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Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024
The Observer

Awkward Awareness Week promotes self-empowerment

This week begins the second annual Awkward Awareness Week, which is sponsored by the Gender Relations Center (GRC). According to junior Kimberly Mai, a member of the GRC FIRE Starters (GRC peer educators focused on Finding Identity, Relationships and Equality), this week is intended to be a celebration of imperfection.

Awkward Awareness Week Graphic WEB
Keri O'Mara | The Observer
Keri O'Mara | The Observer

“Oftentimes students at Notre Dame operate under the impression that they need to be perfect because it seems like everyone else is,” Mai said.

Regina Gesicki, assistant director for educational initiatives at the GRC, said many of the week's events will be social media-based, including posting “Awkward Moment” student stories on the GRC’s Facebook page. Facilitators will ask students about their most awkward moments and then post the stories with a picture of the student holding an Awkward Awareness Week sign.

Another social media-based initiative will be a BuzzFeed quiz that will poke fun at Notre Dame-specific moments of awkwardness. Gesicki said she and the GRC hope that the interactive project will create a sense of solidarity.

“As people take the quiz and share their results, we hope to show that even though it may seem like no one else has an awkward moment or 10, they really do," Gesicki said. "These moments, humbling reminders of our humanity, can be learning opportunities.”

Additionally, 12-day Jeopardy champion Arthur Chu will give a free lecture Tuesday evening called “Your Princess Is In Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds,” which will be based on his article of the same name published in "The Daily Beast." Speaking at 7 p.m. in the Carey Auditorium, Chu will explore the new class of masculinity within geek culture.

Mai said later in the week the GRC will release a video featuring Notre Dame professors and faculty members speaking about their most awkward moments. Gesicki said the video will help show that even successful people have awkward moments.

“Even those people we look up to the most have made missteps, and these did not derail their success,” Gesicki said.

Mai said many students hold high expectations of perfection for themselves, and this week is intended to help them relax those impossible standards.

“Even though we know that no one is perfect, we still demand it from ourselves and have made it an expectation of sorts,” she said.

The GRC decided to start Awkward Awareness Week for the first time last year to show people that it is okay to be awkward and to have flaws, Mai said.

“We all have embarrassing moments and, let’s face it, they’re more fun to talk about anyways,” she said.

Gesicki said helping students get over “awkward moments” has even further implications.

“Ultimately, we hope students use this week to think about ways to be more forgiving of themselves," she said. "In doing this, we can move beyond fear of being awkward into authentic relationships with self and others.”