"oh, I didn't know you were interested. Bean Dip?"
don't talk about the course. don't talk about school/jobs with her if you don't want to share.
And if she goes on and on about it, just get more vague (and vaguely bewildered), and say the same phrase over and over.
But yeah, I'm with the people who say, "Move on, already!"
You're entering a tough field, with clients who will need lots of support. You need friends who lift you up.
I've lately been really looking at my [few] friendships and realizing that when I have plans to see them, i'm excited about it. I'm looking forward to it. I want to hear what they're up to, and there's some story or two that I am eager to tell them.
And there is NO topic of conversation that makes me anxious. Anything I bring up to talk about, they'll have something to say about it that I will be GLAD to hear. Even if it's just, "That sounds like it was fun," or "that sucks," or "I'd like to take a class like that!"
And they tell me interesting things about their own life as well. If they're complaining about work, it's because right now it's extra tough, or they've turned it into a funny story. I'm happy to hear about their life; I look forward to it.
I'm not saying they aren't occasionally annoying. But I *like* them enough that the annoying stuff is just not important enough to even remember.
People like that are out there. Erase people like Nikki from your schedule and your brain, and you'll have time and energy to find them.
If anybody needed friends that add to their mental energy, it is someone working in the "social work" field!!