The 12 Awkward Moments You Can’t Avoid When You’re In College


1. The Post Makeout Encounter

The person you recently endured a mildly disappointing dance floor makeout with is on the other side of the lawn. It’s too late to change course without it being obvious — a few more steps in your current direction, and you’ll brush right by each other. Do you: 

  • A. Determinedly stare at your phone
  • B. Look slightly away, hating yourself
  • C. Date for 14 months

2. The Collective “Not Doing The Reading” Shame

“I know you didn’t do the reading, but I’m gonna act like I assume everyone did. And then revel in the fact that you guys are all really uncomfortable right now.”

– Professors

3. The Mistaken Wave

When your girlfriend is across the street, it’s generally a great move to wave to her — a slightly obnoxious, yet overall loving method of letting her know that you’re thrilled that you get to send kissy faced emojis to her. 

It’s pretty awkward when you do that, and the person across the street isn’t your girlfriend. 

4. The Fading Acquaintanceship 

You met this person the first week of school, during one of those brutally uncomfortable orientation events where you’d be like “where are you from,” and they’d be like “Rhode Island,” and you’d be like “that’s a state”, and they’d be like “I know, does this mean we can say hi to each other?” 

First semester, it was a given that you’d say what’s up to each other — neither of you knew a ton of people, so it was important for your self-esteem that you acknowledged all of these surface level “Rhode Island is a state” friendships. But now that you’re both #established, its unclear whether or not you’re supposed to say hi to each other.

So begins the mystifying process of pretending to not know each other for the next 3 years. 

5. Studying Alone Next To A Loud Group 

Have you ever been looking over your Econ notes at your hip, Phoenix-playing college coffee shop, only to be completely thrown off by the sudden appearance of 5 people talking loudly about how Kayla is doing a horrendous job organizing the mixer? The worst.  

6. The Flaunting Ex

If you date someone in college, you’ll probably end up breaking up. Like movie studios and terrible sequels, this is generally what happens. 

Anyway, chances are that your ex will start dating avoiding the what are we? conversation with someone new. Since you all go to the same college, there’s also a good chance you’ll see them together in public. (why date someone if you can’t show them off in public, thus assuring all the single people that you are, at the very least, 1,000 times better than them?) 

Terrible situation to be in, tremendous situation to observe.

7. The Overage ID Rejection

Few things are as confusing as being 22 years old and getting turned down from the place you’ve been going to since you were 19. In college towns, this is far from uncommon.

8. The One-Sided Stop And Chat 

College, just like real life, is filled with people who think they’re a lot better friends with you than they actually are (and vice-versa). This can create some brutal stop and chat scenarios; they’ll think you’re on that level, when in fact all you’ll accomplish is a particularly harrowing post small-talk lull. 


9. The PSLA (Professor Spot Look Away)

Seeing a Professor outside of the classroom setting is like watching Seth Rogen play a grownup — you’re not really sure how you feel about it, but you reluctantly understand why it’s happening. Just like Seth Rogen needs to start playing young dad roles, Professors need to exist and buy groceries. 

When you see a Professor in public, your best bet is to look away, and pretend you didn’t see them stocking up on Wonder Bread. No Professor wants their students to know that they buy Wonder Bread. Nor does a student want to know that the person determining their future is doing so while eating a sad ham sandwich.

10. The Gym Tiptoe

Have you ever been to the gym at the same time as someone who you really, really need to avoid making eye contact with? In college, this isn’t so much an exception as it is the norm. Best perfect your tip-toe. 

11. The “Don’t Worry, People Are Coming” Pre-Party Tension

College is filled with moments that reek of a pungent “this is supposed to be the time of our lives, are we fulfilling our destiny?” desperation. There are few things that encapsulate this better than a fraternity house between the hours of 9 – 10 30 pm –when the party is supposed to have started, but only consists of:

  • A few dudes texting fervently, trying not to let on how stressed they are
  • 2-3 self-important dudes low-key furious at everyone else, disappointed at themselves for overestimating the people they’ve decided to associate with. 
  • One dude drinking his 5th cup of jungle juice on the couch, staring into space not interested in anything but how deep he is. 

12. The Unintended Long Walk With Someone You Can’t Hold That Long Of A Conversation With

It was only supposed to be a 30 second pleasantry exchange. But it turns out Fred isn’t going the other way. Nor is he turning at the end of this block. Or this one. Or this one.

That emoji with eyes real wide. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Click here to read more about college life…and what happens next.

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