Family Questions, How to Avoid Them

Elena Aragon

If you are one of the many Whitman students returning home over break, you are probably anticipating some questions from your family and friends back home. This is especially true if you are a first-year student, because in addition to the usual slew of interrogations, everyone and their mother is going to say, “SOOO, HOW’S COLLEGE?!!”

Here at The Pioneer, we want to provide you with some acceptable and not-so-acceptable responses to aid you in your upcoming conversations.

Q: So, are you seeing anyone?

Who from: your parents/your ex

What not to say: “About four different people in rotation”/”Define ‘seeing'”

What to say: If you are still with a high school/long-time love interest, chide your relative for not remembering them and questioning your faithfulness. If you are single, talk about how college is a time for defining your identity. If you are just having casual affairs, bring up the idea that college is a time for exploration in all realms of your life. If you are looking for some, say “No,” but if you want to avoid creepy ex hook-ups, say “Yep, found the love of my life!”


Q: So, what kind of activities have you gotten involved in this year at college?

Who from: Your aunt

What not to say: “Learning how to beer bong”/”Smoking”/”Writing for The Pioneer

What to say: Highlight any participation you’ve had with sports, even IM ones. Mention how they’ve bonded you increasingly to your section/club/Greek organization. Talk about your 30 minutes of Storytime Project a week as if you spent the majority of your free time volunteering.


Q: So, what’s Greek life like at your school?

Who from: Old classmate/friend/cousin

What not to say: “Just as fun as it looks in the movies”/”A huge joke”

What to say: This one’s going to depend on your affiliation and feelings toward the subject. Either way, drop the hint that Greek life at Whitman is typically more moderate than at other schools. If you are Greek, you will probably comment on how it’s still just as fun as at state schools, but be sure to focus on brotherhood bonding while abstaining from going into detail on the extensive list of drinking activities you participate in, especially if this person is old.


Q: What are you (thinking of) majoring in?

Who from: Parents/uncle

What not to say: “Partying”/”Keeping it real”/ “Art”

What to say: Bring up the thought of maybe going premed (“I’m taking Gen Chem!”). Alternatively, speak extensively on how this semester is the time for trying new things and “exploring your options.” Unless you want old Uncle Tim to fall asleep at the table directly in front of you, DON’T list every single possible major that you are considering –– “Maybe history, maybe art, maybe art history with a minor in sociology.” Your goal is not to pacify your relatives into boredom.