Students make Confessions Via Postcard

Alexandria Smith, Copy Editor

Students can anonymously profess – confess –  their most intimate secrets by writing them on 4-by-6-inch cards and dropping them in a “Post Secret” box provided by Multicultural Education.

The post secret phenomenon, which has grown to become a website and five-book series, is a community art project that enables people to express secrets without judgment, said Multicultural Student Outreach Coordinator Maria Cabrera.

“I think I wanted to do it to give people the forum to express themselves anonymously if they wanted to. I think a lot of people were experiencing a lot of things about bullying and just self-discovery, and also doubt, and I think it was a moment of uncertainty,” said Cabrera, who put out the box following the Bullying Truth Talks series during the fall semester.

But Cabrera also believes that being able to share a secret can be beneficial particularly during college, when students feel many changes in their lives.

“I just wanted to put a box out there where people can anonymously put in their thoughts or whatever they were feeling, or something that they thought made them feel different, and that they could express themselves and somebody would be witness to what they had to say, even if they don’t know,” said Cabrera.

Sophomore computer science major John Whitesell  believes the confession box will be helpful to students.

“I think it’s a good thing to be able to get that kind of stuff off of your chest because, even sometimes, when you have like a Facebook or a blog, there are people you know in your life who would follow that kind of thing. You might not even feel comfortable putting your secret on there because – who might be following you? Now, if you have a completely private place to put your thoughts, it could be really beneficial to get that out,” Whitesell said.

Students submissions include prank “secrets” which consisted of movie lines, comments about religion and serious illness.  Some said they feel lost.  Cabrera said students expressed many things and she feels the frankness and raw honesty of many submissions is normal.

“Sometimes it’s easier for people to tell their whole life story or something about them to a complete stranger rather than somebody that they’re close to,” said Cabrera. “I think it’s easier for people to tell things about themselves to someone who they don’t think would judge them because they don’t know who they are. They don’t have that history with them, and that’s what I kind of wanted to do with the Post Secret Box. I wanted people to say something or be completely themselves and have no limitations in what they could say.”

Whitesell considers a Post Secret submission could be someone’s first step toward seeking assistance.

“It might be a good first step for them, like even saying that you have a problem is the first step, for something that you might need help with, so it might be a good jumping point to just get it out of your head first and going from there, whether it’s therapy or being able to talk about it later,” said Whitesell.

Cabrera feels even one submission in the box is a success.

“I think if a person wanted to write something and put it in there, it takes a lot of courage because they had to do it when the building was open. So, for them to, like, look around and see that nobody was watching them and they can out it in there, or if anybody came in here and wanted to put one in there [the box], that’s success because they wanted somebody to see it. They wanted somebody to see a secret about themselves.”

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