The awkward phase sucks for everyone. It's when your beard has surpassed the 5 o'clock shadow or heavy stubble look, but hasn't developed into a full beard yet. It basically looks like weird messy short hair on your face. It's the first hurtle that discourages many guys from growing a beard - but they shouldn't shave it off! You just have to muscle through it to get to the good part.
2. The Itchiness
Not all guys get itchy in the beard, but most do. The skin underneath your beard is getting dry from hair growth, so you should definitely get some beard oil or utility balm on there to keep your skin hydrated.
3. The Temptation
A lot of people go through the temptation to trim down or shave off the beard as they grow their first beard. You can blend in dead ends and fly aways by trimming them - this is actually encouraged so you continue to grow.
It takes a lot of patience to grow a full beard (or yeard). It's key! It won't happen for you overnight - we all grow at different speeds and at different densities. We are our own worst judges and we aren't patient enough for our own beards. Invest the time it takes to grow, take care of it along the way, and find the products that work for you.