By Mariana Schuetze
If you’re returning to Ryerson in-person this fall, COVID-19 may seem like old news—but keep in mind the Delta variant is just as excited as you to get back on campus. Still, you’re probably sick of talking about the pandemic, so here are a few non-COVID-19 related icebreakers in case you don’t remember how to socialize.
Plans for the future
This reliable conversation starter could lead into conversations about your career paths—famously the least anxiety-inducing subject ever. But think of the potential LinkedIn connections; it may even lead to a job opportunity! Or you can discuss all the crazy places you’d like to visit once the pandemic is over, like your best friend’s sick basement that you haven’t seen since 2019. Or you could share your plans for the weekend. Who knows? You may even end this conversation with a networking date—and you can take them to your best friend’s basement!
Share some funny stories about all your awkward life moments so you all bond over a good laugh. Perhaps you can tell them about that time in the fourth grade when you went on a field trip and bit your brother’s arm on purpose because he wouldn’t give you his digital camera and then you were grounded by the teachers and had to stay on the bus for the whole trip and then you fell asleep and your friends drew a mustache on your face and everyone who was cool enough to have an iPhone in the fourth grade posted a photo of you on their Instagram. Or maybe that’s too specific.
Why not pull out a copy of this year’s IPCC report?
Your showering habits
After such a long time staying at home, our shower routines have definitely changed. Talking about personal hygiene is an interesting way to get to know each other and may even lead to a heated debate. Do you shower at night? In the morning? How many times a day? Or a week? Do you use 3-in-1 shampoo? Does your pet join you? Is there a difference between showering with a dog versus showering with a hamster? Do you like showering? Perhaps, you and your new besties can join the recent celebrity showering debacle and discuss whether you should only throw children in the bath when you can see stink lines wafting off them. That sounds fun… right?
Ways to save the world
Why not pull out a copy of this year’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report and explain how human influence has warmed up the Earth at an unprecedented rate and that we’ll all probably combust before we even find a job in our degree field? Then you can all just cry yourselves to sleep together.
Discuss your favourite memes
Memes are always a fun way to spice up a conversation and to know if your peer is in tune with the cultural zeitgeist. It’s also a good way to move on from that weird niche joke you blurted out which no one got. But maybe don’t bring up the Karen meme when everyone was talking about their mother’s names (yes, some of them will inevitably be named Karen). If you’re feeling confident, you can even show your new pals those TikToks you did during the darkest days of quarantine. Now you can judge everyone’s personalities based on their audio choices and decide who to keep in your inner circle.
Crushes on Disney and Pixar animated characters
If you already have a crush on one of your classmates and want to ask them out, open the conversation by talking about your fictional crushes—and what better place to start than animated characters? Let’s be real: they have a confusingly hot aura about them. And since they’re animated and behave like human beings, there’s nothing wrong with being attracted to animals, toys and monsters, right? Bring up the characters that were responsible for your sexual awakening and your thing for bad boys (Scar from The Lion King), or the ones that you surprisingly find very attractive (Sully from Monsters, Inc.) and even the character that made you start questioning your sexuality at a very young age (Megara from Hercules). Finally, bring it home with the hottest animated character there ever was: Nick Wilde, the fox from Zootopia. Now you and your new friend are already on the subject of dating hot people/animals, ask them out on a date to watch a few of these movies together (maybe in your friend’s basement???).
Congratulations, you’re now fully equipped with several ways to start a conversation with a classmate you’re meeting in-person for the first time! Pat yourself on the back; you’ve just made a new friend.
Disclaimer: The Eyeopener is not responsible for any diseases, heartbreaks or fatalities that may result from using these tips.