In the Spotlight: Madeline Huerta, Founder & Overseer, College Problems

Madeline Huerta is a genius. She has turned other people’s problems (and some of her own) into Internet gold.

Huerta is the creator and overseer of College Problems, a Tumblr site that offers undergraduates a spot to vent about everything related to higher ed. that irks or annoys them. The user-submitted entries typically run only a sentence or two, almost always with a set-up and a punchline and sometimes without proper capitalization and grammar.

A quick sampling of students’ admitted college problems: “Paper-thin dorm walls. … So much homework that you don’t know where to start. … Laptop dies [so] forced to pay attention during class. … Open a bag of chips in the quiet part of the library [and] receive death stares. … Two water bottles left in the fridge [and] you don’t remember which one is vodka.”

Madeline Huerta is a Boston University rising sophomore majoring in marine science.

Below, Huerta talks about the secret to the success of College Problems and offers her 10 favorite posts.

How did you come up with the idea for College Problems?

I came up with the idea for College Problems one day when I was just on Tumblr and supposed to be writing a paper. There are a bunch of other blogs similar to mine — that make little blurbs about a certain topic. I was feeling kind of frustrated with college at the time, so I figured I’d make a college-themed one. ULTIMATE PROCRASTINATION.

So I wrote out a bunch of different name ideas, like “Why College Sucks”, “College Sucks When…” But then I came up with College Problems, and the name stuck. So I came up with a design, wrote out a bunch of College Problems, and uploaded them to Tumblr. I didn’t follow people or ask people to follow or promote me on their blogs. I uploaded the images, tagged them, and within a few days, a lot of people started taking interest.

What is the secret to its success?

I think the main reason people are drawn to the site is that they can relate to almost everything I post. Some College Problems are funny things that everyone goes through, and some are more serious issues that students have to deal with. It’s a site that people visit and go, “Wow, I thought I was the only person with this problem.” Students read College Problems and submissions from other students and realize they’re not alone.

Memorable CP moments.

Two moments immediately come to mind: (1) At the beginning of May, a girl from my school’s student-run newspaper interviewed me and wrote a feature about College Problems. When the article came out, I was amazed at how many BU students came up to me and were really surprised and excited that I ran College Problems. Up until the end of the year, I’d be walking to class and people I didn’t even know would compliment me on the blog. It was pretty surreal.

(2) The second is more of a series of moments — I think it’s wonderful when people send me messages on Tumblr telling me how much they love the blog and how much it’s changed their view of college, knowing that virtually all students share the same problems. Knowing that the blog is so influential and reaches so many people is unbelievable. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that I make one post and it reaches 67,000+ people.

Any advice for students interested in launching something similar to CP?

Choose something relatable. Choose a big group of people.  For example, college students all over the world relate to College Problems. Another tip is to not force your blog/website on people. It’s obnoxious when people send me messages asking to promote their new blog. It’s good putting your website out there, but in my opinion, if people like your blog, they’ll follow it.

What have been your favorite submissions so far?

Biology 108 inspired this one. As soon as I finished reading a chapter or completing a lab write-up, there was more work. This is one of the most liked/reblogged posts as well.

So relevant.  I live in Chicago and almost all of my college friends live on the East coast.  I don’t get to see them all summer. It’s rough.

It couldn’t be more true. This semester I didn’t get much sleep.

This was me spring semester. I didn’t have any classes before 11, and it still felt too early sometimes.

Those girls you hear in the dining hall on Sunday mornings, going on and on about the night before. Obnoxious.

Judging by how fast this year went by, graduation seems right around the corner. :( Sad.

No one to bring you soup, make you tea, wake you up when it’s time to take more Advil. Laying in bed sick, all you can think is, “Why isn’t my mom here?!”

It’s happened too many times. I’m not awake until I’ve had some coffee.

When I tell someone I’m a marine science major, the the most common response is, “So like . . . fish?”  Yes, fish.

My mom and my friends’ moms do this all the time. I put this one up during finals, and a few hours later my mom calls me and asks to talk for “just a few minutes.” She thinks she’s funny.

5 Responses to “In the Spotlight: Madeline Huerta, Founder & Overseer, College Problems”
  1. faheem says:

    She has got 771 college problems. Really a good website, she has made.

  2. jerry vaz says:

    college is a funny place to be,,i think i could get to colelge problems number 1000,there are so many of them to relate to!

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