The Do's and Don'ts of Conversing With a College Student Over the Holidays

With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching and the semester winding down, students will inevitably be spending less time with other students and more time with family and friends in their hometowns. Going home for the holidays is a wonderful feeling, but facing the looming questions of eager family members is absolutely terrifying. Year after year, I am expected to answer the stressful and repetitive questions at every family holiday and I am completely and totally over it. Family, here are a few do’s and don’ts that you should follow the next time your college student comes home for the holidays.


Don’t ask them if they have a boyfriend yet.

I have been asked this question by at least one family member at every single family holiday since I turned 16. This question only makes me feel upset over the fact that I don’t have someone special to bring home for the holidays yet and it should be avoided at all costs. If I had a boyfriend, he would either A. be there or B. I would tell you all about how awesome he is and why he couldn’t make it. Until then, avoid the subject. You want your college student to feel loved during the holidays, not lonely.


Do ask them about what they have planned with their friends from home over break.

One of the most exciting things about coming home for the holidays is seeing all of your friends from home.  I am looking forward to eating out at my favorite restaurants and snuggling up with my best friends over a good chick flick. This is a great subject to talk about with your college student and will guarantee some good conversations about new events that they should check out with their friends while they’re home.


Don’t ask them, “How’s school?”

Frankly, this question bores me to tears. There is only so much you can talk to your family about in terms of what assignments you have coming up and what classes you’re taking next semester. This question is also downright stressful. I am on break. I do not want to think about school.


Do ask them about the coolest assignment they’ve had this semester.

This question is much less generic and way more interesting for both the student and the family member. Talking about a student's interests and passions is always the answer.


Don’t ask them what their career plans are after college.

This is the scariest question of them all. As much as I’d like to say I know exactly what I want to do after school, I have no idea where I’ll actually end up. Besides, I need to be able to dig myself out of my financial hole that is student loans and in order to do that, I just need a steady paycheck for the first few years.


Do ask them where they see themselves in 10 years.

Instead of talking directly about potential careers, keep the question simple and ask your student where they may see themselves in a few years after school. This could be in terms of a relationship, a career, a new city, or with their friendships. It’s much less stressful to talk about what kind of dog you want to own in 10 years than where you see yourself in your career.

Talking to your college student is easy! All you need is a few thought-provoking questions for a happy and fun-filled holiday season.

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