Just Sayin’: The case for better small talk

By: Maggie Fipps

College students are lazy. 

Yes, that was a ploy to get you to keep reading. Sorry, not sorry. 

College students are not lazy in the stereotypical, lay-around-on-the-couch-eating-nothing-but-junk-food-way, although the number of episodes of Gilmore Girls I watched this weekend is a little alarming.

They are lazy in their small talk. 

Just think about the times you met someone new this semester. Whether you are a freshman or a senior, the first question is always the same:

“What is your major?”

“What year are you?”

“What do you plan to do after college?”

I am sick of it. Not just because I am tired of fielding a rotation of the same three to five answers from people:

“Oh wow, I’ve never met a journalism major!”

“Oh, we need more Christian journalists!”

Or my personal favorite, the ever-anxiety-inducing:

“So, what are you planning to do with that?”

I am sick of it because of what it says about our mindset. 

The questions we ask others say a lot about what we are focused on. The distant drumbeat of graduation, a summer internship, and that exam are the constant soundtrack of our academic lives. We begin to believe that our degree is ultimate, our first job out of college defines our future, and we suddenly find ourselves asking the same questions to every new person we meet. 

Sure, asking someone what their major is may be a great way to find out their passions or desires, but these questions are even better: 

“What does that tattoo mean?”

“What song are you listening to on repeat right now?”

“What is the worst date you have ever been on?”

“What are you most looking forward to this semester?”

So trust me, you can stalk their LinkedIn page later, but first, ask them a real question. 

Maggie Fipps is a junior Journalism student and the Editor in Chief of Cedars. She enjoys playing the piano and thrifting, and you may spot her around campus sporting Packers gear head to toe.

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