The Tur-Key to a Great Thanksgiving Conversation

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It’s that time of year. The leaves have fallen, the temperature has dropped, and fall semester classes are beginning to reach their end. It is also the time of year when students return to their cozy homes to relax and eat nonstop for a whole week. If you are like me, then you look forward to this opportunity starting the day after the last Thanksgiving. You also know how much “fun” it can be to explain your college life thus far to everyone you meet. The constant repetition of “Yes, college is fun. I am making a lot of friends, and I am doing well in classes.” Well no more! Read on to discover ways to liven up the conversations and break up the monotony.

1) Talk about specific classes.

The sentence “I am doing well in classes” can be livened up if you talk about specific classes. Iowa State has over 100 majors, and over 40 of those are in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences! Talk about how much you love your Native American History class, or how you are earning credit while learning how to dance! There are so many different ways to explore your interests and earn credit while you’re doing it. You are bound to like at least one of your classes (hopefully you’ll love all of them!). Let your friends and relatives have an earful of it!

2) Talk about the clubs and organizations you joined.

Quidditch? Is that a type of cooking club?

By this point in the year, most students have gotten involved in at least one of the 800+ clubs and organizations we have here at Iowa State. Whether it is for juggling or baseball, these clubs are a great conversation topic. Talk to people about the clubs you joined and why you joined them! If you express your enthusiasm about finally being able to ride a unicycle thanks to the unicycling club, then the people you are talking to will be excited too! Plus, it will get grandma asking questions about what Quidditch/Battleship H20/unicycling is, and not about why you are only eating two meals at the dining centers instead of three.

3) Brag about all the cool stuff you have learned.

I know it doesn’t always feel like it, but I promise that you are learning something every day in class! I can probably explain what a Taylor Series is better than an anthropology major, but the anthropology major can almost certainly explain the history of the human species in much greater depth than me. Whether you’re studying biology, or political science, or mathematics, or even if you’re Open Option (which is the most popular “major” here at Iowa State, by the way!), you are going to have some cool facts and topics you can talk to people about for hours and hours.

4) Use the great experiences you have had here.


There is always so much going on, and you are bound to have some pretty crazy stories! Maybe you met the representative of one of your favorite companies at the Colleges of Human Sciences and Liberal Arts and Sciences People-to-People Career Fair. Or maybe you had some amazing free ice cream and pizza at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Picnic on the Plaza! Or maybe you really enjoyed winning that iPad at ISU AfterDark. No matter what your story is, your family and friends want to hear about it!

5) And the final tip is… eat!

While not technically a tool for you to get out of awkward conversations, this one is my personal favorite. It is the time of year when people all over the country will be indulging themselves to turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and more! When someone asks a questions you don’t know the answer to, just take a bite of food (or a big bite, as I like to do). It will give you time to think of an answer to the question, while also allowing you to experience the splendor of your sister’s pecan pie!

Posted by: Michael Cox