“Let’s go around the circle and introduce ourselves”

Seth Godin says that you should “Never (never) have people go around a circle and say their name and what they do and their favorite kind of vegetable or whatever. The problem? People spend the whole time trying to think of what to say, not listening to those in front of them.” Wise and accurate.

Thankfully, the preceptor for our psych small group didn’t ask us to do that.  But when I heard what he did want us to include, I realized there should be another rule of introductions:  Never (never) have med students go around in a circle and say where they went for undergrad.

Nobody likes it.  The Harvard students don’t want to say they went to Harvard (they went to college in Boston, thank you), the Yale students only wish they could get away with saying they went to college “in New Haven”, and the girl who went to Midwestern U will feel lonely for being the only person from a school with a recognizable sports team.

It’s fair to say that nobody cares that I went to Midwestern U – it’s just this thing I have about standing out too much.   (Then again, we don’t go around in a circle and say our MCAT scores or tax bracket either.  Even something generic like, “and say one achievement you’re proud of” would be too braggy.*)

It’s also fair to say that I only made a mental note of this. It was someone else entirely who looked around the room and had the guts to say:  “Hey, wait – are there really only 3 of us here who didn’t go to elite east coast schools?”

(For the record, of course there weren’t.  There were definitely two other students who went to elite west coast schools.)

* Yet potentially hilarious: “I published a novel.”  “I hiked across Chile – the long way.”  “I developed a robot that performs cardiac transplants.”  “I once got elbowed by a college sports star on the quad and he said “Excuse me”.  Pretty sure it might’ve involved some eye contact.  No big deal.”
Guess which one would be me.  That’s right.  I’m awesome.

9 thoughts on ““Let’s go around the circle and introduce ourselves”

  1. I hate the go around and introduce yourself thing too. At orientation we had to introduce ourselves, say what kind of animals we want to work with in the future, etc. You could feel the rift form in the class as people said large animal, small animal, mixed practice, research (oh the horror!), lab animal medicine, public health. I was bird person and a research kinda person. My friend “K” however had the best one and got the strangest looks. She wants to do aquatic medicine (not marine mammal but fish).

    Oh, and if the jock didn’t make eye contact with you at least you could say you aquired some of his epithelial cells and possibly kooties in the process. 🙂

    • Haha, that’s hilarious. Not very well thought out on your school’s part, but hilarious.

      And I’m now mentally revising my “proudest achievement” story to include star-quality cooties.

  2. Ooh! My achievement would be beating Wally Czerbiak at pool in front of a guy a dated in college. (He plays for the NBA now I think) (The guy broke up with me because of it)

  3. The only effective ice break I’ve ever found was “what is your favorite type of potato preparation”? Guaranteed to generate heated discussion.

    The correct answer, by the by, is wedges. All other answers are blasphemous.

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