UPDATE: *Deep Sigh* My sons are now 30 and 35 and putting their college educations to good use by working hard in the professions of sales and writing. I can hardly believe it but my grandson will be in college in 5 years! You just know that this Nana will continue the tradition of sending him off to higher education with his own College Survival Kit!
My eldest son, Davide (R), is 26 and graduated from Penn State University a few years ago. His younger brother Gianluca (L) is 21 and starting his senior year at Penn State next week. Both boys have been using essential oils as part of their college experience (as if they had a choice).
I sent them each to college with bags of essential oils and aromatherapy helpers that were specific to their personal needs as well as some generic “just-in-case” blends.
Davide has a tendency toward sinus infections when overtired, so I made sure to pack a warm steam inhaler and bottles of Tea Tree his freshman year. I also included a bottle of the wonderfully antiseptic Lemongrass for him to clean his dorm room, which happens to be one of his favorite essential oils. I though he might find the aroma a comforting reminder of home.
Gianluca doesn’t have sinus issues, but he does share an apartment so I make sure his place is always supplied with bottles of liquid castile soap with essential oils for the shower, spray bottles with essential oils to wipe down surfaces and mist in the air. I still haven’t figured out a “no-partying-you’re-in-college-to-study” blend!
A Wonderful Going-Away-to-College Gift!
Two years ago my cousin had a College Send Off party for her daughter. I made an Aromatherapy College Survival Kit as my gift to her, which you can see in the photographs below. I included single note oils like Lavender, Tea Tree and Sweet Orange, and made blends that would cover issues that college life brings. I also included goodies like a body butter, lip balm and natural deodorant. I put it all in a travel bag with a printed instruction sheet and added a diffuser for her dorm room. I made cute labels and top dots for the bottles. You can buy both dot labels and weatherproof labels at www.OnlineLabels.com
Below is a list of my personal recommendations for a versatile
Aromatherapy College Survival Kit
(Note: Blends should be made at a 2% to 5% dilution and mixed in Jojoba Oil to help keep the shelf life. 1% = 5-6 drops eo to 1 oz jojoba).
Inflammation/Bruise/Pain Relief Blend: Suggested oils: Helichrysum, Sweet Orange, German Chamomile and Lavender. For swelling, pain and inflammation from too many hours on the computer, or to address a minor injury until they can get to the student medical center.
Stress Headache Relief Blend: Suggested oils: Peppermint, Frankincense, Basil, Lavender. These are all great oils to inhale during breaks from long hours of study, too much reading, noise in the dorm, general stress, hangover (I’m a realist).
Muscle Pain Blend: Suggested oils: Birch, Ginger, Black Pepper, Marjoram. For sore muscles from physical education courses, college sports or even long walks and bike rides across campus to class.
Sinus & Allergy Congestion Relief Blend: Suggested Oils: Peppermint, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Lavender, Lemon. These oils will create a cooling, uplifting blend that will also help clear the mind while studying . Good to inhale for Fall/Spring seasonal allergies and congestion.
PMS Balance Blend: Suggested Oils: Clary Sage, Geranium, Roman Chamomile, Lavender, Sweet Orange, Cypress: There’s nothing worse than having your period, feeling crampy and moody and having Mom a hundred miles away. The oils I’ve recommended are all good for hormone balance, calming the nerves, and antispasmodic for cramping. I’d make a strong blend at 5% (25 drops:1 oz carrier) to be rubbed into the abdomen and lower back. Even just smelling this blend will help her feel more relaxed.
Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) No college student should leave home without this essential oil! Lavender has an outstanding balancing and calming effect on the CNS (central nervous system) so it’s great for the new stresses they’ll be facing, and may even be a comfort in times homesickness. Lavender can be inhaled for headache, anxiety, insomnia. It brings quick pain relief and healing for burns. For sleep, sprinkle a few drops on your pillowcase.
Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) This is another don’t-leave-home-without-it oil. College life can be a great way to pass germs around and this oil is a powerful antiseptic and one of the best for preventing and healing infection. It has a strong affinity with the respiratory system and it will help fight colds, flu and alleviates sore throats, bronchitis, and sinus issues. Shared showers are a great place to pick up toenail fungus and athletes foot; Tea Tree will kill both. Great to use in a diffuser for killing airborne bacteria or steam inhalation for sinus infection.
Citrus Oils For Uplifing Spirits (Orange/Lemon/Lime/Grapefruit/Bergamot)
The fresh, uplifting citrus oils are all very cheering – send along several if your student is prone to anxiety, worry and over-seriousness. They are especially great to diffuse with Lavender on those gray fall or winter days or during a bout of homesick blues. They are nice in the morning with a bit of Peppermint to help your student wake up and get moving.
Grounding Oils for Overwhelm. Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana) or Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides) are both great for combating overwhelm and quieting the mind while soothing and grounding the nervous system.
An Essential Oil Diffuser: Diffusion is the process of dispersing essential oils into the air for their aromatic and antibacterial effects. They can be used to make a dorm room smell better, help your student sleep/wake up and are great to kill airborne bacteria in close quarters when someone is sick. (You can read more about diffusers here).
The choice you make for your student will depend upon what you think they will actually use and what is allowed in their living quarters. Any diffuser that has soft lighting and gives a cool soothing mist is perfect for a dorm room.
Blank Inhalers: (Here’s a blog post on How to Make a Nasal Inhaler)
These are fun and really practical for a busy, on-the-go college student. You can make them an inhaler for sinus congestion, headache, staying awak, anxiety, insomnia, stress relief. They can take their inhaler on the airplane, throw in their backpack or purse and use them anywhere…even in class. You can make unique and personal inhaler blends for your student or have a “bonding day”before they leave and make them together. Send blank ones along in case they want to make one while in school.
Other Supplies to Consider for your College Survival Kit
- Organic Castile Liquid Soap and Organic Liquid Body Wash: Add the essential oils they like best to make a hand soap or body wash. This will be another way of getting essential oils into their system, keeping them healthy.
- 2 oz Spray Bottle with Natural Hand Saniziter: Again, germs are part of college life so remind to use this natural hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available. Suggested oils: Lavender, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Clove, Lavender. 2% blend (20 drops to 1 oz organic Aloe Vera Gel).
2 oz Spray Bottles (Empty): Empty spray bottles are useful as they can create their own air freshener, carpet freshener, kitchen/bathroom air spray, pillow spray at bedtime. Add 20 drops total of essential oil(s) and fill with water. Shake well before using.
I recorded an episode of the Aromatic Wisdom Podcast
on this topic if you prefer to learn by listening!