That awkward moment when…

By The Beacon | February 19, 2014 11:48pm
Illustration by Ann Truong

Students share embarrassing stories from the classroom

Olivia Alsept-Ellis |

We’ve all been there once - or twice (or, maybe every day of our awkward little lives). Suddenly, all the eyes in the classroom are bearing down on your slowly reddening face. Perhaps you left your ringtone on ‘loud’ during a test. Maybe you called the professor “Mom” or just asked the most idiotic question imaginable. Embarrassment in the classroom is a right-of-passage in its own excruciating way. Nearly every student has their own, hilariously embarrassing stories.

However, these stories might make you feel like you got off easy. Because we’ve all been there, but maybe it wasn’t ever this bad...

New diet plans upset more than the classroom

Mike Allen, junior environmental policy major

For Mike Allen, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. He said that he has always carefully balanced his morning routine. But a change in habit threw his whole day out of the ordinary.

“Sophomore year, I went through a phase of really enjoying ‘Breakfast Essentials,’ which is basically a smoothie mix. You mix it with water but, one morning, I had the brilliant idea to mix it with milk,” Allen said. “Normally, (the smoothies) make you pretty bloated. But I didn’t take into account the fact that the milk would also make me bloated. But the milk didn’t just compound the bloating. It was pretty much exponential.”

The scene was set for an explosive day.

“So, I’m on my way to ethics in BC and I immediately know that I got a problem. I’ve got a really big problem.”

Allen struggled to balance his eagerness to learn with this temporary bodily condition, which threatened the sanctity of the classroom. He began to suspect that other students might notice.

“I realize that I have to have some way to defer the blame onto someone else. And I picked this poor, little, short freshman girl who is sitting next to me,” Allen said. “So, I’m sitting in ethics and we’re talking about Kant and I’m just farting up a storm. It’s pretty monumental. I decided that every time I farted … I’m just gonna nonchalantly look over at her. So it’s not too obvious that I’m trying to defer blame, but everybody knows that she did it - not me.”

“I did that for the entire class,” Allen said. “Because it didn’t stop for the entire class.”

Shattering classroom expectations (and front teeth)

Brendan Rice, senior psychology and Spanish major

“So, I was in a theology and politics class,” senior Brendan Rice said. “It was an interesting class, but hour-and-a-half lectures can get boring.”

When losing focus in the classroom, Rice iconically chews on the end of his pen.

“I guess I’m kind of infamous for chewing on pens. And that’s what I was doing,” Rice said. “I was chewing on a pen and tapping on the desk. And, I guess I took a big bite out of my pen somehow. Somehow. There was a pretty loud, like, ‘Crack!’” Rice said. “Not loud enough for anyone else to hear but definitely loud enough for me to, kinda, look around.”

Rice said that he looked around the room in search of an explanation for the sound, but found none. Until he noticed something odd.

“I looked down into my hand and there was a little piece of enamel in my hands!” he said.

The enamel was a sizeable chunk of one of his front teeth. Rice had broken this section of his tooth before, so the enamel was weak.

“With 15 seconds, I had gotten up pretty aggressively to go to the bathroom and look in the mirror,” Rice said. “There was this massive chip in my tooth.”

He said that, retrospectively, he should have just gone home at this point. Part of his decision to return to class was made under the belief that the chip would go unnoticed.

“I came back in and - this is my favorite part of the story - we were talking about polygamy (in class). I had a lot to say or at least, I thought I had a lot to say. So I kept raising my hand and answering questions,” Rice said. “I didn’t know, at the time, that you could see the chip when I talked, but you could.”

Rice would realize the visible extent of his damage later. The professor and the other students would realize it immediately.

Bluff-diver incognito

Kelly McFarlane, senior electrical engineering major

“So we were in class calculating an example, and I think it was the velocity, of an arbitrary girl falling off a cliff. Which was not a coincidence,” senior Kelly McFarlane said.

The coincidence she spoke of is the legend of “The Bluff Diver,” the story of a freshman who lost balance and tumbled over the steep cliff’s edge. Most know the story and, if not, are hastily told by upperclassmen. At this time, the Bluff Diver had only just fallen on the cliff two weeks prior, and the story spread around campus faster than a Mehling fire alarm detects a puff of smoke.

But for McFarlane, that story is her own.

“Not many people in class knew it was me. But some did and they were laughing. The T.A. had no idea,” McFarlane said.

McFarlane said she did not want to reveal her secret identity but could not leave class without a viable excuse. Instead, she pushed through the calculations with a forced smile.

In the calculations, each student estimated the weight of the girl falling off a cliff.

“We had to make an arbitrary weight, so of course I made myself a bit thinner,” McFarlane said. “And then we had to make an angle and trajectory.”

McFarlane burst into laughter during this part of the story. She said that she’s regularly endured references to her secret identity as The Bluff Diver, even though it was one blip of imbalance.

No use crying over spilled milk

Samantha van den Berg, sophomore organization communication major

“It was my freshman year, I was in an environmental science class. I had, like, one friend in the class,” sophomore Samantha van den Berg begins. “She would always sit like way in the back and I would sit in front of her.”

Classes can be useful method of friend-making in the initial days of college.

“It was the week after we became friends, and we were sitting in class and she had this soy milk sitting out. But she didn’t have a straw for some reason. And she had it right at the edge of her desk,” van den Berg said. “And I had no idea! So I kind of turned to stretch really slowly.”

Van den Berg recreated the stretch, bending first aimlessly to the left then wildly to the right.

“The second I turned around, I hit the milk and it just poured all over her notebook and into her lap,” van den Berg said. “I turned around and was like, ‘Oh snap!’”

She said the next few moments were spent in total chaos while trying to minimize the volume so that the professor could continue to lecture.

“I just started ripping papers out of my notebook and throwing them at her. Saying, ‘Let’s mop it up! Are you okay? I’m so sorry,’” van den Berg said. “She just left and didn’t come back for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, I’m sitting there and feeling so, so bad.”

The teacher didn’t address the situation, leaving van den Berg stunned with embarrassment and unable to laugh it off.

Who NOSE how far a latte will go

Jonathan Cruz, senior education and English major

“This happened a couple of weeks ago in my political social justice class,” senior Jon Cruz said. “We were watching a documentary … about children living in poverty in America.”

The lights in the classroom were lowered as Cruz snuggled up with a latte, ready to absorb the social justice documentary. Up until a certain moment, Cruz said he had been engaged with the film.

“One of the kids in the movie said that she has to decide between milk or cereal. And, I was drinking a latte!” Cruz said. “It was a really sad moment and I felt really privileged. It made me feel really bad.”

Cruz’s moment of self-examination was a critical message of the film. However, it created a landslide of events.

“So I spit it back into my cup. I just felt so guilty, so I had to spit it out. And I also kind of spit it all over the girl in front of me,” Cruz said. “It came out of nose and so I couldn’t breathe, which made it worse. So it just went all over her. When she came back from the bathroom, to rinse out her hair or something, she gave me her notes. And there was just milk all over her notes.”

Cruz said he was baffled that he had the ability to project a vanilla latte that far.

“How did I do that? How did I get milk all over her?” he said.

Have your own embarrassing moment? Tweet it to us at @upbeacon using the hashtag #BeaconEmbarrassingMoments.

EMBARRASSING from Oxford English Dictionary:

Causing a person to feel self-conscious or awkward


Intense emotional or social discomfort caused by an awkward situation or by an awareness that one's own or another's words or actions are inappropriate or compromising, or that they reveal inadequacy or foolishness; awkwardness, self-consciousness.