Most Awkward Dartmouth Situations and How to Handle Them

By PJ Bigley | 4/12/16 8:35am

I am an awkward person. I came out of the womb that way, and frankly, I see no signs of improvement. The fact that I just used the word “womb” is in itself pretty awkward. You might be thinking, “Everyone says they are awkward.” You are right, except that unlike most people, I never really grew out of that middle school phase where true, unadulterated awkwardness makes its home. And given my lifelong knowledge of dealing with mortifying situations, I am now willing to pass on to you some sage advice.

Here are some awkward situations that Dartmouth students frequently experience and how you can better handle them:

Awkward Situation: You wave back at someone only to realize they were waving at the person behind you.
Solution: Pretend you were waving at the person behind them. Now they feel like an idiot! Mwahaha!

Awkward Situation: You make your way to the Hop for your daily tender queso. You hang a right to get on the fry line when someone facing you turns in the same direction. You shoot each other an awkward smile and say “sorry,” and then spend the next 30 seconds trying to get out of each other’s way. You jerk back and forth in the same direction, and waste time engaging in what looks to be a weird interpretative dance, when you could otherwise be waiting on line for artery-clogging deliciousness.
Solution: Charge your awkward, impromptu dance partner. Do not try to get out of their way. This technique spares you the game of mental musical chairs (Are you going left or am I? No, you go right. No, not my right, your right!) If you run straight at them, they will almost definitely get out of your way. Because if they don’t move, they are going to get bowled over, and that seems like good enough incentive if you ask me.

Awkward Situation: You trip and fall in public. This really does not require further explanation, but I’ll list some of the places where I have tripped so you can brace yourself for next time: (1) Foco, near the plate drop-off/stairs to NARP castle; (2) the stacks stairs or literally anywhere in the library after a long night of drinking coffee and doing work; (3) any dorm bathroom; and (4) the Green, mostly in the winter because there is never enough salt on this campus. (I would like to petition the College to give me a golf cart and some salt so that I can personally salt this campus myself. I am sick of nearly shattering my coccyx every time I walk to class.)
Solution: If you trip and fall, immediately get up and start a chorus of slow claps. That way, no one else can start one for you (it also just isn’t fun to mock someone who is already mocking themself).

Awkward Situation: You are in the shower when all of a sudden you are struck with an urge to belt out Justin Bieber songs. ♫ Ooh, ooh. Ooh, ooh. Is it too late now to say sorry? ♫ (Yeah, it’s probably too late to say sorry for my atrocious singing.)
Solution: No solution necessary. Barring a situation in which you run out of the shower and take a naked lap down the hall, you are completely anonymous. Sing on.

Awkward Situation: You try to pay with your Dartmouth ID in town.
Solution: This is not all that awkward. Local shop owners have seen this before and will definitely see this again. Laugh it off and offer a real world form of payment. And consider yourself lucky that you didn’t try to pay with a bag of baby carrots at the Hop like I once did (I’m serious).

Awkward Situation: You lost your bathrobe to controlled storage and now every night, you are stuck trying to make it to the shower (which of course is around two corners and near a stairwell) in a towel that is way too short for you.
Solution: There is no real solution to this problem. Generally speaking, a lot of people will see you during your near-naked run to the bathroom. Have fun with it. Treat it like “Mission Impossible.” Hum the theme song and everything. In my experience, when people hear or see you coming, they will run in the opposite direction anyway.

And just remember, if you are ever feeling down about your awkward experiences, Michael Cera’s life will always be more awkward than your own:

PJ Bigley