A beginners guide to judgmental conversations about college.
By Lillian La Salle
Visiting Opinion Columnist
You’re almost finished with your first semester of college! We want to hear all about it.
What are you learning about in that class?
Is that so? And you enjoy this? Hmph. Well, I would assume you would have done
something different given what we taught you, but I guess you know what’s best for you.
I hope most of us do not return home for the holidays to an endless stream of
judgmental questions about what we are studying, who are friends are, why we haven’t
gotten involved in the perfect relationship yet, or why we don't know what we are going
to do with the rest of our lives. However, this may not be the case. You may have a nosy aunt or overly interested cousin during holiday dinners with family. It may feel like so much has happened to you while at school, and there is no possible way to explain all your evolving ideas and plans to your family in such a short time. So how do we answer these never-ending college questions from our loved ones without feeling like we fall short?
The answer: Be confident in your choice to enjoy what you study, who you spend your
time with, and what you choose to do.
Be very matter-of-fact about your choices, and explain that it is not up to your Uncle to
critique your new interest in Politics or Theological Studies. College is about learning
new things and figuring out what excites you as a possible career path. You may be met
with joyful congratulations for finding your new passion, or find yourself being scrutinized when you excitedly share new information from your favorite Social Justice class. No matter the case, take the recognition or rejection from others with a grain of salt. You are the only one who knows what you feel called to do. Of course, your family may offer great insights and help you refine what you want to accomplish in your college career by sharing their opinions. But it is up to you to field these opinions and ask yourself if their feedback is helpful to discover what you need to do to live out your life’s purpose.
We won't have all of life's answers this holiday season, but frankly, nobody does. Our lovably overbearing relatives may not understand all the new things you are learning about yourself in
college, and that is ok. Just remember that what you choose to do, who you spend your
time with, and what you explore are up to you. Only a few select people get to
understand why you want to pursue certain avenues in life. Everyone else can get a
brief synopsis of your college experience at the dinner table when you come home for the
Remember, you may be very different from when you last saw your loved ones, and this
may surprise them and yourself during dinner table conversations. College is supposed to help you grow, and that looks different for everyone. So relax, enjoy your Fall Break, and
remember to not take your opinionated pops too seriously if a comment or two is made
about your new friends or exuberant seminar professor.
You are the one living your college experience, so enjoy it and make the most of it.
Ryan Ford '23,