christmas tree

Surviving Your Awkward Family Get-Together This Holiday Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

As the semester wraps up, you start dreaming about the long-awaited holiday break. You can finally relax, watch T.V., eat home-cooked meals, and not worry about homework for an entire month! You can also spend some quality time with your friends and family, which can be fun.

Unless someone asks you about anything school-related.

Cue the anxiety, fear, and stress. You start to wonder, “How can I answer without bursting into a puddle of tears?” Here’s a list of common questions and how you can respond:

  1. How’s school going?

You may dread this question because you don’t want to think about your grades or your crazy schedule next semester. But don’t be afraid! You can briefly mention classes, but try to talk more about your extracurricular activities and any exciting opportunities. This answers the question without reliving the horror of finals week!   

  1. What’s your major again? What are you planning to do with that degree?

There’s always one relative who asks this at every family gathering. Instead of getting defensive or changing the subject, take some time to teach them! Explain to them (in layman’s terms) what you’re studying, why you chose that field, and where you think it will take you. Let them see the passion in your eyes and the fire in your heart as you speak. Chances are they’ll begin to understand why that field is right for you, which is all that really matters.

  1. What are your plans after graduation?

Grad school, med school, military, traveling, taking a year off, working, the possibilities are endless! It’s normal to feel overwhelmed. You don’t have to pick one path right then and there. Simply smile and say, “I’m weighing my options.” If they press further, talk about which options interest you and why.

  1. Are you dating anyone?

For those of us who are single, this question can be extra difficult during the holidays. Instead of appeasing your feelings of loneliness with chocolate truffles and sugar cookies, take a moment to look around. You’re surrounded by people who love you and care about you. Be thankful for the gift of family, no matter how much they drive you crazy. “Not at the moment, but I have all of you to keep me company!” is one possible response.

Most people ask these questions because they are trying to make small talk or are genuinely curious, not because they want to irritate you. Be honest and appreciate their effort to get to know you better. If the answer to some of these questions is, “I don’t know”, then say that.

You don’t need all of the answers right now. College is a time of self-discovery and growth, whether it’s your first semester or your last. You’re still figuring out life, and that’s okay! So be confident in your responses, enjoy time with your family, and have yourself a merry little Christmas 🙂



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