When I first heard the phrase “Fuck My Life,” I was definitely put off. Not that I don’t drop the occasional F-bomb myself, but more because phrases like “I hate my life,” or “Eff my life” seem like such melodramatic and inappropriate things to say. Eff my life? Really? Come on, your life just can’t be that bad.
That’s why I was exceptionally surprised to learn about College FML, the umbrella organization that runs FML web sites devoted to specific college campuses. While Penn’s FML site is awaiting a moderator to get it off the ground, about 30 colleges already have active sites, including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT, Dartmouth, University of California at Berkeley and UCLA.
College FML founder Jonah Varon, a Harvard freshman, explained why he saw colleges as the perfect target for community-based FML sites.
“I think there’s a desire at colleges to anonymously share feelings,” he said. “College FML fills that need.”
To have a collection of people in such a privileged position whining about how much their life sucks seemed annoying at best and undeserving at worst. College grads say all the time that undergraduate years were the best of their life.
But Varon explained why he didn’t necessarily see College FML as an outlet for ungrateful students, saying that the sites show that “at every college there are problems and opportunities.”
He has a point. And having problems and opportunities at every stage of life (as cheesy as that is) might be one of the reasons for the wide appeal of sites like the original fmylife.com—a place where people anonymously share posts ranging from devastating to mildly unfortunate, and mylifeisaverage.com, which focuses on mundane happenings that people can appreciate. The people who contribute to these sites are from all over the world and are of different ages and backgrounds. Their stories might not be immediately relatable, but the feeling from a small event that either makes or breaks your day is one that everyone knows.
While I haven’t entirely embraced FML, I do enjoy visiting the web site every now and then—not for the sad posts of cheating husbands or bitchy mothers, but more for the funny moments people experience. They must have been embarrassing or awkward for them at the time, but they’re things you don’t feel bad laughing at.
I believe I’m not alone in liking these stories more. When it comes down to it, FML and MLIA are all about familiarity, and the most enjoyable posts to read are the ones that resonate with you the most.
“MLIAs and FMLs are inherently similar,” Varon wrote in an e-mail. “In fact, on many College FML sites, people argue about whether a certain post is an FML or an MLIA.”
The genius of College FML that I didn’t recognize at first is that it provides a way for people in a small community to relate to one another anonymously. When you think about it, students’ anonymous Shoutouts in 34th Street (disclaimer: I’m a Street ed!) are based on the same idea. They can just be more accusatory and thus, inherently more offensive (and hilarious).
A few of the College FML web sites whine generally about school work, lack of a social life, roommate troubles and other typically college things. But the better ones reference specific things only students at the school can understand. The more relatable these references are, the more other students can appreciate them.
I was skeptical at first, but I think a Penn FML holds definite potential. We have a lot of creative and funny people on our campus, and I think the site is something students would actively participate in. If you’re looking to make some cash, College FML splits revenue from web advertisers with campus site moderators. Let’s jump on the bandwagon and get pennfml.com up and running! After all, our lives sometimes suck too.
Katherine Rea is a College junior from Saratoga, Calif. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.Comments powered by Disqus
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