Workshop course

What your workshop icebreaker says about YOU

Workshop facilitators: our greatest unsung heroes. The reason why I passed Orgo I. (Incidentally, also the reason for my sapiosexual awakening). It’s the season to meet the good folks who don’t get paid enough to answer frantic 2 a.m. questions about pyruvate oxidation, and I’m here to tell all the smexy little intellectuals how your icebreaker mandated by CASC reveals your deepest flaws and insecurities. Let’s go!

Roses and thorns: It’s a classic for a reason, and that reason is narcissism. Since you can’t hear your own voice enough while holding your audience captive with the legendary promise of review cues, you just had work so lamenting your major-change paperwork to a bunch of freshmen who still foolishly think they like math. If you actually care about my life, you could have run a quick “how’s it going” instead of searching Wordle lore for the 10 minutes we sat alone waiting for the session to start. Bonus points when a Workshop student tries to hit you up while drunk in Chi Phi and you assert your dominance by running away.

Your favorite food/animal/place/[insert any generic noun]: Just say you’re boring. My favorite color? That’s how I made friends when I was seven. Omigosh, do you like chocolate better than vanilla?! I guess we’re bonded for life. While half the group racks their brains for one-word conversation purposes, the other half may exchange unamused eye rolls and mutually agree that they’re better than that. In fact, that’s always how I make friends.

What is your favorite meme: What are you, an undercover cop? Are you going to ask about my good friend Molly? Report me to Big Workshop? When you’re not trying to sneak around a small, otherwise still room to sniff my breath, you’re mumbling “they did anesthesia on a grape” and other budding kid hip phrases you remember halfway through a Crash Course in Baby Boomer Pop Culture PowerPoint. You’ve read that last slide’s “Works Cited” to the grime. I bet they don’t even pay you to be here, you sick bastard.

Your favorite sleeping position: The easiest path to a moderated group. Sure, they’ll all be begging you to change to avoid your shit list once you finally snap and become a serial killer, but intimidation is a key success factor. Bonus points if you pass them bedroom eyes and perform hand-on-hand sex while struggling to pass the world’s crumbest chalk from your sweaty, sweaty palms. The next time you smear sacrificial blood on your Crosby double, remember that if it were fiction, you’d have a bunch of teenage girls fighting to bear your children.

No icebreaker, just business: God, what excitement. You know why we’re here, and it’s not to psychoanalyze our breakfast choices (mine, of course, is your mom). There is a direct positive correlation between workshop leaders not asking me to bullshit and how much I liked them. If you’re going to see me at my lowest – like crying every week while relearning how to eliminate non-halogen waste – I can’t stand you perceiving me. You’re smart, competent, and more than a little above that, and everyone loves you that much more for it. Go away king, don’t give us anything! The TA of the people.

Being a workshop leader isn’t just about your icebreaker: you’ll have to master the “strabismus-nod-good-question-let me check with the prof” redirect movement when all you remember is the version they’re not supposed to know yet, let alone overcome your paralyzing first-year fear (their little eyes are so full of life! They want to admire you! Terrifying!) and having to come up with new bullshit weekly for your associated CASC class. Go into the great unknown, Peer Teaching Instructor, and please, please get me out of here in time.

Lots of love,

A Practitioner & Expert Workshop