A holiday survival guide

(college edition)

Fiona Gillen, R1 Editor-in-Chief

Twinkling lights, crackling fires, delicious food and—college interrogations? For high schoolers like me, holidays aren’t what they used to be.

Gone are the days of sitting at the kids’ table and avoiding adult conversations (especially if they involve politics or Aunt Linda’s new hair style). Now, I’m faced with an incessant stream of questions regarding my future. What colleges am I looking at? Have I started, or preferably, finished, my applications? Am I aware that schools want to see a list of extracurriculars 100 times longer than my Christmas list?

At times, these interrogations—sorry, I mean conversations—can feel overwhelming. But never fear, this holiday season I’m gifting you a list of strategies that I’ve used to survive these questions:

Diversion is key: Change the subject. Always. I can’t help that every time Grandma asks about college, I develop a strange affinity for the well-being of her cats. “How is good ol’ Whiskers, anyway?”

Keep it vague: “Oh you know, I’m looking at a few schools here, a few schools there. I’m keeping my options open at the moment.” Classic line.

Two can play at this game: Turning the questions around on the interrogator is guaranteed to throw them off. Ask them how they chose their college or what they got on their SAT. They’ll quickly realize it isn’t as much fun on the receiving end.

Eat: A mouth full of Christmas pudding or kugel can’t answer questions about intended majors. It’s physically impossible.

Brag: A big ego is always a turnoff. But hearing about your perfect score on a 3rd grade spelling test or your winning goal in a 5th grade soccer final has got to be more interesting than your college list. Right, Uncle Bill?

While it’s easy to become fed up with all the questions, it’s important to remember that your family just wants what’s best for you. And thankfully, now you have some tips to make it through their cross-examinations with some semblance of your sanity.

But if all else fails—run. Hopefully that pudding or kugel hasn’t settled in your stomach yet.