It might be expected of us to write about certain subject matter regarding graduation, leaving Goshen behind, moving on to the real world or red-headedness and porcelain skin (this would include nostalgia, sentimentality and sun block), however, spending close to four years on Goshen College’s diverse campus, we can testify to the amount of awkwardness that can be witnessed amongst faculty, staff and students alike. As such, we would like to challenge each and every one of you to accept the little awkward parts of life that truly make people who they are.
We are in agreement that most people can relate to either being awkward or being in awkward situations. Let us first attempt to clearly define the word, “awkward.” Turns out, “awkward” has many definitions, including “causing difficulty; hard to do or deal with” as in “it is awkward to maneuver past the narrow Fusion section in the Rott when it’s crowded.” Or “causing or feeling embarrassment or inconveniences”, as in “it was really awkward when I dropped my plate in the Rott and everyone stared.” Or, finally, “not smooth or graceful; ungainly,” as in “when I was trying to steal five cookies and a banana from the Rott, and Elsie caught me, it was really awkward.” According to Emily Roggie, the term “awkward” can be shortened to just “awk,” but we don’t recommend that. One syllable is not enough to fully describe its vast meaning. Besides, the word “awk” just sounds awkward.
Awkwardness can strike at any moment. If you do encounter an awkward situation, don’t sweat it. You can just harness that energy to get through the day, because who doesn’t enjoy a little awkward storytelling time? And if you happen to find yourself with extra awkward energy, you can just pass that energy off to someone else through some awkward act of your own.
It is our belief that everyone has a little awkwardness in them. And if you believe the contrary, you are fooling yourself; some people just hide it better than others. Awkwardness manifests itself in our collective unconscious, and finds its outlet when we feel particularly unwieldy, cumbersome or uncomfortable. One can reverse this by being outwardly awkward. For instance, we find it diverting to be overly awkward with people just to test them and see how they react. This could be construed as a perverse game, but really it’s good practice for the real world.
It is easy to connect and bond with awkward people because they tend to show their true selves. So moral of the story, embrace your awkwardness, entertain awkward ideas, talk about awkward things and put yourself in more awkward situations. Because next time, somebody asks you if you’re ready to let the dogs out and resumes to shuffle back and forth singing quietly to themselves, you’ll be able to handle any awkward situation or person that comes your way. So go forth and be clumsy, ungainly, uncoordinated, graceless, gawky, blundering, clod hopping and maladroit.
Taylor Stansberry is a communication and theater double major from Greentown, Ind.
Rachel Funk is a biology major with an environmental science minor from Gallup, New Mexico.