What Does the Fox Say: Why so many Icebreakers??

What does the fox say?-2

Dear DocFox –

I’ve been here for less than 2 weeks and I feel like I’m spending half my time answering the same 4 questions:
What is my name, what is my hometown, what is my major, and my least favorite: what is something interesting about me. What gives??

M. from Chicago

First-Year, Undecided Major (maybe Anthropology/Sociology)
(Oh, and in case you are wondering, I am an aspiring entrepreneur and started a dog walking business this summer.)

Dear M:

Thanks for writing!  Yes, the beginning of the year is filled with introductions and icebreakers – in your residence halls, in student organizations, probably even a few classes. Icebreakers are not only a way to get to know others in an often fun and occasionally engaging way, but they are also team builders and a way to hone your networking skills. Why is that important, you may ask?  In both college and the “real world” you will be asked to work in teams and/or contribute in many ways. It’s much easier to work in teams when you have already established a good rapport.  And, it’s even easier when you know each other well enough to effectively leverage one another’s talents, strengths, and interests!
As for networking, it may seem unimportant, especially as a first-year student, but it is useful! Don’t think of it as needing to work a crowd or boast about yourself; use it to build relationships one at a time and teach others who you are and what opportunities you might want to explore. It’s also a great way to help others make connections to accomplish their goals. So, build your networks over the next 4 years…talk with classmates, faculty, staff, your roommate’s parents, etc. The questions may seem mundane, but it’s a great way to strike up a conversation and make early connections – especially with your classmates.  Did you know Starbucks, Hewlett and Packard, and Facebook were all started by college friends? Thank goodness for ice breakers!
Pro Tip: When you do introduce yourself, make sure you say your first and last name.  Perhaps I want to offer you a gig walking my adorable dog … I don’t know how to get in touch with you since I don’t know your last name!