College: The humbling years

Carrying an umbrella shouldn’t feel degrading, but nevertheless, it does. Photo by Jada Gangazha


Attending college is difficult in so many ways. College life comes with reinventing yourself and learning new social norms constantly. What you may not realize before coming to school is that a lot of things can feel incredibly embarrassing. This just adds to the already difficult times we might be experiencing. Daily occurrences every college student experiences still feel degrading or uncomfortable.

A lot of daily, common occurrences that feel embarrassing in college should not be as humbling as they feel. Let me run you through a few scenarios you have most likely experienced and felt very self-conscious while doing so. 

Using an umbrella

A common unwarranted embarrassment on campus is using an umbrella. I do not understand why, but walking around campus with an umbrella feels deeply humbling. I do not want to show up to a class soaking wet, but for some reason having to shake off my umbrella, get water everywhere and then carry around my wet umbrella when entering a building makes the temporary wetness seem preferable to this embarrassment.

Ever since coming to college, I have felt like using an umbrella is embarrassing. So I decided to say f*ck umbrellas, and I purchased myself a lovely rain jacket. Let me tell you, my rain jacket keeps me dry, and it is significantly less humbling than an umbrella flipping inside out when it’s windy. 

Madeline Hoskins-Cumbey, a senior international business major, talked about why everyday actions, such as using an umbrella can feel embarrassing. 

“I feel like we are so engrossed as college students and feel like we don’t have like the right to take up space,” Hoskins-Cumbey said. “But no one else cares,” 

For those of you braver than me, I hope you can use an umbrella across campus fearlessly.

Tying your shoe in public

In case using an umbrella is not uncomfortable enough for you, bending down to tie your shoe while walking around campus evokes an even deeper kind of shame.

Sophomore elementary education major Kate Lindsey expressed her thought process when she discovers that her shoes are untied.

“I would just keep walking if my shoe was untied,” Lindsey said. “I would I would rather trip myself on my sneaker than have to pull over on the side [of the sidewalk] to tie my shoe.”

This is such a simple and common action, yet it can feel so degrading. But when I take a moment to think about it, I cannot remember a single time I have even seen someone tie their shoe on the sidewalk and thought, “That’s embarrassing.” However, if you are still a little nervous, you can always assert your dominance by asking a wandering frat guy to do the dirty work for you. Save yourself the embarrassment and also find a potential date for Valentine’s Day all in one.

Tying your shoe and using an umbrella are tasks that we have all had to do in the past and will have to do in the future, so why are we all still so self-conscious about it? 

First-year mechanical engineering and chemistry double major Allison Wiott expressed how embarrassment is all your own head. 

“Half the time, you’re embarrassed by yourself,” Wiott said. “But [there is] not anyone else who’s looking at you and thinks that it’s embarrassing.”

Tripping on the sidewalk 

Unfortunately, the woes of umbrella usage and shoe tying are the least of the embarrassments the college experience has to offer. One misfortune common to all Butler students is the joys of tripping on the oh-so-lovely uneven Butler sidewalks. 

Hoskins-Cumbey shared her personal experiences with Butler’s sidewalks and how she handles the little moments of embarrassment. 

“[Seniors were] on a mass exodus back home after class, and I right about damn near fall flat on my face walking back,” Hoskins-Cumbey said. “And I’m like ‘Jesus Christ did anyone see that?’ Only, the answer is yes, but you just have to laugh it off with grace.” 

Moments like this are embarrassing, and tragically, people are gonna see you trip, but odds are they have had a similar experience this month. 

These experiences might be genuinely embarrassing or might just be something nobody else ever noticed, but either way, they are an opportunity for you and the people around you to laugh and make some memories. 

Lindsey expressed why she tries to view things that feel embarrassing as a way to make others laugh and have a fun time. 

“I think [embarrassing moments] should just be silly,” Lindsey said. “You might be like, ‘I just messed up in front of a lot of people.’ But it’s funny – you just have to laugh about it. You laugh with people. You don’t let them laugh at you.”

So what if you trip on the mall after you just had to tie your shoe while you’re also holding an umbrella? You, your friends and the strangers around you might have a good laugh, but nobody else on campus is gonna remember it 10 minutes later. 

We are all just silly little college kids that are too consumed with anxiety over what other people think about us completing our daily minuscule tasks. I promise that using an umbrella, tripping or tying your shoe is not as impactful in other people’s opinions of you as you might believe. 


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