If you clicked on this, you're probably why or how I got this monitor for free. Because usually when you hear college students talking about free stuff, they're talking about free school-branded t-shirts, lanyards, maybe a pop socket, but that's about it. It's often a symbiotic relationship, where the college gets free advertising and the student gets a free $5 t-shirt. That was something I expected coming into college, which is why I was especially shocked when the school gave me, not a t-shirt, but a 27-inch monitor. Yeah.
At the end of the day, what I'm trying to say is this. A lot of my high school friends, especially those at large state schools, complain that the schools don't care about undergraduates. At those large schools, even if they can find research opportunities, it's often just doing grunt work and they rarely ever see the PI. I doubt they can even imagine being lucky enough to have a PI that's so invested in you and what you have to contribute that they'll just buy you stuff. Or even as a student employee, I feel so lucky to have a boss kind enough to not only be cognisant of when our finals are, but to consider that we may be feeling stressed out and show us a little token of appreciation that makes these times just a little more bearable.