Confessions of a Stuyvesant Student
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“The worst form of peer pressure present at this school isn't drugs or anything like that; it’s hearing everyone else turn to Page 2 of the test when you're still on Page 1.” This quote, written by an anonymous junior male, is one of more than 2,500 posts the Stuyvesant Confessions Facebook page has made since its founding in June 2014. The page, littered with rants about the incompetence of the Stuyvesant administration, and random, heartfelt comments, has now reached nearly 11,500 followers.
In an interview with a moderator from Stuyvesant Confessions, she revealed that they usually look for confessions they consider “original” or “juicy.” The page receives dozens of submissions each day and tries to choose ones that are applicable to many followers. “A good majority of the submitted confessions are of people in various grade levels writing edgy rants about their love life or about being very sad and depressed at Stuy,” shared the moderator. These submissions are often repetitive and thus are rarely posted. Occasionally however, they do post ones that genuinely seek advice. When asked about how much the expected feedback of a post determines whether a confession is posted or not, the moderator responded, “As a moderator, I can see the amount of attention and engagement each post gets. It can vary from 3,000 to 10,000 people reached. That shows me which confessions are more appreciated than others, and I try to post ones that will garner higher numbers and pique people's interests versus the ones that people don't really enjoy.” In general, she is glad that the page is able to help operate what the moderators jokingly refer to as “a page that has become integral to Stuy culture and allows all students to express their secrets, give their opinions, spill some tea, or just make a cheesy joke.”
Senior Wesley Wong has submitted a confession to the Facebook page, but it was never posted. Instead of feeling discouraged, Wong said that he actually felt more confident than before. “The fact that I actually put the confession out there made me feel like my confession wasn't so bad after all and that I could actually share it without being afraid,” Wong explained. He feels that Stuyvesant Confessions is an important and very entertaining part of Stuyvesant culture. He shared, “It allows each of us the chance to share our story without having to reveal our identities.”
An anonymous sophomore, who has had two of her confessions posted, shared why she chose to submit a confession to the platform instead of speaking to someone personally. “I find it hard to share difficult things through conversation,” she explained. “Not only is a confessions page through text, so you can put your ideas down clearly, but it's also anonymous, meaning the people you see in your daily life won't know it's you.” The response she received from both posts helped her gain a feeling of validation, as she felt reassured that there were others who thought and felt the same way she did.
Stuyvesant Confessions has since expanded from its original purpose—to provide a place where students can verbalize their concerns without having to reveal their identities—to include a diverse range of humor; a significant portion of posts submitted each day are either lighthearted or amusing. These confessions usually get more attention—as measured by likes and comments—than their more serious counterparts. “Obviously the joke confessions would have more to talk about because it's funnier, but it’s also a bit sad if a serious confession doesn't get any traction because the attention is taken away,” the anonymous sophomore said. In contrast, Wong shared a slightly different view: “The joke confessions are actually very funny and entertaining, and I like the balance it provides with all the serious ones. Of course, the serious ones need attention too, but I feel like the jokes are a healthy reminder that it's okay to not be serious sometimes,” he reasoned. To these more serious posts, an anonymous fan worries that “there are some depressed people ranting on Stuy Confessions when they should be seeking professional help […] people are sending likes and sad reacting, but that doesn't help the creator of the post,” he acknowledged.
The page extends its reach beyond just Stuyvesant. An anonymous student from Townsend Harris High School described the page as “a very fun and interesting way in seeing the relatable life of Stuyvesant high school students.” He came across Stuyvesant Confessions when Townsend Harris’s confession page was taken down and one of his friends referred him to Stuyvesant’s and Brooklyn Technical High School’s confessions pages.
The wide-reaching effects of the page are evidenced by the fact that it has upwards of 11,000 followers. Stuyvesant alumni make up a significant portion of these followers and occasionally even submit their own confessions, ranging from how happy they are to have graduated or wishing that they had savored their time at Stuyvesant more.