(If you’re in college, this happened to you over the holidays. If you’ve long graduated, you’ll still remember this phenomenon, especially the first item on this great guest post from Ryan Guinan. This seemed perfectly timed for Valentine’s Day and all my friends who are single. Enjoy!)
I am a Senior in college and have one semester to go before I graduate. When being home for the first time after 3 or 4 months, familiar faces naturally want to catch up but I noticed a grueling common trend of questions they ask every first Sunday after being away.
They are 3 questions a college kid better have figured out or be on their toes to ‘Barry Sanders’ their way through the masses and find a seat before anyone can stop them:
1. Are you dating anyone?
If you answer ‘yes’, I imagine fireworks go off, confetti cannons fire and you get a ribbon that says “1st place” but when you answer ‘no,’ three things happen:
My friend’s mom brings up my last High School girlfriend, a prom date, or “that one girl your mom was telling me about at school” (*There is no telling who this phantom person is?) and proceeds to ask, “what happened with ‘that’?” Then I awkwardly explain why those relationships didn’t wind up with me being on one knee, pledging my life to that female. A generic cliche like, “Life was just taking us in different directions” usually gets the job done.
My friend’s dad hears I am single, which causes him to give me an abundance of “Dad’s trying to be cool” fist pounds and references to me being a single man and “free.” Once the high fives stop, he gives me a ten-step action plan on how to meet women based on what he did to meet his wife.
But the worst, no question, is the little old ladies at church. Being 22 and single is something they absolutely cannot fathom. They often explain how they had been married for 5 years at this point in their life and had two kids and one on the way. Nothing you say to justify your state in life appeases their grief that you are not married.
2. Have you graduated?
This is never too rough of a question, as most people have no recollection of how far along in school you are. This question get tricky though if your parents are standing right behind you when asked.
If they are, it is essential that you speak to the straining effort you are devoting to getting done and receiving your diploma. A comment like, “Yeah, I’m just trying to enjoy college, these are the years to live? Am I right!” will lead to a plethora of Bible verses being dumped on you about honoring your parents and how Jesus calls us to not be ‘slothful.”
3. What are you studying? Quickly followed by, ohhh what are you going to do with that?
No matter how many times you tell someone your major at your home church, they never remember. And they seemingly never understand what your major is. When you tell them your major and tell them you are not sure what you want to do with that right away even though graduation is 4 months away, they tell you about the 3 or 4 people they know who may or may not have graduated with your same major. If you’re major is economics, they will tell you about someone they know who is a math teacher. Theater arts? They’ve got a nephew who just got a job at a software company that has something to do with art. Adobe or something. Given there are approximately 7 jobs available for graduating seniors, this conversation usually only serves to make you more nervous.
Regardless of the questions, at the end of the day it’s nice to know you’re missed.
What questions did people at your home church ask when you came home for a Sunday?