Let's Get Awkward: 5 Awkward Moments All College Students Have Likely Experienced

Humans are born knowing how to blink and breathe, but to a certain extent, I also think we’re born knowing how to be supremely awkward. That is DEFINITELY the case for me. If you’ve been following me for a while, you may remember the tale of mortification I told last year about when I ended up headfirst in a dumpster, which you can read about here.


And if that’s not enough proof of my penchant to really embarrass myself, let this quote a new acquaintance said about me do the trick: “I know I barely know you, but I think your life exists in between bouts of awkward moments.” I mean, I think that quote is worthy of a neon sign above my head because it’s just so dang relatable.


So I thought to myself, probably in the middle of unraveling another Russian nesting doll of awkward moments throughout my day, What better way is there to celebrate Awkward Moments Day on March 18 than to openly discuss some things that usually would make us want to bury our heads in the sand?”


As an awkward college student, I thought I could find five predicaments we’ve probably all put ourselves in at least once and laughed it off, or at least tried to, after the inferno of blush dies down.


  • Walking into the wrong lecture: Maybe it was a lapse of judgment or you had to make a last-minute mad dash to class. You hurdle through the door with two minutes to spare and don’t recognize any of the faces who stare back at you… oh, and everyone is chattering about differentials in Calculus instead of the Spanish Inquisition. WHOOPS! This has definitely happened to me a few times and as much as it may stir up a beat-red face, it’s totally normal to accidentally mismatch a classroom number. On the bright side, maybe the impromptu lecture could expand your perspective to a whole new area of study!


  • Slipping or falling on campus: Especially during this winter “wonderland” we still have in Minnesota, it’s sometimes unavoidable to look like you’re unintentionally auditioning for the Ice Capades on the morning commute to class. The worst thing you can do is look around and notice if anyone saw you do it. Instead, embrace the misstep and take it in stride! See what I did there?


  • Cafeteria clumsiness: Whether this consists of dropping food, having a clatter of dishes ring out through dinner time, or spilling food on yourself, don’t let it faze you. Remain calm and remember that awkward is a dish best served relatably.


  • Waving at random strangers when their friends are behind them: You know that mortifying feeling when you see someone from a distance flailing their arms excitedly at you? It’s only right to wave enthusiastically back… until your arm flops to your side when you realize the wave was just reciprocated between you and a complete stranger because the intended wave recipient was standing behind you. The best thing to do? Acknowledge that while that might have been awkward, you could have also brightened that stranger’s day with a double wave when they only expected one! (Or my go-to move is to immediately fiddle or readjust my hair, jacket, etc.)


  • Seizing someone’s laundry out of a machine juuust when they come to collect it: Especially in the dorms, it’s common courtesy to wait five minutes before removing someone’s laundry out of a washer or dryer when you’re in need of one. But if you’ve waited the allotted time and decide matters must come into your own hands, it can be REAL awkward if you’re opening someone else’s washer or dryer to touch their things and they simultaneously see you do it. But in reality, it’s a double-awkward sitch because the laundry hog should have kept a better eye on their machines. If this predicament leaves you feeling like you’re stuck in the spin cycle, don’t worry… it happens to the best of us.


These moments I mentioned, plus several others, happen with embarrassing regularity. But you know what? College, for all of us, is a learning experience. And one thing I’m definitely getting to be a master at is embracing my awkwardness to turn it into really funny stories. I encourage you to do the same on March 18 and every other day!