Owning The Awkward

Since my arrival on campus, I’ve come to realize that the student body here consists of people who aren’t entirely the most suave or graceful.  I have no problem with this fact, being a little awkward myself, but the amount of social clumsiness on campus could be a little overwhelming at times.  To fix this, we will follow in the advice of Carolyn O’Laughlin and OWN THE AWKWARD.  My personal method of owning the awkward will be publicizing such moments here.  (For everyone who is mentioned here in passing, congratulations!  You don’t have to expend any additional efforts— I’m owning the awkward FOR you.)  For instance:


  • In America, we tend to walk on the right side of the pathway in order to mimic traffic patterns and avoid that awkward moment when you are five steps away from a head-on collision and have to do that awkward dance of let’s-both-go-right, oops, let’s-both-go-left for an annoyingly long time.  This has already happened to me at least six times walking around campus.  I’m all for going against the grain in most situations, but not when it forces me to literally scrape myself against the grains of a tree trunk in order to avoid a posse of power-walking nonconformists.  The next time this happens, I will take it upon myself to walk right through you, nonconforming walkers: you’ll be the ones to feel awkward when we meet again.
  • My friend was interviewing for a class about South African culture where storytelling was an important part of the potential conference projects.  “I could make a quilt,” she volunteered excitedly.  The professor, somewhat nonplussed by this unusual suggestion, asked, “Oh, do you know how to do that?”, upon which my friend had to admit that she, in fact, knew nothing about quilting, and left the room as soon as she could.  Points for creativity! …right?
  • Goodness knows why, but the college decided that we needed more sex education after Lube it Up, the incredibly informative, helpful, and hilarious presentation from SLC ’04 alumnus David Moyer teaching us about condoms, lube, and the like.  A few days following that event, this married couple came to do a presentation.  It was redundant and awkward and boring, unlike the other presentation days before.  Our feelings on the matter were perfectly captured when the woman excitedly told us, “When I say, ‘Are you ready?’, you say, ‘SLC!’  ARE YOU READY?” and stuck out the microphone like a pathetic pop star looking for us to sing the chorus for her…to pristine silence.  It was nighttime, so we could actually hear the crickets outside fulfilling their duty of occupying the uncomfortable pause with melodious chirps.  And blessedly, we finally dispelled some of the awkwardness as the hundred people who showed up burst into uproarious laughter and applause.


College can be a jarring transition from the structured world of high school, especially at Sarah Lawrence.  There are no more restrictive rules to make us march forward at the same time, no set times to eat or to leave.  In short, there is no longer anywhere for the awkward to hide.  Some may think that is a bad thing; I embrace it.  I say, bring on the awkward, it doesn’t scare me.


(Oops, did I step on your shoe?  So sorry!)


Image credit: awkwardfamilyphotos.com

Gina Caputo is a reasonably well-mannered young woman from Norwalk, CT who enjoys the company of frighteningly honest people and the occasional antihero. She steals ideas from her real-life twin sister Maria, a vast array of books, and (of course) the internet. She hopes to continue conquering the Romance languages at SLC.

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