Most Awkward Ice Breakers


Crystal Chen

Not another year of this. I’ve had enough.

“Hello everyone! My name is Mrs. Winklehopper and I’ll be your AP Macroeconomics teacher for the year. Since it’s the first day of school, get out a piece of binder paper and tell me a little bit about yourself–like for example, what you guys want to be when you grow up.”

Not another year of this. You know, we wouldn’t need to go to school if we were just walruses. Over the summer I was researching a lot into them and I really envy their lifestyle.

But I barely manage to write “I want to be a walrus” onto my paper before suddenly experiencing a chronic, painful cramp in my middle finger. I know it may be surprising for a guy to not use his right hand the entire summer—for writing of course. 

Mrs. Hinklewhopper made us start playing the card games on each of our tables. I think the teacher means for all of us to converse while playing, but my tablemates and I all sort of tacitly agree to stare at the table and pretend each other didn’t exist. Finally, an icebreaker where I can just sit around and conserve energy instead of actually talking to people.

But as soon as the guy with curly hair begins to pass cards out, Mrs. Dinklebopper interrupts us. “On second thought I don’t think playing card games would be the best idea since we’re in the middle of a pandemic,” she says with spit, sauce, and who-knows-what running down her chin. “Let’s just all go around in a circle and introduce ourselves to the whole class.”


The teacher begins introducing herself, her two kids, her dog, the fact that her ex-husband left her and she’s in the middle of divorce proceedings, how the school doesn’t pay her enough to deal with us even though it’s only the first day of school,…y’know, the usual. This woman ingrained every detail of her summer trip to Lake Tahoe into my head. She was talking for so long to the point where for a split second, I wish she lost custody of those two kids.

I guess I didn’t look where I was sitting, because somehow I just had to seat myself right next to her. Great. She looks at me with those disease-ridden eyes of hers, signaling to me that I’m going next. I try convincing myself that if I just stay silent, she would give up and pick on some other unfortunate individual.

What’s my favorite color? Favorite food? Movie? TV Show? Music taste? I find myself asking these questions, but the only thing that’s in my head is—walrus. I start sweating, seventeen years of life in this hellhole of a country flashing before my eyes.

Eventually, I finally muster up enough courage to tell the world about myself, who I am, and my nonexistent aspirations in life. But then the bell rang. Everyone got up, picked up their bags, and started walking to their next class. I instantly let out a sigh of relief, my mood bettered, my skin cleared, my hotel trivagoed.

Dang, I’ll have to do this five more times today…why.