Upon arriving back to school after a long and glorious summer in years past, I’ve found that, despite the fact that everybody did something different over the summer and they should all have exciting stories to tell upon reunion, there are really only types of first day of school reunion conversations. For example:
- “I did nothing except eat my pillow and weep tears of regret for my lost unicorn.”
- “I travelled to over one hundred foreign countries, studied at seven prestigious universities, and enrolled in a dozen internships.”
- “I played Zombie Farm on my IPhone.”
- “I became a crazed serial killer and got sent to Juvie twice.”
Of course, the only acceptable response to any of these comments is something to the effect of, “Oh. That’s nice.” And except for the friends you hung out with over the summer, you find yourself wondering how exactly you ever learned to associate with these freaks.
Essentially, you have to resort to cheesy “icebreaker” type conversation starters, as if you had never met any of these people. You probably have already done this a few hundred times with that weird kid who sits next to you in homeroom, that one that never writes his cursive H correctly.
So, after all, it does seem that high school can prepare you for college and the real world. The skills learned on first days of school are, in fact, applicable to adult life. Ironically, despite the general consensus that you learn nothing on the first day and everything on subsequent days, it seems quite the opposite.
Due to this revelation, I will now provide you with my personal favorite icebreaker games, conversations, and starters. Because apparently, that’s all we’re learning in our four years of enrollment.
For a classroom of people, such as homeroom or one of those touchy-feely classes, like Life Skills, or orientation groups:
- Have everyone introduce themselves and share a piece of embarrassing and irrelevant personal information, such as their Halloween costume at age three. This will cause lots of muttering/foot shuffling. It is hysterical.
- The teacher/leader invents a complicated system for some basic essential part of class, like turning in papers, answering questions, or standing up for any reason. Students ask lots of questions about the system. Thirty seconds before the bell rings, the teacher, exasperated, abolished the system. Class dismissed.
- Everyone joins hands in a convoluted fashion, and then spends half an hour attempting to untangle themselves, all the while stepping on each others’ toes, getting AWKWARD and way too personal views of each other, and arguing. Best for immature people or middle schoolers; worst for bossy people/violinists.
For meeting someone you don’t know/have forgotten existed (note: I have heard all of these either used in real life, or suggested for use by a teacher):
- “Hi, my name is ____. I like piñatas. Do you?”
- “Hey, weren’t you in, like, my gym class last year or something lame?”
- “I hate this. This sucks. I hate life. Life sucks too. Can we go home now?”
- “Hello, my name is _____. I play soccer and dance and I’m in seven AP classes and I got a perfect score on the PSAT and I won six awards for community service last year… *five minutes later* “So, what do you like to do?”
All in all, meeting new people and doing so in style is a critical part of real life. So thank you, high school. Thank you for the hours of torturous awkwardness you regularly subject us to. Thank you for housing so many strange, strange people. And, most importantly, thank you for giving us such a wonderful picture of college life.