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Monday, July 28, 2014

Column: Time to break the ice

While they may seem corny and unnecessary, freshman ice-breakers are extremely helpful

July 8, 2014

The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.

With Summer Welcome in full swing and the fall semester fast approaching, I can’t help but remember my first encounters with Mizzou.

I woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for Summer Welcome, met my leader and group, and then we played ice-breaking games. When I reported for marching band camp in mid-August, I met my section leaders and fellow trombonists, and then we played ice-breaking games. On the first day of class, I went to my 8 a.m., introduced myself, and said an interesting fact about myself. Then I went to my 11 a.m., introduced myself, and said the same interesting fact about myself. Then I went to my FIG class at noon where we played an ice-breaking game.

Although I was skeptical at first, I will forever be grateful for these ice-breaking games. Here I was, an 18-year-old kid who thought he knew how to make friends, being proven wrong by ice-breaking games. Up until this point in my life, I had always relied on bonding with others over similar interests or ideas to make friends. Although it was a somewhat effective process, it was time-consuming and emotionally exhausting to become genuinely interested and invested in another person. But I never thought there would be a better way to attain friendship.

That is, until I came to Summer Welcome. We were all sitting down in the grass, and I thought to myself, “It is going to take forever to learn everyone’s name and interests. I’ll probably have to participate in two (or maybe even three) activities with each of them before I really get to know them.”

Little did I know, my life was about to be changed forever.

My leader addressed us: “Ok, let’s go around the circle and say our names, where we’re from, and an interesting fact about ourselves.”

“My name is Cassie, I’m from Chicago, and I was a cheerleader in high school,” the first girl replied.

“She seems really cool. I better align myself with her,” I thought to myself.

“Hi, my name is Jake, I’m from Kansas City, and I have read every Game of Thrones book.” the next kid said.

“Oh wow—what a nerd! Ha, never talking to that kid again,” I silently decided.

“My name is Allie, I’m from here in Columbia, and I am a runner,” the next girl stated.

“Hmm… she looks like she is in pretty good shape. I probably shouldn’t hang out with her; I don’t want her judging me for my soft, fleshy physique,” I decided.

And then I realized how much time I had saved getting to know these three people. Normally, I would have wasted time asking them questions like, “What kind of music do you like?” or “Who is your favorite superhero and why is it Batman?” But now, I didn’t have to. Finally, I was presented with a streamlined approach to friendship.

Throughout the first month of college, it seemed like I played a new ice-breaking game every day. My favorite game that I played was in FIG class: Two Truths and a Lie. Never before had I thought to try and make friends based off of my ability to tell if someone was lying! What an ingenious idea!

I have these ice-breaking games to thank for almost all of the friends I have made in college. If I have one piece of advice for incoming freshmen, it is this: Take the ice-breaking games very seriously. If you do well in them, you will be rewarded with friends, but if you do poorly, you will have a tough time in college. No pressure.

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