Winter break is a delightful time of year. You get to eat delicious food, relax and spend time with your family. But although it’s awesome to see your family members, things can get a little bit awkward when they ask you personal questions such as these:
1. So how are you and (insert name of the person you were dating last time you saw this relative)?
Yes, we totally understand how annoying this question is. And uncomfortable — really, really uncomfortable.
2. Have you decided on a major yet?
If you are a freshman or sophomore, people around Berkeley are probably sympathetic to the fact that you went in pre-med and then switched when you realized that you were almost failing organic chemistry. Your relatives probably don’t understand this quite as well. If you have always said becoming a doctor is your life’s dream, they may have trouble seeing how you suddenly have an irrevocable passion for sociology.
3. What are you planning to do with that?
This is another annoying question for undergrads just trying to discover their passion. It’s hard to explain to the people who are paying for your education that people with degrees in Celtic studies really can find jobs after college and that you are much happier than you would have been suffering through biochemistry requirements. But you aren’t certain what your exact career path is going to be.
4. How have you been doing in school?
This may invoke panic in many of you. You were probably used to getting straight A’s in high school, and UC Berkeley may be introducing you to the other, less desirable letters of the alphabet.
5. Are you still playing soccer (or any other physical activity that you did in high school)?
Because of the difficulty of your classes and the subsequent lack of time that you have, you may not be keeping up with your fitness in the same way that you did in high school. Add that to the fact that practice was mandatory in high school for the various sports that you played, and you’ll realize that unless you are an athlete at Cal, it’s really difficult to get up and get motivated. Believe me, we understand. But your family will probably be wondering why their small-town sports star isn’t keeping up with his or her skills.
6. You’ve really filled out!
This isn’t really a question, but it creates just as must stress when you’re trying to come up with a response. No matter how this statement is fashioned (your grandma saying that you’re getting “curvy” or your sister flat-out asking whether you’ve gained weight), it just feels like your family is calling you fat.
7. Why don’t you eat meat?
This question may be asked by the family member who was concerned that Berkeley would “change” you. For them, you becoming a vegetarian is confirmation that you are now a hippie liberal, when in reality you have always wanted to eat this way — it’s just easier to do it now.
8. Have you been partying?
This is what we call the “cool uncle” question. You’ll most likely hear this question from that one relative who wants to seem hip and relatable. These relatives mean well, but it’s kind of an awkward question to respond to — even if you’ve spent more Friday nights on Netflix than in frat houses.
Contacts Delaney Inman at [email protected]