A Few Answers To Questions You Always Wondered About

December 20, 2017 | 2 Comments » | Topics: Answers


What is it like to be an MIT student?

The first thing I felt upon arriving at MIT was disbelief – disbelief that I had been admitted to the school that produced Nobel laureates and unicorn founders and made some of history’s most groundbreaking scientific discoveries. MIT had tens of thousands of applicants to choose from to fill their incoming class, and they chose…me? MIT had been my dream college for years, and I used to practically worship MIT students—and now, somehow, I was one of them.

Following that was the joy of being able to connect with interesting people—in high school, few of my friends cared to have deep technical conversations, but people at MIT loved them. I never had to search for long to find a group of friends who wanted to hypothesize with me about the possibility of colonizing Mars or try to estimate the number of blades of grass in Massachusetts.

After this initial honeymoon phase, however, I and many other students became deeply intimidated by our classmates. In high school we were all easily at the top of our respective classes in most, if not all, subjects, but now half of us were among the bottom half of the class. Before MIT, I knew a few people that I considered to be much smarter than me, but it was easy to accept that of all the people in the world, a handful operated on a level higher than I did. In contrast, these unfathomably intelligent people were suddenly everywhere—suddenly I was the one asking others to slow down their explanations so I could understand, instead of the one giving the explanations. Multiple times, my friends came out of an exam laughing about how easy it was while I had only managed to get through half of it. Unsurprisingly, a large number of MIT students are affected by Impostor Syndrome (Impostor syndrome – Wikipedia).

I also quickly realized that academics at MIT were not the same as academics in high school—rather than struggling to channel the discipline to finish all the busy work, I now truly struggled to understand the concepts, and no amount of discipline was going to help me. When I tried to load up on high-level classes and extracurriculars as I saw some of my friends doing, I quickly became overwhelmed and wanted nothing but for it to be over. During the fall semester of my sophomore year (by far my toughest semester), I was going to bed at around 4am on average, and I pulled multiple all-nighters. The struggle is perhaps somewhat romanticized before and after the fact, but while it was happening, all I wanted was another hour of sleep. During this time I grew envious of those who seemed like they could do it all—take twice the standard load of classes, lead multiple extracurricular organizations, and still find the time and energy to go out on Friday and Saturday night.

On a happier note, I found that I felt incredibly liberated at MIT. MIT students are some of the least judgmental people you’ll ever meet, and this created an atmosphere where I felt emboldened to try new things without the fear that I’d embarrass myself. I’d never been much of a performance artist in high school, but in college I joined an a cappella group (in which I stayed from my freshman year until graduation) and gave hip-hop dancing a whirl. This was probably my favorite part about attending MIT—I felt like I’d worry too much about making a fool of myself at other places, whereas at MIT we encouraged each other to make fools of themselves all the time. Letting go of this worry gave me the freedom to try many things I’d never even considered before, and as a result I grew much more as a person than I would have otherwise.

There isn’t really a good way to summarize in a couple of pithy sentences what it’s like to be an MIT student—the only way I could think of to describe it was with a list of largely unrelated paragraphs. Of course, there’s many more nuances that I haven’t covered here, and other people may have had vastly different experiences, but this covers the most important dimensions of how I felt during my time at MIT.

– Thom Lu




What’s it like to be an unattractive woman in a superficial world?

The bad

The good

So, what does it feel like to be an unattractive woman? Like I’ll never be good enough.

– Gayathri Sitaraman




What’s It Like To Be A Cam Girl?

I’ve worked as a camgirl for just under a year and by the end of it I was a mess. I was self-obsessed, massive self-esteem issues, and branching out into more explicit and risky acts to try and maintain my userbase.

You get zero respect from your ‘fans’ who just view you as something to be bought. You’re literally showing that women and their sexuality just has a price tag.

Worst of is that I didn’t really need to do it, I certainly didn’t save that money and just wasted it on drinks and drugs, but I just wanted to party and feel like a rockstar. The job I worked alongside my degree wasn’t particularly engaging and I felt like I was better than that. I’m sexy, young, and smart! I deserve more! So I started doing cam work. Because everyone knows how much you can make!

I felt like I was making every person that connected dance to my strings and that I was in control. I had power. People wanted to see me and would pay me to show them more. They’d beg, plead, and sometimes even demand and it was all down to me.

Honestly I’m glad I got out and I feel so sorry for girls in their late teens/early 20s getting into it think that they’re empowered by showing their bodies online. That they’re taking charge of themselves because they’re strong and they’re able to choose who and where to do so. That they’re safe from sexual assault as they’re not working a stage and it’s from the comfort of their own home.

I don’t doubt that there are people who are legitimately happy with themselves, without a shred of doubt, but I ended up networking with a lot of girls in a similar position to me. We talked to one another in group chats/facebook/whatsapp and became friends. What I thought were ‘real friends’ but it just turns out it was an echo-chamber to try and keep ourselves all sane. That we were doing the right thing. That men are pigs and we were above them. That none of us ‘needed’ to do this but did it for the fun, the thrills, for women everywhere who didn’t have this freedom!

But then you think to the times you degrade yourself or jump to their commands to get that tip, to earn a little more, to fund that party you want to hit up this weekend. To buy this dress. To get those shoes. To cover your rent because you blew way too much last night.

Suddenly you realise you’re in a lifestyle you don’t want, you find it hard to maintain real relationships because most guys don’t have any interest in a girl that’s so ‘easy’ despite the fact you’ve not actually had sex in close to a year. That people don’t value you as much because something half the population give away for love or passion alone you give away for some cold hard cash. Despite the fact it’s all through a screen you’re essentially a prostitute lite, worse than a call girl, and no better than a whore on the corner.

The worst of it though? Other women who wouldn’t dream of doing this, for whatever reason they want to throw out, call you a hero. A champion of feminism! Taking control of your body, your life, and being who you want to be. Not giving a fuck about men and just using them like the animals they are!

They don’t consider the effect it can have on your mental state being bombarded by every level of sexual perversion available.  By having men label you, demand you dance to their wallet, and sate their lust.

You ever seen a camgirl break down? It’s not pretty but it’s easy to find because people always tend to be recording. Is your show that good? Well it could end up on pronhub or another massive site, it could end up circulating your class because you should never underestimate just how much pron young teenage guys can consume. Even if you take steps to hide it unless you’re really buying into the idea it’s empowering it’ll be something you’ve got to carry around with you for quite some time.

It was infrequent that I was recognised, but some people did, and for the most part it was just an awkward phase where I then had to find somewhere else to work. Now and again though some men would think it’s leverage to be exploited, to use against me, and to try and coerce me. Never stupid enough to message me but with the scary confrontations after a shift or after class which may seem friendly enough from a glance but have you utterly terrified down to the soles of your shoes. Sometimes they’ll find out some more information about you, through something in the background, through something you say…by some tiny clue. Then they’ll find out more and more til they message friends, family, and let them know your little secret.

Money isn’t everything, you only have one life, and I feel that I’m constantly going to have this looming over my life. I don’t doubt that someone here is going to tell me ‘It’ll be fine, don’t worry, no one can judge you but yourself’ but at the end of the day unless you go through this or worse yourself you’ve just got no idea.



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