'Unintentional Nudes': College Professors Share The Most Memorable Email They've Ever Received From A Student
College can be a crap shoot, sure, but these students took it to the next level. Here, Professors shared their most *ahem* memorable emails from a student. Enjoy!
A few years ago I was teaching a design studio for first-year students in our program. My boss had enacted a tough attendance policy from on-high, as many of the freshmen undergrads often tried to skip studio. Because of this, I frequently received requests to miss class for stupid things like Football games and house parties... and the requests got more and more ridiculous as the semester went on. One day I was checking my work email and noticed a request to miss class that Friday "because I am playing in the Quidditch finals this Saturday in Canada." Since it was Wednesday and our class was about to start, I decided to confront the prankster in class. I get to class and see the students crowding his desk. Well, apparently he knew I wouldn't believe him, so he brought his gear into class along with an album of photos of him playing Quidditch throughout High School. Now, I am a self-proclaimed Harry Potter fan and I felt so shamed that day I just let his absence slide. When he returned to class, he brought photos of his match and even though they lost the game, he seemed grateful that I didn't penalize him.
This is an email chain from a student I don't think I ever actually saw.
"Can I get an extension? "
"You haven't turned anything all year. I'm not even sure if you've been to any classes. It's December. What possible reason could I have you giving you an 'extension'? "
"I paid for the class so I deserve the credit for it."
"You paid for the chance to learn. You chose to not take that chance. I look forward to seeing you next semester. "
A few years back, I was working as a lab TA and I had an older student who really seemed to resent being taught by a 20-something fellow student. In the syllabus for this lab was a rubric all the TAs had agreed on. Part of the grade was always including units on numbers and we'd take off one point per unit missing.
This student handed in a lab report with zero units anywhere so I followed the rubric and took off points. I expected her to come talk to me, since I told them every day to talk to me about any issues and I'd do my best to give back points wherever it could be justified. I try to be nice to my students because it get it - labs suck and you don't have time to do everything perfectly. I didn't hear anything from her until the next lab was due. She emailed it to me and said, "Since it's apparently okay to take off an exorbitant amount of points for something as trivial as missing units, I'm not going to use units anymore."
I have no clue what the heck compels a grown adult to act like a 5 year old. She eventually stopped attending labs and I have no idea what happened to her.
I had a mother show up to contest her daughter's performance, after emailing me several times about it. Yep, here's the story...
I have checked with the organization on campus that is meant to help faculty mediate these kinds of issues, and according to them this is the worst case of helicopter parenting that they have ever witnessed at this University. So I got that going for me, which is nice. Another thing that I must mention is that I was a TA for the class. The actual professor was there for the meeting as well.
The daughter sets up a meeting with me after quite a bit of pestering, and I reluctantly agree. It is a Friday afternoon. I am already a little POed because I usually work from home at this time. I had prepared a speech to give to the daughter to explain to her that the way she was behaving was unacceptable for a student at the university level, especially at this University (a top school). Anyway, I hear a knock at the door, the door swings open, it isn't the student, it is her mother.
My first reaction was, "Okay, this will be unpleasant, but she, even more so than her daughter, has no power to influence this situation." She introduces herself; she's actually very pleasant. She says, "I don't want to talk about grades, just academics." "Ok," I said, not understanding the difference. The next thing she says though proves quite clearly that she is there to start some crap. She comes out and says, "You are the worst teacher to ever be at XXX University." I don't say anything; I try not to laugh, this is clearly super serious, you guys.
She then slams on the table this binder that contains every single email that I have sent to this class. She says, "Now I am a lawyer..." Now this actually make me laugh a bit, not because of the absurdity of this whole thing, but the way she said it reminded me of Tracy Morgan's impression of Star Jones, if anyone is familiar.
She produces an email. "On such and such date, you used the verb 'suck' in an email." This is true, actually. Part of the class was to have students practice evaluating scientific articles, so some of the literature I sent out were meant to be examples of troublesome experiments. Anyways, I was relieved to hear her use that as her opening gambit because it means she really didn't have any reason to complain. The professor tells her that her daughter is an adult and that there is no need to protect her from bad language, and besides, the wording I used was pretty mild to say the least.
Realizing that her ace in the hole went nowhere, she turns up the fury quite a bit. The remaining meeting consisted of about a half hour of just ranting and raving. The next thing she says is that and this is also true (I feel like I need to keep saying this because no one will believe me) it is "irresponsible" for the University to have a class that was as small as this one. It had about 12 students. She cites some non existent, I'm sure, study, that says that small class sizes are actually detrimental to learning. A mound of evidence and the talking points of every college brochure ever produced say otherwise. She sees that this tactic also goes nowhere.
This is another one of my favorite moments...
She goes on to talk about extra credit, and asks why I didn't give her daughter full credit on the assignment. The Professor and I explain to her that extra credit is just that extra and it is to our (and really the professor's) discretion to give it. It can also be taken away. This is another mind blowing point in the story. It echoes something the daughter had sent to me earlier in an email. The daughter tells me that she wrote an extra "essay." I had never assigned it, and I have never even seen it. The mom asks me why I have not rewarded her daughter for this essay. You heard this right. Both mom and daughter have asked me to give credit for a paper that I'm quite certain doesn't even exist. I am stunned at this point at how calm the Professor was during all of this.
She now just grasps at straws. She mentions that she is an anonymous donor to the university and that if this is not "resolved" she is going to withdraw future donation. The professor says, "Well if your donations are anonymous, then how can the University miss them?" Rage intensifies. She does the whole "I pay your salaries" shebang. Professor replies flatly, "no you don't." She is furious now.
She says that the Professor and I are purposely trying to intimidate her and that she is there to have a reasoned conversation (remember that her first words were, "I am the worst teacher ever"). She stands up, says, "Eff you" directly to me, "Eff you" directly to the professor, and claims she is going to go talk to the dean about the situation. I love this moment actually. Prior to the whole thing, I sent an email to the organization on campus that helps teachers with these issues and explained the situation (that the daughter was being insistent on meeting when she had no recourse). I approached the situation very gingerly, because I believe strongly that every student has the right to seek redress if they feel they have been graded unfairly. Anyways I got a forwarded email from them that was basically a single sentence from the dean herself that said the daughter was being a brat, and I should tell her so. If only she showed up, I would have.
The mom walks out the door, never to be heard from again. If anyone is wondering, the student's grade was NOT changed. However, I continue to have nightmares about this incident.
I had a student who was pretty behind in the class. I wasnt faculty at the time but a student-teacher lecturer. Anyway, in the last week before finals she asked me about extra credit. At that point it was already too late. So she emailed me saying that she would do "anything" for a few extra credit points. The implication was pretty clear. I wrote her back and nicely repeated that she was too late and just needed to focus on the final. That was the end of it, but I was glad when the semester was over. In case anyone is wondering, yes she was very attractive, but I was in a committed relationship and would also never do anything that unethical.
I was a T.A. for one semester in college. If anything, it taught me that I never wanted to be a teacher. When your students are the same age as you, they expect you will quickly cave in, and their excuses sound like they are citing references.
That semester I had to fail one girl because she never showed up to the laboratory sessions, which was mandatory. Her excuses started pouring in about three weeks before the class ended. Here is her best line (keep in mind, these are primarily students in the Pre-Med/Pre-Dental Programs).
I have my period every week at the time that lab is scheduled so its been difficult for me to make it because of heavy menstruation. I know that this may not make you happy, but if you dont pass me Im going to have to take this to the head of the department and possibly to a lawyer because you are discriminating against women.
So, I forwarded the E-mail to the Professor teaching the course, he E-mailed it to his boss, it made the rounds, gathered a few chuckles and that was that. I ended up failing the serial menstruater, and told myself Id never teach again.
Menstruater isnt a word? Really? Yes it is.
Freshman composition class: I had a student stop showing up after the first couple weeks of class but she didn't drop the class. About a week before the last possible drop date (towards the middle of the semester) I emailed her telling her that because of how much class and work she had missed there was now no chance of her being able to pass the class and she needed to drop while she still could. She responded with a long plea to please give her a second chance and swearing she could make up the work (by this point she had missed half the work in the class). I reminded her of the attendance policy that did not allow you to miss more than three classes without penalty to your grade and pointed out that she had missed fifteen classes, which was a guaranteed F even if she did all the work but she continued to plead with me well past the last drop date.
I would receive an email every two or three days from her begging for a second chance, telling me that if she failed the class she would be forced to drop out, providing every excuse about how busy she was with work and family and continuing to insist that she was fully capable of making up the work. This went on for six weeks. I finally got so fed up with it that my last message to her told her that if she had put as much work into the class as she had to begging for a second chance she never would have been in this position in the first place, that I was not going to respond to any more messages from her and that she could take it up with the director of composition if she didn't like it (who I had already discussed the issue with and he had my back).
She was still on campus next semester, though I knew from the beginning that she was lying about being forced to drop out if she failed my class.
The moral of the story: if you start to fall behind in a class go to the professor straight away. Most professors are willing to work with you if you're up front about what's going on. Vanishing and then coming back begging for a second chance is not going to put you on any professor's good side.
Student here. We had to post on a website documents of our writings for critiques. I accidentally clicked nude pictures and submitted. For a document it would prompt a cancel screen since it takes a few seconds to upload but due to good internet connection and small file size of the image it was instantaneous. Also the sidebar has a preview of all files uploaded so by scrolling over it you see a nude picture of a woman. Yeah, not great. Also, the professor can only delete image files apparently. I uploaded twenty files just to put the image down at the bottom of the file queue. Then I had to send the awkward email to my Professor. She responded saying it was a mistake no problem and applauded my efforts to minimize the situation and have the courage to explain the situation in a formal manner.
My most outrageous email was from a graduate student who got a zero on a quiz. The quiz was online and available to the students for a full week. The student simply didn't do it by the deadline. She emailed me saying it wasn't fair that she got a zero because she forgot to take the quiz.
I replied that all her fellow students had managed to remember to do it AND I had reminded them in class to do the quiz. Her reply: "You should have sent an email reminder to us."
Although I didn't respond to her, my internal response was, "I'm not your mom. Grow up and take responsibility for your actions."
I'm a student, but I was emailed by another student and it was pretty interesting. In our Information Security class we had just finished the chapter about trojans, malware, and the likes. One of the things that is quite particular to this story is that we had just finished learning about phishing. Now, for those who do not know, phishing is sending bad links in an attempt to get a naive user to the point where they are willing give up their username and password.
Well, two days after our test on these bad files, a phishing attempt started going around the University. It was sent by a supposed student, trying to get people to attach their University accounts to a study site. After you signed up they would email everyone else in your classes about the supposed study session. Well, one of the kids in our Information Security class fell for it and gave them his username and password. One of the people emailed was the teacher. The teacher called him out during the next class for being naive. Pretty sure he failed the test too.
Not a professor but my professor did show us an email that was sent to him by a student about 10 years back and he kept her anonymous. The content of the email was basically she had to skip class and didn't know how to phrase it so she said "sorry I couldn't come to class my vagina is on fire." End of email. This was a Tuesday/Thursday class. She sent the email on Thursday and she sent another email Monday saying "I will be attending class this coming Tuesday, I'm sorry about missing class. But the fire is out."
She was strange.
I was TA for an 80 person class and would proctor exams for my professor. One student would show up 30+ minutes late for every single exam. Then, when time was up she would be the only student left taking the exam, and when I would try to collect it, I'd get "No, I get extra time because I'm a SNAP student." Essentially she had some sort of learning disability, and she was permitted to take the exam in a separate location with extra allotted time if she set it up beforehand. Every time, I would explain this to her, tell her I had places to be, and take her exam away.
Before the final, my professor told me she got an email from the girl's mother, complaining about me not giving the girl adequate time to take the exams. My professor told her that SNAP didn't apply, and if she wanted more time, she should show up to the exam on time. The mom apologized and said she'd talk to her daughter. Sure enough, on the day of the final, the girl shows up an hour late to the three hour exam, and tries that same SNAP excuse again. She failed the course with flying colors.
Not a prof, but was a T.A. for him and we ended up being buddies after I was no longer a student.
He had a girl that blatantly copied an essay. Like, it had that old-time typeface from papers written in 1930. He showed EVERYONE in the department; no one had to even read it to know it wasn't hers. Apparently she was also a sub-par student at best and was in her 40s getting a degree most likely for a promotion - no judgment, just saying the paper wasn't hers at all.
The prof looked and looked and couldn't find it anywhere, so he had no other recourse than to give her a C for the class because he couldn't prove plagiarism. She was livid, and kept insisting it was hers even after being confronted with the evidence... And then stalked him for YEARS. She would call his home, email him, telling him she would ruin him and blah blah blah. Even after changing emails and phone numbers.
Some people's kids, man.
Earlier this semester, a girl at my university made national news when she emailed her professor asking for her absence from the next class to be excused because she was celebrating a religious holiday. The holiday? Beyonce's birthday.
Here's the transcript of the email:
Good Evening Professor, I would like to inform you that I will not be in class today due to this holiday. On September 4, 1981 The Lord blessed us all with the Goddess that is Queen Beyonce Knowels-Carter's birthday. Out of respect, I will not be attending class today, The Lords Day. For any further questions, feel free to contact me. Have a blessed day and remember, Beyonce Loves You so Bow Down.
Apparently the girl meant it as a joke and didn't actually mean to send it but clicked send by accident.
I'm the assistant for a group of theoretical physics professors at a large university, so I get a lot of emails from students or prospective students looking to get in contact with a professor. This one kid emailed me, and then called me multiple times, asking if he could come in and just tell somebody about what he'd been working on. He kept saying, "Everything they know is wrong. What I know will change Physics forever," and had a general hopped-up-on-uppers tone. But, he couldn't tell me anything specific about his research, so I knew we were going nowhere.
Eventually, the way I got him to leave me alone was to say that no one will listen if you don't have a degree, and I pawned him off on admissions. It was annoying, but I also felt bad because it was obvious that he wasn't quite right mentally.
I used to teach when I was doing my PhD, so technically I wasn't a prof, and I'd say this right at the outset. Also, not sure what it said about me or how the University viewed me, but they always wanted me to teach the first year "Computers for non-computer kids" class. I thought I did a decent job at it, and I didn't fool myself into thinking I was doing anything more than being a cheaper replacement over paying full-on faculty to do it.
So end of term comes, and I think this was the last time I taught so it wasn't like I was a rookie and by then I'd figured out how to do a good job, however I got an email from one of the students to the effect of:
Dear Dr (I didn't have a PhD) Billbapapa,
I really enjoyed having you as my Professor (I was not a prof).
I just wanted to tell you that you shouldn't be so nervous (I wasn't nervous) when you teach. Even though you seem young for a Professor (I was not a prof!) everyone still respected you (good I guess? didn't realize that was in question). We know you were trying hard and we're sure with time you'll become a good teacher too (what? I thought I was at least okay). I thought you were a very nice guy, and I hope you are still teaching this course again next semester incase I have to retake it (which probably explained the email).
Have a great day,
(and i'm not exaggerating the name, it really was one letter, and the email was from a random hotmail address)
So I have no idea who sent it, or if they were trying to make me feel better or worse or just trying to be funny. But either way memorable.
I had a student in an intro social science class a few years ago that wrote a semester-long string of ridiculous emails that still make me angry when I think about them. She was a freshman and apparently having trouble adjusting to life at a big university. She didn't show up to class for the first 2 or 3 weeks, so I emailed to remind her that she was already hurting her grade and needed to start attending or drop the class. The student replied with a long email explaining that she had started having panic attacks since starting college, and the anxiety, medications, and psych appointments that had resulted were keeping her from attending class. She was worried about her grade and more generally about starting college off on the wrong foot.
Well this story really hit home for me. I am usually a skeptical teacher, having encountered all kinds of bullcrap from students, but I suffered with serious anxiety the semester I started grad school after two decades of being a perfect student, so I felt enormous sympathy for this student. I replied with a long, kind email, suggesting all sorts of accommodations that would require a lot of time from me, like one-on-one meetings to help her catch up on everything she'd missed. I even alluded to having personal experience with similar issues and understanding how hard it could be.
No response from this girl for a couple of weeks. I follow up I with her a couple of times, but no response. I'm mostly concerned about her mental health and making sure she doesn't fall through the cracks or spiral further, but there's only so much I can do (and I did everything I could through the student affairs office).
Then, the first exam rolls around, and she bombs it.
She's suddenly emailing me again, grateful for my help and asking to start meeting right away. We set up a meeting. She doesn't show up and never offers an explanation for her absence. She then emails again a week later, asking for another meeting. I give her a time to meet, ask her to confirm the time, and I don't hear anything. A week later, the student finally returns my email, saying she missed the message, and the meeting, because she was at home visiting her parents for the weekend, and she didn't have email access. Except she emailed me FROM HER PHONE. Which I know because all of her messages ended with "sent from my Blackberry." And I emailed her on a Monday for a meeting that would be taking place the following week.
She didn't ask to meet again after that, and I gave up, realizing that, even if she did have a mental health issue, she was also wasting my time and clearly not very invested in the class.
I thought that would be the end of interactions with my blackberry-using student, and it was, until the day after final exam grades are posted. She sent me and the head professor an email that, in a very bewildered tone, asked why I never replied to her email at the beginning of the semester. She wanted so badly to succeed in this class, but I couldn't be bothered to help her when she was suffering. She wanted extra credit for having had to suffer through the indignity of a TA that wouldn't answer her emails and didn't care about students' welfare.
I replied by asking, as politely as possible, what the bloody heck she was talking about. I then copied and pasted our entire email conversation from the semester. The professor was mad that she had lied and left her grade as it was (D at the highest, though I can't remember for sure).
She eventually replied to my email with: "Oh, sorry. I got confused."
This isn't an email, but it's the most memorable student interaction in my two semesters TA-ing for a 300-person American Literature survey class.
Because of the large class size, the professor had the students sign up for a certain week to turn in their big term paper. So I averaged grading about 30 essays a week. Each week was connected to a specific author that the student had to write about--week 1 Nathaniel Hawthorne, week 2 Walt Whitman. You get the idea.
This one student signed up for the week were they had the option to write about either Harriet Beecher Stowe or Herman Melville. It appeared on the online sign-up page as "week 6: Stowe, Melville."
The student wrote her essay about a person named "Melville Stowe" and I'm pretty sure the biographical details and literature references were a combination of Herman Melville and Walt Whitman.
I used to teach landscape architecture at the American University of Beirut. As an assistant professor.
One day a student sent me her design work to review as I had proposed she could do it (she was falling behind and needed more support than the rest).
She sent it along with a selfie of her in her room in comfortable clothes. It wasn't anything sexual, but it was kind of intimate. I didn't mind it... But had a girlfriend at the time and was being a good guy.
I talked to her about it the next day and we had a laugh, but I knew there was more than just that. However, nothing happened.
Comments have been edited for clarity.
How many people do you know battling addictions?
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), addiction is "a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual's life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences."
Hearing from those who have battled addictions––and come out the other side––can be remarkably eye-opening, as we were reminded once Redditor YoshBotArmy asked the online community,
"People who have beaten an addiction... what's your secret?"
"I'd then check off..."
"Alcohol. The "one day at a time" approach was too much. I made a chart with a 24 hour day broken up into 15 minutes. For example: 8:00-8:15. [ ]
8:15-8:30. [ ]
8:30-8:45. [ ]
I'd then check off a box for every fifteen minutes I didn't drink. This really boosted my confidence because although I may have only gone two hours without drinking, my brain focused on the 8 boxes I checked off.
Minutes turned into hours, hours turned into days, etc.
It's now been 8 years."
"You need to want to quit..."
"You need to want to quit, otherwise, it will be a fight against yourself. I quit smoking about 15 years ago after being a smoker for like 18 years. I decided to quit several times but never stuck, always found a reason to fall back into the habit. One day my 4yo daughter told me that she was going to find a way to save me from cancer because smokers are bound to get it. After that, I couldn't stand cigarettes anymore and quit within the week. Never again. I wanted to be there for my girl more than anything else."
"The lesson to take away from this..."
"I realised my binge eating was due to a general lack of self-control. I developed bulimia (exercise is my poison) trying to counteract it, and I still struggle with that.
I struggled with it for years and tried everything under the sun to stop it. It wasn't until I started practicing Stoicism that I started seeing life differently. Then a couple of years into that, I overheard a colleague say "it's all about finding balance" in a conversation about the challenges life throws at you. That quote stuck with me for about a year until I realised I have no sense of balance because I used to be an extremely black and white/all or nothing character.
It's now been 2 years since I completely stopped binge eating, and it was all due to having that epiphany. Took practice to get into good eating habits and a routine with meals but I'm all good now.
The lesson to take away from this - teach your children self-control and the ability to say no to themselves. My parents gave me everything I wanted so I had to teach myself this throughout my early 20s."
"That does not mean..."
"You have to learn to give yourself grace.
Relapses happen. I self-mutilate. I will do incredible for months. Then one negative thought can send me into a spiral and I harm myself.
That does not mean that I undid any of the hard work I had done up to this point. I acknowledge that I made a mistake, identify my triggers, and make an effort to start clear of them. Take a deep breath and try again."
A valuable observation.
"I kicked the habit..."
"I wasn't physically addicted to marijuana, but I had such a mental dependency on it that it was pretty much like being addicted. I couldn't function without it.
I kicked the habit by pursuing a girl. I really wanted to date her, and I didn't want her to know that I was actively smoking weed. I stopped smoking weed because I'd fallen in love with a girl. I'm now married to her, and I haven't smoked weed in over 4 years."
"The most important thing..."
"The most important thing I ever learned was not to fight cravings. I don't mean to give in and use when a craving strikes but for a long time simply feeling the craving was awful. I tried so much to avoid the feeling because I was scared of it.
I saw the suggestion to actually indulge the feeling and just let it wash over you. When I tried it, it was still uncomfortable to want to use but by letting myself feel the craving fully I was able to let it go and move on with my day more easily. Fighting the craving just made me suffer."
"I wore a rubber band..."
"I wore a rubber band around my arm and anytime I thought about my addiction, I would snap it and hurt myself. That way, I associated my addiction with pain and eventually broke my body's natural desire for it."
It turns out this has merit.
"I have no idea..."
"Coffee. I was a serious caffeine addict (like 12 cups a day), and one day for no reason I just woke up and ... didn't feel like having coffee. I've had maybe 5 cups of coffee in the 10 years since then.
I have no idea why it happened, but I haven't felt a craving for it in years. I wish that would happen for my other bad habits."
"I don't think..."
"I don't think it's a secret. Understanding the addiction. Knowing that it takes time for the chemicals in your brain to reset. Knowing it's gonna suck. Being prepared as best you can. Knowing it's going to be a battle."
"I'm not very far..."
"It was really taking a toll on my overall health and one day I woke up and said never again. I'm not very far into recovery and I've never been to a meeting or anything. I know I can't have it around me or I'll relapse."
We are proud of anyone who manages to beat an addiction and who can speak about their experience so candidly. And if any of you out there are struggling, we're rooting for you.
Have some of your own stories? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments section below.
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I'm just spitballing here, but it seems to me that pretty much that weapons of war are among humanity's worst creations. Sure: We live in an anarchic world. States can never be certain of another state's intentions. Conflicts are bound to break out. But in a perfect world––and a man can dream––none of this would be necessary.
It seems I'm not alone in this, either. People had opinions of their own after Redditor Questwarrior asked the online community,
"What was the worst human invention ever made?"
"Cheap and easy to make..."
"Landmines. Cheap and easy to make, but they remain active and people forget where they put them."
"Styrofoam. It's toxic, can't be recycled, and there are better alternatives."
It also sounds horrible when rubbed against another piece of Styrofoam. Torturous.
"Now idiots can connect to each other..."
"Social Media - It gave people the ability to find others and create echo chambers. Before, idiots were isolated to dealing with just a few in their immediate radius of existence. Now idiots can connect to each other across the world and validate their thoughts/feelings."
This is very true. We're seeing the consequences, aren't we?
Ain't built like they used to - because they can't sell you a newer model if the old one is still performing like new.
If companies didn't have this in mind we wouldn't be running out of resources and messing up the planet in search of more. This would create less conflict and way less pollution. Imagine companies actually making insanely good, long-lasting products instead of cheap ones that needs replacing more often than it should."
"Heroin destroys people's lives every day."
"As a medical student..."
"As a medical student, I basically see people every day whose lives have been wrecked by smoking. Kids and unborn babies get messed over by tobacco smoke. Stupid and plain evil."
A great film about the tobacco industry: The Insider (1999). Really makes you think about the cost we all pay for Big Tobacco.
"I can't believe..."
"The concept of Flat Earth. I can't believe people are still stuck in the seventeenth century and still believe in that crap and try to defend it with their misunderstandings of science and physics, as well as pure ignorance."
People believe the most ridiculous things.
"They exist solely..."
"Torture devices. They exist solely to cause harm."
"How am I going to pay you..."
"Overdraft fees. How am I going to pay you EXTRA money when I don't have money?!"
Human beings are capable of so much innovation, beauty, and joy, but threads like these remind us of all the horrors in the world. There's a lot of darkness in humans, too.
Have some of your own contributions to share? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
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Homelessness is an unfortunate and all-too-common occurrence in the world, particularly in the United States. Homelessness has grown to a huge degree, and while most countries have the resources to help their homeless, many choose not to.
It is also difficult to break the cycle of homelessness once you have entered it. It creates a never-ending loop of failed job searching, lost or stolen goods/items/things of value, and stigmatization by society. More often than not, homelessness is begotten by another condition wherein the state or country fails to provide resources--such as mental health.
"Ex homeless people, what are some things people don't know about the streets?"
Here were some of those answers.
A Sad Reality
"My stint on the streets was about six months and due to some bad decisions I made. But what sticks with me the most was the crushing boredom."
"No intellectual stimulus at all because it's safer to keep your distance from other homeless, and you're not going to have a chat with civilian out of the blue."
"So you're completely alone all the time. And to avoid putting yourself in risky situations you stay on the move as much as possible."
"Most cities you can get some day labor work for quick cash but then you have to be careful about people knowing you have cash. You're always on the lookout."
"The only sound nights sleep I ever got was when I could manage to scrounge up enough cash to get a room in a transient hotel for a night and basically pass out from exhaustion."
"Other than that you're sleep deprived most of the time. And of course all this is made worse if on the streets in winter."-HardALee99
The Worst Side Of A Woman's Life (TW: Rape)
"I'm a psychiatric RN who works with mostly homeless people."
"I have heard SO MANY TIMES where women who tested positive for meth have said they use it to stay awake 24/7 to avoid being assaulted by other homeless."
Lucky To Be Alive
"People can and often do develop PTSD from being homeless, especially in rough areas. BF was kicked out at 14 in what was, at the time, the heroin capital of the Northeast, and he very quickly realized that selling drugs was the easiest way to make sure he had food/water/shelter as someone under legal age to work."
"But bouncing from crackhouse to crackhouse— especially as a kid— creates this state of constant hyper-vigilance, possessiveness over your belongings, a lot of hoarding behaviors, etc."
"Basically you wind up living in survival mode the entire time so you don't get assaulted/arrested/kidnapped/shanked."
"To this day if you touch him while he's sleeping he freaks the f**k out. Loud noises at night freak him out, car engines outside, lights in the window, etc."
"He still sleeps better on a couch in the corner of the room than a bed, because 'at least then you have something at your back, makes it harder for people to surprise you.'"
"Nightmares, too. Just... a whole bunch of sh*t, some of which I won't get into because he's embarrassed by it. Here are a few of the choice events he went through, though, just in the first two years or so:"
"He's almost had his throat slit with a half a DVD, woke up with a fork in his chest from some crazy chick, had all his food stolen, even had somebody inject him with heroin against his will while he was sleeping. Sad to think about."
"He's off the streets now, kicked a drug addiction, found a good-paying job, and is about to go to college. But the damage being homeless for his adolesence/early adulthood did..."
"It's going to be a while before he really feels safe. Not to mention he feels like a failure going to college at 30, but... I mean, how many people could have gone through all the horrific sh*t he went through, lived to tell the tale, AND somehow managed to keep going and eventually recover?"-vishuual
Homelessness is even expensive for the country because it leads to more and more problems that resources have to be expended upon in order to deal with the mental health and physical trauma it causes.
Over And Over
"One thing that f**ked me up was my concept of time. Often I'd be up late as f**k trying to sleep and before I knew it, the sun's back up."
"You gotta plan your day differently to use the restroom and it's hard to even find anything 'normal' to do because there are so little resources."
"People don't realize that being homeless is a situation in which no one is really looking to help you to find a sustainable life. It's truly being otherized and ostracized until you die or miraculously get back on the work grind."-SuperDuperChuck
Not An Addict
"I guess the worst part for me was the lasting trauma."
"Sure walking around in sandals because it's all you have when it's raining sucks. Sure sleeping in public is terrifying. Yeah homeless shelters are packed out. Borderline impossible to get a job."
"But the worst part was realising I'd lost some fundamental part of myself and I wasn't getting it back. Innocence maybe?"
"But it's more than that, it's like that Lily Allen music video where she's walking around with rose coloured glasses but the audience sees what's real. Yeah well, you lose the glasses and you never get them back."
"There's nothing that fixes the trauma of knowing people who you thought were your friends or family were fully aware you had nowhere to go and didn't do anything about it."
"You can't fix that feeling of your best friend not returning your texts until you're back on your feet. Or the stares you get in the street when thousands of people walk past and don't stop."
"I'm physically ok now but I'll never see people the same way again. I don't know how to. I used to be a really sociable person and now I steer clear of most people. I don't trust anyone."
"Also as an aside, the people who were kindest to me were always working class. A construction worker who bought me lunch. A taxi driver who got me a blanket. Rich people treat you like utter filth and disappear ASAP."
"I was homeless due to domestic violence as well, but people just assume it must be drugs. I literally barely drink let alone use drugs, but in people's minds homeless = addict."-SunnydaleHigh1999
Stop Stigmatizing Homelessness
"The amount of 'ordinary' people there are that are homeless. I was homeless for about 6 months but you would have never known."
"I had job where I could make just enough to stay fed and get a gym membership. I kept all my clothes in the gym/ back room of the restaurant I worked at."
"I'd hide and sleep in the back office of the restaurant. A lot of homeless people have cars and can sleep in them."
"Gym memberships are the easiest ways to stay clean/ not look homeless. Once my boss found out I was homeless, he let me move into a room at a hotel he managed for free. That man saved my life."-SeamanTheSailor
Food Or Money?
"People seem to have this perception that food is the only thing a homeless person would need to use money on and so they will give food in place of money."
"While giving food is nice, it isn't some one-to-one replacement for money. Food can't help you get cleaned up for job interviews, for example."-CattyPlatty
And homelessness is caused by a number of things--most of which are failures of the government. There are enough vacant homes in the United States for every homeless person to have 6.
Policing Your Own Cleanliness
"What's really important is staying clean. But not so clean people won't give you money if you have to panhandle."
"Don't let people know where you sleep if you can help it."
"Don't take work offers alone, you never know what kind of sicko's there are out there, especially once they have you alone in their environment."-Tired_of_yer_ish
Read That Part Again About How Close You Are To Homelessness
"Former homeless person here (as a child and an adult) and someone who used to work helping folks who were unhoused due to violence get housing:"
"-You are more likely to become homeless than win the lottery. Most Americans (around 60%, that number has probably changed in the pandemic) are one missed paycheck away from homelessness."
"-As shared above, lack of quality jobs, affordable inventory (meaning not enough affordable housing), and integrative and trauma-informed heath care services are the leading causes that keep people unhoused."
"All this to say, you have far more in common with people on the street than you think you do. Please see them as people. I will never forget what it felt like to have someone's eyes slide right past me like I was invisible. "
"No one is expecting you alone to end homelessness, but you can give someone $10 for a laundromat or shower, or say hello."-AbolitionistCapybara
Why Is It Illegal To Have The System Fail You?
"I was homeless with my single mom at the age of 9. In the US it is basically illegal to be homeless but it is definitely illegal to be homeless and have a homeless kid."
"My mom was a great mom. We just hit a really rough patch in the 2008 financial crisis in the US causing my mom to lose her job."
"She could not get another one and we ended up living in her mini van. However she was always able to get me food and get me to school. I am not sure how she was able to keep our situation a secret but I was so ashamed of living in a car that I wasn't about to tell anyone about it."
"I think it is twisted that the government would rather place kids with strangers and give those strangers money to take care of the kid than to help that kids family find stability."
"Furthermore my boyfriend was in the foster system for a number of years and has a few horror stories from it. I feel lucky that I was homeless with my mother and that we were able to get out of that situation in comparison to what my boyfriend went through in his childhood living with abusive foster parents."-psychologicalfuntime
The bottom line is that homelessness is not the fault of the homeless. It is the fault of a system that criminalizes a lack of resources and support, especially in the USA, the wealthiest country in the world.
What would we gain by continuing to criticize and stigmatize homeless people across the country?
It's amazing what the legalities are from place to place. I live in New England, and in Connecticut, passengers are allowed to drink alcohol in the car, as long as they aren't driving. Weed isn't legal there, but open containers in the car? Totally fine. At least we have something to look forward to as we cross the border.
There are some truly strange laws depending on where you go. Here is a list of the weirdest ones.
Did you know that murder is allowed in certain instances, depending on where you go? Talk about scary.
I’m sure no one will test these laws.
Not sure how much of it is true. But apparently if the Swedes cross the border by walking over the ice given its frozen over, (which it hasn't in like more than 100 years) we are allowed to kill them.
The exact gates they have to be within are defined but I don't remember what they are.
Dying is illegal in France.Kate Mckinnon Snl GIF by Saturday Night LiveGiphy
Oh boy. France has some history and a love of regulation. Perfect mix for absurd laws. Quick examples:
It's still technically mandatory to have hay at home in case the king's horse is nearby and needs some... Horses have been a pretty rare sight, let alone kings.
A mayor made it illegal to die in his town. The initial problem was an overcrowded cemetery, but he kinda reached the wrong solution.
This probably isn’t enforced anymore.
There is a medieval law here that has never been repealed: all males over the age of 14 are required by law to practice longbow for at least two hours per week.
Some of these laws are so silly, they make you wonder what event happened that put them in place.
I think everyone has done this.
"Forbidden to pee in the ocean". I live in Portugal.
'Like a piss in the ocean' is literally a euphemism for something not mattering. What's the problem?
Tigers are fine, though.film history GIF by DiggGiphy
It's illegal to bring a lion to the movies.
Somebody better have a conversation with MGM.
You can't carry a salmon suspiciously.
"No officer, I was going to eat it later"
"Seems suspicious you were carrying it around in public. I'm gonna have to take you in for questioning."
What is the backstory here?
It's illegal to sleep on top of a refrigerator outdoors here.
I know this is Pennsylvania, but I forget the exact reasoning, but I think it has something to do with homeless people.
These next few laws will definitely make you question these towns’ legitimacy when it comes to lawmaking.
Poor raccoons.raccoon stealing GIFGiphy
In Virginia, it's illegal to "hunt or kill any wild bird or wild animal, including any nuisance species" on Sundays. However, it is permissible to kill raccoons.
How the heck is this enforced?
I don't know if this is still a thing anymore, but in Texas it used to be illegal to own more than six dildos.
It's illegal to own any at all in Alabama unless the owner has a letter from a doctor claiming a legitimate medical need.
Granted, most of these laws were written a very long time ago. But it makes you wonder, what the heck were these original lawmakers doing? And what event happened that needed these laws to be enforced at all?
If some of these laws don't make you want to be a criminal, then I don't know what will