Holiday Talk: A Discussion We May Fear

He Said: Anthony Mattariello

Christmas is right around the corner and that means there’s one certainty for all students. It means we’re all going to get to go home for a couple of weeks.

Christmas at home brings many things back into the lives of students that we don’t get here at school.

For example, eating a fresh and delicious home cooked meal, being able to lounge around with little to no worries and being able to just hang out with my family.

However, there are some downsides to coming home after such a long time of being away. Our families haven’t seen us in a few months, and there is no doubt they missed us and want to catch up on everything.

This means that you have to be dragged through the same longwinded conversation with every family member you see. Since the holiday means big family gatherings, you’ll have gone through the conversation enough times to be worthy of an Oscar.

Honestly I think that after the holidays are over every student that’s gone home from college should all have an awards dinner. We can go through each and every conversation, and give out awards for the best ones.

Don’t get me wrong, I love every one of my family members and very much enjoy their company.

However, being asked what I plan on doing with myself after college, or telling me how hard it’s going to be to set myself up and start paying off my college debt is pretty disheartening.

I mean I feel as though I’m at some horrible job interview for a job that either doesn’t exist or that I’m never going to get.

Now some of you might be thinking that there’s no reason to have such conversations because we were just home for Thanksgiving and we would’ve already been caught up on everything.

Well, I beg to differ. I come from a half Irish and half Italian family, which means way too much family for our own good and a lot of old relatives with memories that pretty much consist of wet sponge.

Plus, there are two major holidays coming up. That results in me seeing double the amount of family I did for Thanksgiving, and let’s not forget about close family friends as well.

Like I said before, I love my family to death, but constantly getting asked the same questions isn’t my ideal family gathering.

The same questions like: How are all of your classes? Do you have a favorite professor? Did you get any internships? What do you even do with your major? How’s rugby? What even is rugby? Is it like football?

Again I reiterate, I love to spend time with my family but sometimes my head hurts talking to them during the holidays.

Of course this year is going to be much bigger in terms of what we’re going to talk about because of a certain something that happened this year.

I started seriously dating a girl this semester so I could only imagine how long I’ll be talking about her over break. (That is right ladies, I’m taken.)

Now, for the sake of our relationship I’m just going to say that I LOVE talking about my girlfriend.

With that being said, I’m sure my very nosey family will be busy stalking her Facebook and asking me a million questions about her.

Although, on the brighter side, that might distract them from asking the usual questions from the past three years. Who knew a girlfriend could be so beneficial?

She Said: Giovanna Gatto

Congratulations, you have officially made it to the end of the semester, the finish line of every college students regular academic life.

Picture this, you have packed your life into a duffle bag and backpack. It is time to say your, “see ya next years,” to all of your friends and start planning your Netflix and nap schedule.

Now you are officially home! As your front door opens, the smell of warm hugs and hazelnut seep from your kitchen as you see your mom making seasonal cookies.

You get scolded when you try snagging a cookie before the annual party, then it hits you. The holidays are a time for gathering people but they are also a time for awkward conversations and uncomfortable eye contact. This generally can be classified as small talk but during holiday conversation, the pinnacle of small talk is reached. Not only are you catching up from a list of robotic, predictable questions. But now thanks to the season, these questions are everything every college student never wants to be asked. Everything from your GPA to your life plan for the next ten years.

Now, I am sure it is nice to catch up and chat with people that you have not seen in awhile. And hey maybe you made dean’s list this year or just had an awesome internship. In fact, you could be looking forward to this chatter.

Yet, if you are like myself, this is the worst time of the year.  Family members and friends seem to find interest in things that have not changed in your life and probably will not change for a long time. So to answer a couple of those questions, I have provided a few answers that I find myself turning to every year.

No I do not know where my life is going.

Yes, I am still a media major.

Yes, I will keep you in mind if I ever make a movie.

No, I am still not 21.

And yes, this is my natural hair.

Now as smooth and rehearsed as these responses may seem, they actually take a lot of effort. In fact, I have developed a science so that I can get the least out of these painful holiday conversations.

When responding, ensure that you smile and insert a laugh in between all the breaths that you choose to take. That being said, only laugh when you find yourself avoiding the continuation of the conversation. Additional laughter can be mistaken as a desire to further the conversation. Thus, if someone asks you a follow-up question that you are not prepared for, ask them a question in response.  Example: Question: “Are you dating someone?” Response: “Where is the bathroom again?” Now physical avoidance is always an easy way out. But if you want the person to feel like they do not need to ask you anymore questions, it is always smart to end on a question that makes the person feel like they do not need to continue the conversation when you return.

In the end, everyone has family members that they only see during the holidays. Like that aunt that smells like falafel and always eats all of the butter. Or that cousin that just won the noble peace prize and is a volunteer firefighter. Well, whether you have random seasonal family members or if it is just you and your mom hanging out and singing Christmas carols; we can all join together in the dreadful holiday conversations.

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