Many people in their early twenties lament the end of their college years—it’s the end of food on hand at any hour (and no dishes to do afterward!), amazing friends and community within a short radius, team spirit and sports games, and let’s not forget the parties! I’ve been out of school for almost a year and half now and it’s not the late-night french fries or crazy parties I miss—it’s learning.

In the “real world” we are in charge of our own learning. We learn by reading the newspapers, talking to colleagues, or tackling a new project at work, but it’s not quite the same as that classroom environment. I have been known to take an interests in everything from exercise and team sports, to playing and listening to music, to arts and crafts. This year, the best gift that I can imagine is one that keeps giving in lasting and fulfilling ways.  So, to all of you last minute gift-givers out there, I suggest the following.

A Knitting Class: No, I am not an old lady—knitting is cool. I’ve knit hats before but it’s time to tackle a sweater. Specifically, I’d like to take a class offered at A Good Yarn, a locally run yarn shop in Brookline Village, where we make the Stilwell Sweater featured on the Brooklyn Tweed blog. How awesome would it be to wear a piece of clothing you made yourself?!

An All Inclusive Gym Membership: I played lacrosse in college so I’m used to running and lifting but I’d like to branch out in 2011. I’d like to be able to try Bikram Yoga, Body Combat™, or find someone to train with for the upcoming Covered Bridges Half Marathon on June 5th (signed up last week, yikes!). I don’t have a particular gym in mind but I’d like to think a magical one exists where I can do all of these things.

A Gift Certificate to the Brookline Booksmith: It’s amazing how much time you have after college to read—and I mean to read what you choose to read. I have a lengthy list of books that I’d like to read and the lovely people at the Booksmith are always willing to recommend more. Next on my list is a recommendation from Kim Foley MacKinnon, Without Reservations: The Travels of an Independent Woman.

A Cooking Class: I never had much of an interest in cooking when I was growing up, aside from the occasional baking project for a school bake fair, and in college there was no need (or time) to cook. Now that I am responsible for my own sustenance I wish I had a little guidance. Perhaps, a class at Barbara Lynch’s demonstration kitchen, Stir.

And last…

A Parking Space: This one has nothing to do with learning but if you’ve ever tried to find parking in Allston after 6:30pm you’ll understand. I hate to think of how many hours I’ve spent circling my neighborhood looking for a place to put my boat of a car where it will be safe from tow trucks and street cleaning.