Name, age, hometown, fun fact: Icebreaker benefits outweigh cons

By Avery Ballmann | Staff Writer

I am tired of hearing the moans and groans of syllabus week. It’s the calm before the storm, and we need all the resources we can get. This includes getting to know our classmates. Some people may despise icebreaker questions, but I actually enjoy them because it helps me meet the people I’m going to be with all semester.

Even the most simple questions, such as where a student is from and their major, can help me relate to my classmates in some way. Whether it’s because I know someone in their same major, or I’ve visited where they’re from. Even if I don’t relate in any way, it’s a segue for me to learn more about something I don’t know.

There is value in forming connections because when you’re in the middle of the semester struggling on an assignment or missing a day of class, you’re going to wish you remembered your desk neighbor’s name.

Another aspect I enjoy about icebreakers is it’s the only time set aside for pure curiosity and knowledge about one another in class. Past syllabus week, the class focuses on its curriculum, and it’s hard to develop friendships in the middle of a lecture. To this day, I still remember the friends I made in my classes and even though we don’t hangout, I still enjoy our catch-ups when we see each other in person.

My favorite icebreaker is naming our favorite restaurants in Waco. It’s interesting for me to hear what people will say since I’m from here, so I love to give advice or praise them if they have knowledge of the local joints.

Another question I enjoy is to hear why students take this certain class. It helps narrow down who is here and why. For my Spanish class the common answer is usually because it’s required and none of us really want to be there. I have formed many study buddies from this inquiry, and I have taken my three semesters of Spanish with the same people.

Icebreakers help create a bond that we lack after going to college. In high school, I knew most everyone in my grade and frequented the same classes with them. Now, being in college, our class size is in the thousands. It can be hard to form connections when you feel like a number.

I cherish my class friends now more than I ever did because they really do help in a pinch. When you run into a confusing and difficult professor, you and your new class friend can create an email or talk to them in person. The main benefit is that you don’t feel alone.

I know the actual nature of icebreakers can be a little awkward, everyone is rehearsing what to say in their head and you want to sound cool, but not too cool.

My advice is to, of course, be yourself but also pick an answer that stands out. Throw an extra fact or story in there because it will make the experience less scary. Also, drag this moment out. Like I said, you won’t get an opportunity to have undivided attention with the class like this again.

If you missed your opportunity during syllabus week, don’t worry. It’s still early.

Get to class a bit before and ask the name of who you’re sitting next to. You can even go as far as asking for socials or a phone number so you can have a resource when you need it.

If you can remember anything your neighbor said during the icebreaker, use that to start the conversation, such as, ‘You’re a political science major right?’

I promise if you make connections and keep breaking the ice with your classmates your class will be much more enjoyable and your life will be easier.