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5 Awkward Moments on Campus that Every UMass Student Shares

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Being on the same campus as over 28,000 students means sharing a lot of the same experiences as your peers. Common examples of these encounters include seeing similar people, eating similar food, and taking similar courses. But do you ever converse with your friends about those little awkward moments that maybe not everyone talks about? Personally, my friends and I love discussing these instances because we’ve all experienced some awkward moments that I assume most students at UMass Amherst could find relatable. The funniest part to me is that these experiences shouldn’t be awkward, but they are.

Scooping hard ice cream at Frank

Franklin dining hall, better known as “Frank,” is the only dining hall on campus with hard-serve ice cream. This would appear to be a positive feature, but it is actually a public humiliation machine in disguise, especially if you are 5’3″ or shorter. For one thing, if there’s anyone who is also waiting to scoop some ice cream, then all eyes are on you. If the ice cream in the container is low, then you have to fully bend in half to get down into the bin. At this point, you look like you’re dumpster diving. In addition to the ice cream being difficult to access, it is also difficult to scoop; if you’re extra lucky, it’ll go flying out of the container. At this point, I typically make an awkward comment to the people standing behind me, then get away as soon as possible. Maybe hard-serve ice cream is overrated, anyways.

Debating with a car on a crosswalk about who should go first

We have all heard of the rule that “pedestrians have the right of way,” but once you’re on campus it can turn into a free for all. There usually tends to be a standoff between a driver and a pedestrian; the pedestrian has the right of way, but they feel bad that the car has been waiting for so much foot traffic that they wave them on. Sometimes the driver then waves for the pedestrian to cross. If the person decides to walk, it typically ends up being a quick scurry across the crosswalk and it is awkward for all parties involved. Shall we just ban cars on campus?

Waiting for someone to gather their things before taking their table in the dining hall

Let’s be real — the dining halls are almost always overcrowded at prime meal times. It turns into every man for themselves when claiming a table. If people see you packing your things, they will immediately ask if you are leaving. I get that this interaction is pretty standard, but it is a little embarrassing for the person stacking all of their dishes and belongings while the next group stands there watching you. It’s time to get this show on the road.

Tapping your uCard multiple times before it registers with the machine

Whether you are entering a residential building, a dining hall, or the recreation center, your UCard must be used for identification. Personally, my UCard is in a pocket on my phone case and it often takes multiple taps to get the card at the perfect angle for the machine to register it. This can be particularly awkward, especially at the gym when the worker is watching you struggle and a line of people is forming behind you. I’m just trying my best!

Silent elevator rides – especially at the library 

I think silent elevator rides are a universally awkward experience that can happen in many places, even outside of campus. But the campus library elevators take this to a whole new level: pun intended. With 28 floors in the library, this accounts for a lot of stops along the way. Sometimes this even means stopping at every single floor. The group can be shoulder-to-shoulder, so you are essentially huddled up with a bunch of strangers who don’t talk, but maybe share a chuckle when the elevator stops at yet ANOTHER floor. Time never moves slower than in that elevator.

I began this article by asking if you ever converse with your friends about the little awkward moments that take place on campus. Perhaps you’re like me and your answer was “yes.” But if your answer was “no,” then maybe you can find some humor in relating to these instances. Maybe you even have more to add to the list. Either way, it is a fun icebreaker when talking with fellow peers and friends on campus.

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Ashley Pope

U Mass Amherst '24

Ashley is a senior at UMass Amherst majoring in psychology with a minor in education., with a certificate in social work This is her second semester writing for Her Campus and she is excited to continue to be part of the community. In her free time she enjoys reading, journaling, working out, and going to cafes.