Extra credit: Awkward 101

Keen to learn the ways of the awkward kids on campus? I’ve got you covered.

1. Running late to class

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Arriving late to a lecture or tutorial can be irrationally agonising. The anxious student has nightmares of arriving late and enduring the walk (or stumble) of shame as they make their way to the nearest open seat. To avoid such a travesty, the awkward student makes sure to arrive at the venue at least six hours early. One can never be too careful, and being two minutes late to class is a memory that will resonate in the mind of an awkward student for months to come.

2. The art of invisibility

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Despite the unwavering effects of alcohol, coffee, and lack of sleep, the student brain can be a powerful thing. So much so, that when an awkward student feels threatened in a learning or social environment, they can construct the idea that they are invisible.

From time to time, a lecturer may prowl the lecture hall in search of a hapless victim to pick on. The awkward student uses their intellectual resolve to sink down into their seat and maintain an intense focus on their desk, avoiding all eye contact. Their invisibility shield may feel so real that when the lecturer in fact calls out their name, they experience a severe jolt to the system, which leads to total erasure of all former knowledge of the class they are taking, and a rush of blood to the cheeks.

The “cloak of invisibility” also occurs in social settings, such as a night in the town, but awkward students tend to shrug the cloak off once alcohol is involved.

3. The clumsy clutches of love


Often, the awkward student fears the day their crush discovers their true feelings, and so chooses to love them from afar. Should the student have a midnight encounter at the club, the following week will involve un-sent¬†texts (“Should I message her or does she know that I am a loser?”) and a routine of spinning around and walking in the opposite direction upon recognition of one’s crush.

However, awkward students are not necessarily destined for a life of solitude. There are, without a doubt, equally uncomfortable souls with whom they’re compatible – also, some people find awkwardness genuinely alluring.

4. Nightlife

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As taught in point number 2, the awkward student excels in “hiding” during social gatherings. There is, however, a vast array of drinks specials on any given night in student towns (such as Grahamstown), which are often more than tempting for the nervous souls.

While it is true that most students out on the town fall prey to these specials, the awkward student uses it as a gateway to conversation, loudly approaching one’s crush, and dropping it dangerously low on the dance floor. It is possible that, while even mildly intoxicated, the awkward student can engage in a combination of these activities.

5. Adult duties


As many students study away from home, they must learn to fend for themselves. At the grocery store, the awkward student propels their trolley down aisles in an attempt to complete their shopping as fast as possible, dodging unwanted meetings with classmates (or lecturers, if you study in G’town).

The awkward student has no choice but to confront their fears and perform phone calls to make doctor’s appointments, calculate budgets (to avoid spending all their money on snacks for series binge-watches), and accept that they cannot get away with wearing the same pair of jeans two weeks in a row. While awkward students struggle with adult-ing, this dilemma affects all students.

6. Excessive irrationality


Above all else, the awkward student fights an internal battle between logic and irrationality. While such experiences as the above-mentioned are common, they are not untreatable.

A valid support group (aka real friends) will encourage the awkward student to recognise when they’re being adorably awkward, and when they are allowing the little stresses of life to take over their existence. It is crucial that the awkward student embarks on this learning curve, or else things may spiral out of control. Things are not always as terrifying as they may seem.


The awkward student is a curious subject on which to study, and there is still much to be explored. This article is based on personal experience, and should you be willing to contribute to the study, please comment down below or contact me here. The more information we can grapple with, the closer we will get to understanding this ubiquitous creature. 


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