Additional reporting by Vivian Chiangenior Steven Liu was at Whole Foods, debating with his parents about which apples to buy when he decided to unveil the big news: he had been admitted to Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
His parents’ jaws dropped. So did the apples.
“The first [noise] was like “What the…?” Liu said. “They were stunned. We bought the apples.”
While Liu initially withheld the information from his parents, senior Nikhil Cheerla was sitting in front of the computer next to his parents, refreshing the page when he was notified of his Stanford acceptance on Dec. 15.
“My parents were really happy,” Cheerla said. “It sort of feels like I worked a lot of my life for it, like four to six years. I’m pretty proud of it.”
Both Liu and Cheerla’s parents have not bragged much about the news to other parents. On the other hand, some of their close friends have taken it upon themselves to congratulate them on their Facebook wall, where everyone can see.
Posts ranging from “CONGRATS ON MIT!!!” to “only mit ur bad” and “but mit was ur safety” can be seen on Liu’s Facebook timeline.
“I feel like it’s nice of them to do that, but at the same time it makes me feel a little pretentious,” Liu said. “[I’m] happy and sad because they’re sincere, their intentions were pure but at the same time it makes me feel uncomfortable.”
For Liu and Cheerla personally, a mention about MIT or Stanford might pop up again in a lighthearted joke during a conversation with close friends, but that’s the extent to how much outward pride they show about their success.