All week long we hosted open houses for prospective students and at each of them I was the “opening act.”  One of the questions I asked each group was: “if you could go anywhere for a month without worrying about the cost, where would you go?”

Throughout the week we received a variety of answers, with the most popular being Italy or Australia.  We heard many other traditional responses: Europe, Spain, Rome, the Bahamas or Jamaica.  A few outliers thought really big: the Moon and then even Mars.  A couple of others stayed in the States: Nashville or Texas.

But the one who made the biggest impression on me was a dad who said: “I would go no further than my living room.  I travel all the time for work and my best vacation would be staying right at home.”

His comment reminded me that we need to understand where people are coming from.  It may seem wonderful for some to travel far (or very, very far!), but others would be more comfortable traveling less.  What is great for one person may not resonate so well with another. 

Before you assume that one-size-fits-all, even for a hypothetical icebreaker question, remember that nothing does.  Go into a new situation looking to embrace the differences and you’ll be more attuned to learning what others are really like.

— beth triplett

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