Since I've been in college for a semester, I feel the time has come to share my wisdom to future students/parents/relatives of what not to say to a college student. Follow this advice, and hopefully you won't totally annoy said student and I might, if you're lucky, actually answer your questions!
1. "Oh, you're studying english/history/philosophy/some random obscure subject no-one, including you, has ever really heard of. Do you think you'll be able to get a job with a degree in arts?"
Hmm, well evidently you think not, so let's cut to the chase here: what you're basically saying is that I'm going to be unemployed and college is a waste of time.
That's great, thanks so much for clearing that one up! Can't wait for the next three years now! Xoxo
Instead, rephrase to: "do you have any idea what you'll do after graduation?"
2. "Do you enjoy said subject?"
No I hate it and thought I'd subject myself to three/four/five years of ritual torture, and drowning in debt just for the hell of it. Please, do not ask the question! If I've chosen to study it, the likelihood is I enjoy it.
Instead: "Politics/Biochemistry/whatever sounds really interesting. What appeals to you about it?"
3. "Oh, you're at random college. Was it your first choice?"
Again, relatives/friends, one to avoid. If it was my first choice, I'll probably have told you and already extolled the virtues of said college already. If it wasn't and you don't already know, the chances are getting rejected from my dream college isn't something I want to discuss. Move. On.
4. "You must have so much reading/work to do! How do you manage your time?"
Ummm... Netflix. Netflix. Netflix.
Instead: Talk to me about the Good Wife/Breaking Bad/The Walking Dead/trash TV. I can give you episode-by-episode recaps; trust me, it's a lot more interesting than listening to me regurgitate facts about Plato.
5. "Are you finding your course hard?"
Oh, you know, writing a couple of 1,000 word essays a term with barely any contact time is just a walk in a park. Seriously. A college degree isn't meant to be easy -- come on people.
Instead: "Is your course as hard as you expected it to be?" I'll basically give you the same response, except this time you won't have totally patronized me.
6. "Well, since I was at college, things have gotten so much easier!"
No. They haven't. Whatever random studies/your friend who works in admissions says, this comment does not help me.
Instead: Say nothing