Icebreakers: First impressions

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“Welcome class. Let’s start the semester off by getting to know your classmates a little better.” Queue the scary music…bum…bum…buuuummmmm!

In all actuality, “get to know you” questions could be a lot of fun. However, most of the time it ends up with 30 people telling each other their favorite color (light blue) or a room filled with awkward silence as people contemplate their answers.

It is even worse if your last name is at the beginning of the alphabet because you don’t get enough time to think up a quirky but intelligent answer. I always think of the best answer after class has ended so I don’t think it would matter if my last name started with a “Z.”

There’s a lot riding on your answer. This is how people are supposed to get to know you and remember you for the rest of the semester. You don’t want to be the kid who replies “ten” when asked for the biggest number he can think of.

So, this year, I’ve decided to get a head start on my responses for those dreaded “get to know you” questions, starting with my all-time favorite – two truths and a lie.

I am fluent in French, I wrote a gossip column in Washington, D.C. and my husband and I plan on moving to Denver when I finish my degree. The lie is that I am fluent in French. I took five years of French but can’t speak a lick.

My least favorite question concerns a person’s musical preference. My problem is not with the question but with the two most common answers. It seems to me that when people are asked what their favorite type of music is, most people either say, “Oh, I like a little bit of everything,” or “It depends on the mood I’m in.”

Both of these answers may be true, as is the case with me, but they don’t help anyone get to know you. The question isn’t what you listen to but what you prefer to listen to most of the time. Therefore, although I like country, pop and rap, I prefer to listen to hard or classic rock the most.

I’m a big music fan, so most of the questions I like to answer are also the hardest. Questions like, if you could see any musician perform live, dead or alive, who would it be? There are just so many greats to choose from that I have to name at least three to feel as though my classmates might get a better picture of me. Credence Clearwater Revival, the Doors (at the beginning of Morrison’s downfall) and the Beatles (the LSD days) are for sure at the top of my list.

Then there are those questions that are pretty boring but actually help you find classmates that have some of the basics in common with you. However, I would like to tweak them a little bit to make them a little more interesting.

Instead of just asking where someone is from, also ask where they want to go. I’m from Springfield, born and raised, but I’d love to live in the French countryside. Instead of asking if someone has any siblings, ask them to describe their family a little. My family is so much more interesting than the fact that I’m an only child. My husband and I have five dogs and a cat that we consider our kids.

Hopefully, you’ve gotten to know me a little better from my answers. Now, I’d like to get to know you. Feel free to email your answers to these questions to jfruc2@uis.edu or like the Journal on Facebook and leave your answers there.

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