Seminar ice breakers are awful and should be banned

“Hi, I’m Ollie, and today I had a big bowl of disappointment”

Seminars are, at the best of times, a strange, often horrifically dull part of university life. Sitting huddled in a classroom surrounded by students equally hungover and plague-ridden as yourself is miserable.

Everyone knows this which is why when the group has arranged themselves in some sort of semi-circle, deathly silence descends on the room.

Pens are tapped against tables, teeth are gnawed, coughs deafeningly awkward.

This isn’t the issue though. Oh no, the issue is those bloody ice breakers seminar leaders use to ‘bond’ students into a hive of cooperative activity. Or in reality, commit them to five minutes of excruciating conversation.
A common example was when, having sat down, we were asked to divulge what we last ate. As there was only six of us in the class, this wasn’t especially enlightening.

I don’t know much about Marxist theory, but I do know what Chloe is digesting on the table opposite. A cereal bar, if you were wondering.

This must be stopped.

Quite apart from the fact that it is wasting valuable revision time, it never seems to actually work.

“You went to Vietnam? Cool…”

Unless seminar leaders all yearn for sadistically awkward small talk, they can’t seriously come away thinking: “Yes, I really think that James will work well with Emilia this semester, now that he knows about her dog that died four years ago.”

Another classic is the “Why did you choose this course?” I am still waiting for a person more courageous than me to reply: “Not to learn about how ‘amaazin’ Bella’s fucking gap yah was”.

What’s next? Clothes measurements? Bowel movements?

I therefore call for an end to this madness. Can’t we all bathe in glorious silence, nod at the right moments and learn something other than how little we regard our fellow students’ factoids? We can dream.