Dear Awkward College Students,
As a fellow awkward student now in my third year at Ohio State, I’ve had my share of awkward situations and look forward to many more in years to come. In the meantime, I hope to share a few pieces of wisdom on how to embrace your own awkwardness and make the most of the precariously awkward situations you may find yourself in throughout your time at Ohio State. Although you may not be able to change your awkward nature, you can still thrive in a world that hates awkwardness.
1. Improper and Destructive Ways of Dealing with Awkwardness
Let’s start off with a few things that feed the insatiable creature that is awkwardness.
Texting or tweeting at people in your life who deserve a real conversation. Technology allows us the ability to say things to people that maybe would be awkward or uncomfortable in person. Although it may be easier and feel safer to tweet a passive-aggressive comment about your roommate and the dishes that have been piling up for weeks, don’t expect anything to change by you offending the roommate in front of your Twitter followers. Other situations that deserve at least a phone call if not a face to face interaction include: roommate disputes, asking someone on a date, breaking up with someone, and apologizing if you have hurt someone.
Avoiding awkwardness by turning to alcohol in social situations. This is an extremely unhealthy way to treat alcohol and college is a time where you have ample opportunities to LEARN how to talk to people. Alcohol should not be necessary to “have a good time” or meet other human beings.
2. “Roomie, We Need to Talk”
Living with people is hard, no matter how long you have known them. Wherever you find yourself living during your time at Ohio State, if you have roommates/housemates, you will find awkward situations. However, to successfully live with someone–and in any healthy relationship in life–communication is key. Sometimes that means you must have awkward and uncomfortable conversations where you address the things that your roommate does that bothers you or makes you uncomfortable. Many times they do not realize what they do makes you uncomfortable because you never told them, so be direct but also patient and gracious.
3. Traveling Around Campus
You can easily find the students that are glued to their phones, earbuds in, and therefore closed to any social interaction on their way to class, maybe a head nod for the guy that lived on their floor freshman year or creepy wink for the girl in their Biology class as they pass them on the Oval. Rather than escaping into your music as you head to Chemistry lecture, LOOK UP, and enjoy the beautiful campus full of really awesome people! Also, it’s good practice to say “Hi” to the people you recognize (or even strangers, if you are feeling extra friendly), even if you don’t know their name; the alternative of looking down at your phone to avoid eye contact is far worse and far more awkward for everyone. The same goes for buses–you can talk to the people on the bus, it’s allowed!
4. Making Conversation
As you are meeting loads of people, this means you actually have to hold conversations…I know, scary, right? Luckily, everyone in college is in similar phases of life; we are all trying to figure out our own lives and endure similar struggles. This makes conversation easy, so introduce yourself, ask people about their lives, and don’t be afraid to take it deeper than the “Hi, how are you?” “Good, how are you?” interaction that plagues college campuses. The answer “good” really means anything from great to absolutely awful. Ask questions, get to know people, and listen to their stories, because the surface level conversations get pretty old after awhile.
5. Awkwardness in Class
College classrooms are also an awkward hot spot. Many college students use the time before class, or even during class, to scroll through social media, text their friends, or swipe left and right on the latest dating app. College is a unique experience in our lives where we are surrounded by tons of people with very diverse perspectives on life, so take advantage of it! Meeting people in class is an awesome way to form study groups, make new friends who are interested in similar things you are, and make those 8 a.m. classes even more enjoyable as you get to learn about neat things and see your friends, too!
May this picture of me in a very awkward stage of my life (that arguably is still ongoing) encourage you in your pursuit of fully embracing the awkward to make your Ohio State experience a little more pleasant and free from avoidable awkwardness.