificate or shoe box under the tree is the perfect present for the price-conscious grad student. I like Aravon shoes, which are made by New Balance (the sneaker people)—they’re sturdy, incredibly comfortable even at the end of a long day, and come in sizes that fit my extra-wide feet.

Hanna — Evernote Premium subscription

Evernote is an app that is available on almost every platform, and allows you to add to it almost every sort of file or document, clip web pages, or write notes. For me, Evernote serves as a sort of junk drawer. Anything that I might want to refer back to one day, but doesn’t really have a place in my filing system, goes into Evernote. The basic version of Evernote is free; however, a premium subscription offers some very useful benefits. Most important to me is the ability to search for text inside documents. If I take a picture of some handwritten notes, Evernote can “read” them and make them searchable! You also get more space for your notes, and other features like searching for related notes, and saving notebooks offline.

Justin — The Sketchnote Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Visual Note Taking, by Mike Rohde

As a graduate student, I can honestly say that I’ve taken hundreds of pages of notes over the course of my lifetime. However, no book has singlehandedly changed the way I take notes as much as this book. The Sketchnote Handbook is a guide to sketchnoting and offers a new and exciting way to take more visual notes as a way to increase understanding and retention during lectures, conferences, and presentations. The book itself is a piece of art and the author offers ideas and tips on taking more effective notes with more of an artistic flair. If you know a student who is even a little bit artistically/visually inclined, this is a must have in the personal library.

Michelle — Good briefcase/bag

Meetings and conferences are a big part of the grad school experience, and provide great opportunities to learn and network. However, grad school budgets don’t often include room for fancy clothes and accessories that help keep us looking our most professional. Instead, we usually end up carting the necessary laptops, notebooks, hard drives, dayplanners, etc. to our professional encounters in scrubby backpacks or giveaway tote bags. A classy, catch-all briefcase or bag is not an item most grad students might prioritize over, say, rent or the utilities bill—but it is probably one that would be greatly appreciated at that big conference or that important meeting!

What else would you suggest a grad student add to his or her holiday wish list? Add your ideas below!

[Image by Pixaby user blickpixel and used under the Creative Commons license.]

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