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Reports have been streaming in from all across the Stern and Wilbur complexes that one Jimmy Velasquez has mastered the complex art of “small talk” with his fellow new Stanford undergrads. “I’ve got it down to a science,” said Velasquez outside Cedro’s foyer on Monday. “First you kind of sidle up and ask ’So, what dorm are you in?’ and they’ll tell you. Most of the time, they’ll ask you the same question back, which gives you plenty of time to come up with the next question which is usually ‘What major you thinking about?’ If they ask you the same question back again — BOOM — that’s how you know you’re in.”

“It was like a whirlwind,” said Katie Chu ’20, “He knew all the right questions to ask, at all the right times. They were all completely inconsequential, but established just enough words between us to call it a conversation. He’s clearly a master.”

Velasquez continued to reveal his secrets in an interview. “If they ask you what major you’re thinking about first, tell them you’re just taking a bunch of classes right now but you like the sound of Poly Sci. Then say, ‘You?’ like you care but not too much. You can’t let them think you care. That way they know you’re mildly interested in who they are, but not like trying to be their best friend. Like we all just got here and you’ve gotta meet as many people as possible before you decide who you like.”

When asked how to end a smalltalk conversation, Jimmy had his answer ready. “Just when you might have to find something to talk about other than people you may both know from your hometowns, say, ‘Hey I’ve gotta go meet some other friends,’ so they know your time is important, and head over to the next person you don’t recognize.”

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