Graduation Gift?

Graduation is coming up soon, and I'm not sure what I should ask for (if anything) from my family. I am the only one in my family that has graduated college, so maybe I could ask for something for a graduation gift, but I don't know what. I don't want a party, because it doesn't seem worth the money to throw a party. My family doesn't have a lot, so I have to keep it relatively simple.

One option is a small trip with my parents and I. It would have to be somewhere we could drive to, and have to keep costs down. I have a few places I'd like to go, but I don't really think my parents would enjoy it. They don't enjoy different cultures or new places, and are very much homebodies, so I would feel bad asking for them to pay for a trip and take off work to go somewhere they don't want to be.

Another option is a tattoo of my dog. She's 13 and getting up there in age, so I want to get a tattoo to commemorate her, preferably before she passes. A third option would be something fun, like a video game system or a desktop computer. A forth option would be not to ask for a gift, just ask them to pay for any moving expenses I may have when I move out of my current apartment. But it feels a little odd not to have anything to celebrate my graduation after six years of working hard.

Which class should I take?

Next semester is my last semester! All of the classes I need in order to graduate will only be 12 credit hours; I'm used to taking 15, and if I add another class it will be free. I'm thinking about taking either a graphic novel class or a technical writing class. I already know the professor who teaches the graphic novel course - she's a great person, and I would have a lot of fun attending her class. The technical writing course is online and I don't know the professor, but it would be much more useful to my job prospects. The graphic novel course would be more fun and artsy, but the technical writing course would be really useful.

But maybe I shouldn't try to take an extra class just because it's free? I do have my thesis to write next semester, as well as my own bills, groceries, and a little dog to care for. I could put extra effort into everything else in my life - including applying for jobs and preparing to move - if I have some extra time. Should I take that extra class?

What to do after graduation

I'm graduating with my Bachelor's degree very soon, and I'm pretty nervous about what happens when I'm pushed out of the academia nest.

My parents want me to move back with them so that I can save money, but I see it as a horrible idea. We clash horribly, fight, and they kicked me out after I graduated high school (we stopped speaking for over a year and I was semi-homeless) because we couldn't live in the same house. Even though our relationship has gotten better recently, I don't want to become dependent again and not have the option of easily leaving if things get heated. Plus, they live out in the middle of nowhere in an Amish town. I'm going to struggle to find a career-oriented job if I move out in the middle of nowhere.

Another option is for me to start applying for Grad school. I want to get my Master's, but I'm a little nervous about going back to school right away when I've been in school for 5+ years. I'm pretty burnt out of academia right now. And I'm not sure I can afford it, unless it's a fully-funded program.

Final option is to go where the money is. Start applying for jobs and go where I get the best offer - hoping that I will be able to afford living alone in a new city. I've never worked a full-time job before, so I don't know what to expect. It's all a bit scary, and I'm trying to make the best choice.

On the Outside Looking in

I transferred to my current university over three years ago, but it feels like I haven't made any meaningful friendships. I've been in organizations, I've gone to events off-campus, but I have no friendships that are beyond the level of "good-acquaintance." I even held officer positions in one organization, and most of the people in that organization are also in my major/my classes. It should be a perfect recipe for friendship, but it's not.

Some of the people I've known for all three years, who are in my organization, but they've all buddied up without me. When I have them in classes, they walk out together without saying anything to me. They go out to eat and don't invite me. I give them school supplies when they run out, give them snacks, buy them lunch, and offer to give them rides. Sometimes they take me up on it, but then nothing changes. I still don't get invited to anything. I'm still on the outside looking in.

Are my expectations too high? Is it a lost cause because they're all girls and I'm the only guy? My program is small and is 90% girls, but it shouldn't matter if they're girls. I had plenty of girl friends before I transferred, so it doesn't matter to me what gender they are, but maybe it matters to them. I graduate in 8 months - should I just give up the friend search? After three years, it's getting kind of sad and tiring to wonder what I'm doing wrong or what I could be doing better.