Melting the Ice in Icebreakers

It’s the first week of the fall semester and whether you’re on-campus or online, students will encounter the getting-to-know-you activity known as “ice-breakers.” It’s that time of the year where students are obligated to introduce themselves by providing a tidbit on where they came from, what they’re studying, and a “fun” fact about who they are.    

Although students would rather learn about course structure and tools to succeed in class on the first day, according to a study published in the International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, ice-breakers are a hurdle that can’t be skipped over. 

The first two requirements are simple; state the city one resides in, and the major(s) and/or minor(s) they’re pursuing, or if they’re undecided. Yet, when it comes to sharing a unique detail about themselves, many students are unsure of what to say.  

Here are some ideas on what to share with the class!

  1. 1. Collectible possessions

    Cups Mugs Glasses

    Do you own remarkable items? Perhaps it’s an assortment of extraordinary mugs or a vintage tin collection? Whatever it may be, sharing these marvelous findings is a conversation starter. Maybe your classmates have the same interest and have questions on where you get your items, how long it took to grow your collection, or if they can see your assemblage in person. Either way, people will be amazed by your possessions and your dedication to it.  

  2. 2. Current hobbies/ interests

    watercolor painting

    Start with thinking about your favorite activity to do alone or with friends. Maybe it’s sports, baking, or creating art! Then, think about a memory or an accomplishment you made with said activity. If you can’t think of any, ask yourself...  

    Sports/ Physical Activity: Have you broken or sprained any bones? Met an athlete you admire? Been a coach for a team? What’s the longest distance you’ve jogged?     

    Performing Arts: How many productions were you a part of? Do you play any instruments? Have you gone on a tour with your company? Been an instructor?       

    Arts: What’s the longest amount of time you worked on a project? How many works did you create? Did you ever have your work publicly displayed? Do you sell your work?  

    Culinary: What kind of recipes did you try over the break? Any mishaps in the kitchen? What is the worst dish you made? Have you cooked for a restaurant? 

    Writing: What kind of stories do you write? Do you have an active blog? Have you had your work published? What inspired you to write?  

    Gardening: What did you grow? Did you experience any difficulties along the way? What do you plan on cultivating in the future? How did you learn to garden?   

    Gaming: Have you developed a game or are you currently in the developing stage? Did you participate in tournaments? What’s the longest amount of time you’ve played? Did you design any items?

  3. 3. Talk about your pets!

    Puppy Hand Fun Ring Summer Hapy Original

    Who doesn’t love to talk about their pets! They’re adorable creatures often recognized as a family member, and bring happiness to pet-owners. 

    During icebreakers, you can discuss the age, breed, and name of your pet. Maybe you own an unconventional pet, like a rat or a snake? Perhaps you own more than 2 pets? The possibilities are endless! 

Using one of these suggestions will help you develop your “fun” fact and ease the stress that accompanies first-day introductions. It’s difficult to talk about yourself when you’re put on the spot. Coming in prepared tells other people, “Wow, they have their life together and seem like a chill person!” 

In the end, the best advice to follow is to be confident. Whether it’s fake or genuine, showing that you’re self-assured about your statements demonstrates that you’re trustworthy, easy-going and approachable. With practice, you’ll develop communication skills that will aid you when in a job interview or meeting new people. There will always be a moment where introductions are in order, so it’s best to hone this skill now so that you can be prepared when the time comes.