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about a year ago

Awkward Things You Do To Awkwardly Avoid Awkward Situations

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With a campus of 40,000 students — some you’ve had class with, some you’ve randomly pumped the keg for at random house parties, some you’ve never and will never meet in your life — it’s easy to find yourself in awkward scenarios. From sprinting for the White Loop to tripping up the stairs to pretending to text when you’re passing someone you don’t want to talk to, Penn State is like the awkwardness you hoped you’d escape in high school magnified to inconceivable proportions.

Here is the list of those awkward things you do to awkwardly avoid awkward scenarios while making your rounds in Happy Valley — stuff even too awkward for @AwkwardState.

Getting to Class:

  • Trying to side-step someone while walking down a narrow sidewalk. They juke in the same direction as you. You awkwardly stare at each other and quickly resume walking without saying a word.
  • When getting off the bus, walking right in front of it just as it starts to move. You pause hoping it doesn’t hit you, the bus driver just wants you to get out of the way. You awkwardly sprint into on-coming traffic in fear of making the White Loop more off-schedule than it already is.
  • Trying to spark a conversation with someone on the bus. They respond with a blank stare.
  • Pushing open a door while someone is pulling it open.
  • Responding to someone when they’re talking to themselves so they don’t look crazy but then realize they’re actually on their iPhone with those fancy speaker headsets.
  • Yelling “We Are” to a tour group of prospective students and their parents. No one responds. You keep walking.
  • Pretending to be texting or on a phone call when you pass someone you don’t want to talk to. They say hi anyway. You mumble a “oh, hey” and keep walking.
  • Taking every flier being handed out in the HUB. Throwing them away in the first garbage can you come across.
  • Awkwardly trying to cross pollock between classes and avoiding bikers and cars. Then you go to cross and one comes out of no where and you have to make it look like you weren’t actually going to cross to begin with.
  • Trying to predict where the bus is going to stop at. Moving three times as buses come and go.
  • Tripping over the chain fences while trying to take short cuts around Old Main.
  • Holding the door for someone. It takes them an awkwardly long amount of time to get to the door.
  • Running to catch the CATA bus. It drives off without you anyway.
  • Getting on the back of the bus. Being scorned by the bus driver. Having to get off and re-enter through the front.
  • One of those orange OPP golf-carts things is behind you on the sidewalk. You and realize you have no idea what to do. You panic. It pulls off into the grass.
  • Your music is turned up all the way on the bus and everyone can hear it. You’re listening to Cher.

In Class:

  • Walking the whole way to the front — and around — the auditorium to avoid climbing over someone sitting in the aisle seat.
  • Keeping your headphones in even if your music has stopped playing just so you don’t have to talk to other people while waiting for lecture to start.
  • Walking into a class late. Everyone looks at you. The professor seems to acknowledge your tardiness and you squeeze into the only open desk like an asshole. The sound of you just moving and putting down your backpack never seems so loud and disruptive.
  • Falling up the stairs in the Forum.
  • Trying to put on your jacket and almost dealing out an upper-cut to the person in the seat next to you.
  • Someone sits right next to you even though there are a ton of empty seats.
  • Staring quizzically at the PowerPoint to avoid eye contact with a professor. Getting called on anyway.
  • Awkwardly muting your computer so you could listen in on someone’s conversation. You realize you were listening to your iPod so your computer makes that obnoxious noise that alerts the whole computer lab that you’re turning your sound on and off.
  • You get a message on Facebook while you’re on your laptop in class. Your volume is all the way up.

Sober Downtown:

  • Going for a drink that isn’t yours at Starbucks.
  • You realize you’re walking the wrong way, but you just keep walking and go around the block so you’re not “that guy” that stops and turns while walking down the sidewalk.
  • Looking both ways on College or Beaver Ave.
  • Awkwardly pacing around a restaurant for inordinate amounts of time until you find a place to eat by yourself. Look around like someone may show up to accompany you.
  • Contemplating whether you should speed up to pass someone in front of you who is walking slow. You decide to speed up. They speed up. You’re both practically sprinting now.
  • After running into someone you know, they go for the weird handshake/fist pound thing. You have an awkward game of rock, paper, scissors. You say “bye” and scurry away.
  • Your shoes make that scrape sound that kind of sounds like a fart. You don’t want everyone to think you just farted so you try to make the scrape sound louder.
  • Stopping at a crosswalk to let a car a go and everyone around you just walks in front of it anyway.
  • Not stopping at a crosswalk and almost getting pummeled by a stoned kid on a longboard.
  • Looking down College/Beaver Ave just as the light turns for you to cross. Everyone moves and you’re stuck looking down the street like some idiot.

Drunk Downtown:

  • For the guys, walking slower when you get caught behind a group of girls walking home at night in their frackets and mini-skirts. Then thinking how they’re probably freaking out because some lone drunk guy is following them.
  • For the ladies, freaking out when any lone guy follows you.
  • Going to Indigo. You hate dancing.
  • Pretending to text at a party while surveying the crowd for someone you know. 6 cups in and 30 minutes later, you haven’t moved 10 feet from the jungle juice jug.
  • You don’t know how it happened, but you’re manning the keg.
  • While manning the keg, people keep shoving cups in your face. You keep filling them. 6 cups in and 30 minutes later, you haven’t moved 10 feet from the keg, but everyone is complementing you on your pour.
  • Joining in on a drunk Sweet Caroline sing-along on the bus. Mumbling and smiling through the lines you just can’t seem to remember.
  • Tripping over your own feet. Walking it off like nobody saw you. Having an inner monologue about how you’re not that drunk. Counting the beers you drank in your head and realize that you’re probably pretty drunk.
  • Someone insults you from a balcony in Beaver Canyon. You can’t think of a good insult. You wish you had a balcony.

Dorm/Apartment Conundrums:

  • Someone ahead of you on the stairs holds the door open for you. You walk through it even though it is the wrong floor because you didn’t know how to politely decline the door opening.
  • Holding the door open for someone who has been walking down the stairs behind you and they continue to walk down to another floor instead of being awkwardly courteous and accepting your door opening.
  • Getting off the elevator on the wrong floor and just going with it so you don’t look like a dumbass for pressing the wrong button. Then having to use the stairs the rest of the way.
  • Purposely making awkward conversation with randos in the elevator because its less awkward than just pretending to text.
  • Not even taking the elevator to avoid aforementioned awkward conversations or pretend texting … when you live on the 6th floor.
  • Taking a shower in the dorms when suddenly “that girl” on your floor comes in with her boyfriend for some “personal time” … in the stall next to you.
  • Your roommate starts having sex. You’re on the bottom bunk.

Did we miss any of the painfully awkward scenarios you get yourself into while at Penn State? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.

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