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Law student tries homelessness: Tacky or earnest?

Oh, what a burden it can be to lead a charmed life.

A New York law student decided his life was just too darned easy, so to challenge himself, he voluntarily spent half a year living on the street, according to Gawker.

The student, who is going by the name "David" to protect his identity until he has secured a job, told the Observer, a Yeshiva University newspaper, that he wanted to make his "survival more difficult." He had an internship for his dream job, a great apartment and he didn't have any romantic or financial problems.

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Yet he said his life felt "meaningless."

"People that [sic]are experiencing serious things in their lives like a disease or financial problems or things like that, people will say, 'How could you be so ridiculous, how could you say not having any problems is a problem?' But the fact of the matter is, is that my life, it's really easy," he said in an interview, with the headline "Homeless By Choice."

Unlike the truly downtrodden who have no such option, David said he decided to move back into his old apartment last month because he didn't think he could withstand freezing temperatures over the winter.

As Gawker points out, his account of living on the streets seems to simply reveal how he maintained an outwardly bourgeois lifestyle without an apartment to go home to every day. To do so, he relied on his membership with the New York Health and Racquet Club, where he shaved and showered and kept four lockers for his gear, such as dress clothes and workout clothes.

He noted that if only the average homeless person spent $30 to $40 a month on a gym membership, they'd be able to do the same and perhaps increase their job opportunities. "I'm just surprised that people don't do this more often," he said. (This may remind Hot Button followers of another controversial bit of advice.)

He also revealed that he napped at his school, which stays open til midnight, to minimize his time outdoors in the elements.

Since his aim wasn't to actually try to get to know homeless individuals, he steered clear of them because he was afraid they might get upset with his challenge or try to rob him.

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"I just stay as far away as I can. I don't want to take their spots; I don't want to mess with them. It really kind of scares me, to be honest, as bad as that sounds," he told The Observer.

A tasteless experiment? Or an earnest challenge to find meaning in life?

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About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More

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