The beginning of a new semester is different for everyone, some people start it off smooth, others have a bumpy road ahead of them. There is one thing that stands in everyone’s path at the beginning of a new semester though, the icebreaker.
The icebreaker is a method used by professors or other staff to get students to introduce themselves. Icebreakers often involve some sort of activity that is supposed to make the process fun, usually not living up to that expectation. In fact, it seems that most of the time icebreakers make students more nervous on the first day of class than if they just had to introduce themselves in an ordinary manner.
While many icebreakers can be an unpleasant experience for students to go through, sometimes they can also seem odd. There is one method of icebreaking in which students tell each other what they would take to a deserted island as a way to help introduce themselves. Although, that can lead to having to think of whatever item is going to be taken, on top of, how you’re going to introduce yourself which can double the stress.
Other somewhat unconventional icebreakers include two truths and a lie, scavenger hunts, even games of hot potato in which whoever gets the “potato” has to introduce and provide a fact about themselves.
Faculty and staff that actually have to use icebreakers to get to know students feel different about the experience. To them, icebreakers are a great tool when it comes to getting to know a large number of people.
“I think they are a good way to get people out of their shells,” said Olivia Adams, an SSA in Ward Hall and former RA, “being an RA I found it helped my residents to get to know me and welcome an open communication.”
Although she has used ice breakers in order to get to know students, Adams has still had her own fair share of odd experiences with them.
“An RA found these “conversation sticks” and used them during a meeting. They were very specific and touched on sensitive topics that aren’t really talked about or brought up when the relationship is still new,” said Adams, “some of them included “Do you believe in god?” “Are you afraid of death?,” and “Do you want kids?”
The ice breaker probably is not going to be phased out of student lives any time soon, in fact, it will most likely be around long after current students have graduated and moved on with their lives. Perhaps the one thing students, both current and future, can hope for is that some of the activities used in ice breakers become a little less odd and a little more comfortable.