The first week back from winter break is always easy and stress-free for the majority of the student population. You’d expect most people to enjoy “syllabus week” due to the lack of work, but it ranks high in the snooze factor. Students and professors alike recognize this as a solid problem with syllabus week, so many professors try to shake things up with some horrific ice breaker to rejuvenate the class before rattling off all the course objectives, the required readings and blah, blah, blah.
Listen, many of us appreciate the attempt to liven up the class, but 99 percent of the time they just make us feel even more awkward and, somehow, even more bored. If the professor asks for fun facts, no one ever actually says anything remotely fun about themselves (If your “fun fact” is that you went to the beach, just leave class now).The professor can go around asking everyone in the class their name, year, major, hometown, etc., but I’m never going to remember anything about Susie Smith who sits in the back of the room and I highly doubt anyone else will either.
Many of my professors in the past have handed out worksheets that say “find someone in the class who traveled over break!” or “find someone who is from the same state as you!” The point of the icebreaker is to talk to some stranger in your class for a brief three seconds before asking them to sign your paper, proving you actually tried to talk to people.
Why are professors still requiring us to do these? This isn’t fifth grade and who cares if someone in my class happened to go to Cancun for a week? I don’t want to sound too harsh, but it’s like busywork. If it’s a smaller class, then that’s definitely more understandable, but trying to get to know a class of 30 kids or more in a semester, let alone in a single class, is a moot point. Rather than relying on icebreakers, please, just let us out early. I think we can all agree that it’s for the best.