Oh Azia I Hate to Say Goodbye

May 29th, 2007 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen
Palo Alto, we have a problem

The LA Times reported this weekend on 18 year-old Azia Kim, who faked being a Stanford freshman and lived in a dorm for eight months before getting caught last week. Kim was booted from the school she never got into last Monday.

She ate in the dining hall and seemed to do her homework, often working late into the night on school papers. She told people she was a human biology major and talked about her upcoming exams.

Huy Nguyen, who just finished his first year at Harvard, had this to say about his former high school-classmate:

“She’s a brilliant person even though she didn’t get into the Ivy League.”

The Stanford Daily, a student newspaper, also reported this detail:

She lived in Okada, the Asian-American theme dorm, until Monday night, when University staff finally caught onto her ruse.

Some of Kim’s fake classmates said they were “freaked…out” and that they were hoping “she gets help.”

Those future-Pulitzer-winning whippersnappers at The Stanford Daily revealed today that Kim had also duped ROTC into thinking she was a Stanford student, although her motives for lying were less clear since she did not receive monetary compensation from ROTzi. The story suggests that Kim might have been lonely. The Daily also scored a picture of her in uniform.

Azia Kim, on right

Oh boy. This one’s a doozy. Where to begin?

Let’s start with the silly stuff. Kim was hiding out in an “Asian-American theme dorm”? What, pray, is an Asian-American theme dorm? Do they have, like, sushi and Asahi nights and kimchi parties? Or is that just a way to ‘splain a bunch of Asians living together?

On to Kim’s fake classmates. Okay, you were duped. Sure, she took advantage of you, sleeping on empty beds and fake-studying on ratty student-lounge couches that your parents paid good money for. And now you’re “freaked.” I had a college roommate who stole shit–and weird shit, like scissors and lipstick–from me, and that sucked. But GET OVER IT. I’m pretty sure getting shit-faced at a frat party will heal your pain.

Finally, I just want to say that this story breaks my heart. Kim’s desperation to attend an elite college crushes me. She probably needs Lexapro and Klonopin and some good, old-fashioned talk therapy, i.e. “help,” but mostly in order to live down the shame of 1) not getting into a great college, 2) her own unreasonably high self-expectations and I would venture to guess, her parents’, 3) the schadenfreude now exhibited by some of her dupees (“We’ve got Stanford, yes we do, we’ve got Stanford, how about…YOU?”), and 4) attempting to subvert a system that is already corrupt (um, legacies anyone?), in an ingenious, intelligent, albeit self-serving way that would be rewarded almost anywhere else in the world except the ivory tower. The academy hates cheaters, end of story.

But Azia Kim, look on the bright side. Finish school wherever–elite colleges are overrated anyway, trust me–and get on with your life. Life is long, girlfriend. In so many vocations–Hollywood, Wall Street, law, government–your skill set is invaluable. Kick ass where your talents will be appreciated and you won’t have to hide. Oh, and…Fuck Stanford.

Click here for LA Times story.
Click here for Stanford Daily story #1.
And here for Stanford Daily story #2.

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