Veronica Mathy, Contributor
“Someone kindly put my clothes in the drier instead of leaving them sitting in top of the washer; this is a once in a lifetime occurrence of the laundry rooms on campus.”
“Lewis is perfect when the weather is nice.”
“I eat some of my food while waiting in line at Charlie’s, just so I don’t have to pay for it.”
“Den smoothies are my addiction.”
“I can no longer count on one hand the number of times I’ve slept in my car on campus.”
“People always said college would be the best years of my life, but I never made any friends here. I feel so alone.”
Around the halls of Lewis University, students whisper to each other about the latest post from the Facebook page “Lewis University Confessions.”
The page, created Feb. 26, includes a link to an anonymous comment box where students and alumni submit their thoughts from around campus, and the page admin posts the confession publicly without ever knowing who submitted it. Because of the private nature of the confessions, the Lewis student administering the page also stays anonymous so no one knows who is reading their submissions.
“Many colleges have their own ‘Confessions’ pages, and I decided to start one for Lewis to give people the chance to communicate their feelings of college life with each other without feeling embarrassed and uncomfortable with others knowing the face behind these thoughts,” the page admin said. “The page offers anonymity for those who would like it, which allows students to be candid and open about their experiences here at Lewis, in an honest way. The great thing about the page is seeing everyone reach out to one another to help each other, give advice or just support each other even though they aren’t always aware of the person behind the thought.”
The process for posting confessions is straightforward.
“I try to find a variety of topics to post on while also ensuring that almost every story has an opportunity to be featured on the page,” the page admin said. “It is difficult to post all of them because we get dozens a day, but people are encouraged to send their story in again if it is not posted within five days of sending it to us. We do reject a few stories here and there that condone drug use, vandalism, or extreme profanity or attacks on another person. These kinds of stories are not what this page is about. If the subject of your story involves something illegal, or a threat, don’t bother to send it in.”
Confessions pages for other schools include Northern Illinois University, University of Illinois and Illinois State University. As these are larger schools, while having a bigger pool of submissions to choose from, they also tend to have more vulgar (and possibly outright fabricated) stories posted. However, that does not stop LU Confessions posts from trying to steal their thunder: “I go to other schools’ confession pages and copy stories from there to make ours more interesting,” wrote one submitter.
In response to the flood of complaints posted on Confessions, a separate Lewis University Complaints Facebook page was created April 4.
“I would like to state that this site wasn’t set up to be a complaint site,” the Confessions page admin posted. “Although many of the submissions are about school complaints, friend complaints and general life complaints, the page is meant to be a place for honesty. This honesty includes the postive aspects of life also. Feel free to send in happy thoughts and moments about the school or your college experience. We love optimism. To be clear, profanity IS allowed, we just ask to keep to a minimum.”
There is a wide variety of opinions from Lewis students on the content of the Confessions page, both for and against its use.
“I believe that it is more harmful in long run just because there can be harmful threats,” said senior sports management and social work major, Annemarie Kinney. “I know that there was one post about someone feeling lonely and that they wish they had someone to talk to. I said that there are counselors on campus and that I would also be willing to give advice or they needed someone to talk to. I am someone that likes to help others.”
Some students, like junior philosophy of law major Patrick Axtell, have a neutral view.
“I don’t really think it’s helpful or harmful, honestly, because for the most part, it’s things people would expect college kids to do,” Axtell said. “I’ve never submitted anything to it myself, and I don’t really read it often, but if people get some entertainment out of it, I wouldn’t complain.”
Even faculty members are reading the page. Director of first-year writing Dr. Valerie Perry Rendel called it “fascinating.”
“People are probably a lot more comfortable opening up in an unofficial forum rather than an ‘official’ one,” Perry Rendel said. “I think I will be looking at it once in a while from now on.
However, if students are looking for solutions to problems, they should try seeking official outlets first.
Perry Rendel found a confession about writing placement relevant to her position as director of first-year writing, “but alas, (she) can’t do anything about it because it’s 1) anonymous, and 2) the end of the semester.”
There is no commentary from the page admin on individual submissions, as he or she says the page is busy enough without it.
“Because I’m the page administrator, I try not to comment on others’ confessions or post my own opinions unless necessary,” the page admin said. “Therefore, I don’t post any of my own confessions, either. We have enough being sent in as it is. We try to post as many confessions as possible within the day, but due to the overwhelming amount, it might take a day or two for yours to appear.”
The Lewis University Confessions Facebook page is in no way endorsed by the Lewis University administration.