Okay, so this title is a bit misleading considering I’ve only been at the University of Iowa for 25 days rather than one month. But, at this rate, I should have another embarrassing moment to add to my list before the month is over! How exciting…(insert sarcasm)
But before I get into exposing myself and my silly mistakes, I should preface that I don’t consider myself someone who is particularly accident-prone or slips up often. On the contrary, I’ve been told I’m incredibly organized, my time management is superb, and I have a knack for connecting with everyone I come across (very extroverted of me!). However, I’m still human, and just like everyone else, I have my moments. It just so happened that these top five embarrassing moments at UIowa happened within the first month of being an official “adult” and I’m certain there will be more as I continue “adulting.”
You may also be wondering why I’m writing a blog post about moments when I felt most uncomfortable, and the truth is, I like to laugh at myself. Taking myself super seriously, especially at the ripe old age of eighteen, is no fun. The mistakes I make, the embarrassing situations I endure, are a story to tell. Like the AJR song you hear twenty times on the radio, “A hundred bad days make a hundred good stories.” And what good are stories if you don’t share them?
So, without further ado, let’s go down the line.
5. Reading smut in public
Starting off strong, we have one of my favorite “college moments” so far. I should assure you that this wasn’t intentional and I was scrolling VERY quickly, trying to hide my blush in the coffee shop I was sitting right outside of when I realized what I was reading.
This semester, one of my classes is “Reading and Writing Romance Fiction” and our assignment that week was to read a romance novel (ironic right?). Anyways, I decided to sit right outside Javahouse (my personal favorite coffee shop) to finish the assignment and just so happened to be surrounded by a bunch of other tables and people who were also working and chatting. You can imagine my face, the sidelong glances I shot towards anyone close, and the rapid movement of my finger to quickly scroll through the pages when I realized what exactly I was reading. Not fun, but still a great story to laugh over.
4. The Condom Comment
This one requires a bit of background. All of the residence halls at the University of Iowa offer condoms by the RA’s door (kids are going to be sleeping together, and rather than trying to prevent something that’s inevitable, the university has taken many steps to advocate for safe sex, this being one of them).
During my first week here, I was exiting my room when I noticed a girl standing in front of the condoms. She shot me a glance as I approached and immediately turned her gaze downward—right at the stash of condoms. It was at that moment that I realized she was waiting for me to disappear from the hall to grab one and make a run for it. And in my mind, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to make a fast friend.
I strode down the hall, waiting until the girl looked back up at me to wink, smirk, and say to her boldly, “Just take one, there’s no shame.”
Immediately afterward, the girl busted out laughing. She held her stomach, eyes crinkled as she told me through her giggles that she was actually waiting for the RA to come out, not waiting to grab a condom.
I remember blushing, but I also remember dissolving into laughter with her. I haven’t seen the girl since, but if I do, I think that’s a perfect origin story for a couple of good friends.
3. Using the men’s bathroom in Daum (multiple times!)
For those of you who don’t know, Daum is one of the University of Iowa’s residence halls (it actually holds the Honor Students!) and is personally one of my favorite resident halls to be in. I have a handful of friends who live on the first floor and I often find myself there to hang out, watch TV, or on occasion, play Beat Saber on the Oculus (I’m a sucker for that game).
However, not all the dorms have co-ed halls, and the floor my friends live on is an all-boys hall. So, whenever I need to use the restroom, I find myself next to a urinal, musty yellow tiles, and usually, a guy who shoots me a very confused look when I pop out of the stall next to him. And every single time as I’m washing my hands, the follow-up question from the guy is:
“You know this is a boy’s bathroom right?”
And every time, I laugh and tell him I know. In fact, I’ve started looking forward to the question, because once I reply, the boys always crack a smile and laugh with me. Because what can I say? When you gotta go, you gotta go!
4. Sitting in a Rhetoric class for an HOUR before realizing I was in the wrong class
If I could give any freshman one piece of advice, I’d tell them to WALK THEIR CLASSES THE DAY BEFORE THEY HAVE TO BE THERE. Because even if you’re like me—stubborn and confident in your navigation skills on a campus you’ve only been living on for a week—you should definitely still walk your classes.
My first class on Monday was my Foundations of Creative Writing class, and I’d left with only 10 minutes to spare—giving me just a sliver of time to make it on the dot. Breathlessly, I hurried into Room 208, sat down completely sweat-slicked, and worse, actively participated in the discussion. I’d already made my presence known in the class by the time I realized I was supposed to be in Room 203 rather than Room 208. But by that point, I had missed my foundations class with flying colors and the cherry on top was having to announce to the ENTIRE CLASS I had been sitting with the past hour that I wasn’t supposed to be there and hang my head shamefully as I gathered my things and headed for the door.
Which brings me to my last embarrassing moment…
5. Crying on the lawn in front of the English Philosophy Building
So, after I raced out of the classroom—face red, throat clogged, and tears swelling in my eyes from embarrassment—I flung open the door to the EPB and started calling my Mom (I know calling my Mom is also embarrassing, but she’s my rock and the only person who can calm me down when I know I’m going to cry). Tearfully, I told her what happened, desperately searching for a private spot, so I could cry in peace. For some reason, I chose plopping down on the lawn as my best option (it wasn’t).
So yes, on my very first day of college classes, I cried on the EPB lawn in front of anyone who passed by and saw me.
And as awful as the experience was in the moment, I look back on it fondly. It’s become a great story to tell and something to take away from my very first day of classes.
So, in conclusion,
Everyone makes mistakes. It’s inevitable, and you’re gonna make them in college. In fact, college is a place intended for mistakes. That’s partially why we’re here—to fail, to thrive, and to fail again. It’s all in the day’s work, so don’t let things knock you down. Stand up and keep moving. Laugh them off. And put those moments in your pocket, because one day, they’ll make for an excellent story to reflect on when you’re older.