Discourse / Editorials / January 20, 2016

Top 10 Uncomfortable Questions You Get Over Break (And how to answer them)


It all starts innocently enough, maybe over a dreaded holiday meal or at a cafe with a friend who goes to a state school. They ask, “Where do you go to school, again?” You answer with a simple “Knox College — it’s a small liberal arts school.” You’ve been around the block a few times. This isn’t your first college questionnaire rodeo. Across the table from you, your interrogator leans back, folds their hands, takes a deep breath and begins firing away. You may have been caught off guard during this year’s break, but take notes, Knox College students. Next year, you’ll be ready.


  1. How long is your break?

This is a tricky one. If you tell them the truth, they’ll think you go to some “alternative” college, and if you lie and say it’s shorter, you’ll have to hide in your basement for the rest of break. Try to jazz it up a little with something like “Six weeks. They really encourage us to gain real-world experience.” Don’t mention your “internship” at Netflix.


  1. Where is it?

Good ol’ Galesburg. You’re either hate it or you’re indifferent, and that mostly depends on whether you pass for white from the front seat of a pickup truck. Tell them we have cute cafes, a Target and stay away from Maytag.


  1. What’s campus like?

Avoid words like “small,” and “flat,” but maybe throw in that we have a miniature prairie right next to our tennis courts! Really amp up the convenience of getting from one end of the campus to the other in less than seven minutes.


  1. How big is it?

Right, this one comes as a shock to most people — especially your friends who go to big universities. When you tell them that it’s a campus of 1,400, expect some answers along the lines of “Oh wow, that’s how big my residence hall is!” It’s a big world out there.


  1. What are the classes like?

Psych 100 is going to be the same at any school, so hype the cool FP’s like “Creating Monsters” and that other one where you watch movies all day. If they ask about lit theory, give them an application.


  1. What do you do for fun?

In all honesty, the size of our college doesn’t influence the amount of fun we have at all. I mean, what else do other college students do? Eat, wander around in the cold going from house party to house party, watch Netflix, go to magic shows that the student union puts on … we do the usual stuff.  


  1. How’s the food?

Talk up the Fat Cave and the vegan options. Feel free to mention that a Fire Starter and 1 a.m. fries from the Gizmo are proven hangover cures.


  1. What’s your mascot?

Just say it. Try to achieve a causal delivery and emphasize Fire to sound more intimidating. When they start to laugh, don’t tell them it’s a step up from our old racist one. Next question.


  1. What are the people like?

What aren’t the people like? Loud, quiet, smart, bearded, tall, short, liberal, conservative — we’ve got ‘em all. It is easy to talk up the people that you’ve met during your time here because you’ve most likely never met so many individuals that come together to make an establishment sparkle like our student body does.


  1. What’s your major?

Just run.

Julia Mondschean
Julia Mondschean is a filmmaker and journalist. She is a junior majoring in creative writing. Her documentary film and written works have appeared in the Peoria Journal Star, Galesburg Register-Mail and R_Wurd magazine. She has worked at multiple television and film production companies on the development of reality TV shows and production of documentaries for PBS and Independent Lens.
Lillie Chamberlin
Lillie is a senior at Knox, majoring in creative writing and minoring in gender and women's studies. At The Knox Student, she has worked as the discourse editor, co-editor-in-chief, and is now a co-mosaic editor. She is also a co-nonfiction editor at Catch. Her work has been published in the Galesburg Register-Mail.

Tags:  awkward questions break discourse family FAQ Julia Mondschean Knox College LucyRae Dorn Q&A spring break the more you know vacation winter break

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