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What it means to live in the age of confessions

If you’ve never heard of NUS Confessions, you’ve probably been living under a rock. Get out from under that rock now.

NUS Confessions is a Facebook page on which administrators – who are anonymous as well – post up personal confessions submitted by people via a form that anyone can access. Confessions approved by the admins are made available to the public eye, where people are free to like or comment on anything they wish.

I’m sure you haven’t just noticed NUS Confessions. Pages like SMU Confessions and NTU Confessions have also sprung up, with the various Junior Colleges and Polytechnics following suit. Created on January 26 2013, the NUS Confessions page on Facebook has received more than 18,000 likes in less than three months. It is on its way to shaping the NUS culture in a way that no one, not even the administrators, can predict, I’m sure.

Confessors confess about a myriad of things: Guys and girls lament about secret crushes, residents complain and comment about the people and facilities among which they live on campus, drivers offer rides to hitchhikers who can’t get onto any of the shuttle buses, and once in a while someone creates a troll confession that nobody take seriously, but everyone gives attention to.

On the rare occasion, you read touching posts about people who have dealt with hardship and have pushed through with resilience and courage. Such confessions elicit in you sympathy, compassion, and even the gratitude that you are far better off than what you believe yourselves to be. As you smile at your smart phones and wipe the tears that creep down your cheeks, you think that perhaps, just perhaps, grades aren’t everything. Life is so much more than getting a good CAP.

As if.

Whether or not reading a confession makes you feel happy, enraged, compassionate, or just plain insulted, you’ve got to admit it: It is so damn addictive. Like Twitter or Instagram, you spend your bus and train waiting times gleefully scrolling through the confessions that have been freshly added to the page.

NUS Confessions is more than just good reading

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material when you are bored of doing your academic readings. Whenever a particular post garners a significant amount of attention and number of likes, it draws commenters who either support or criticize the confessor’s thoughts and behaviours. People usually act on their first instinct to respond to it, disregarding the possibility that the confessor may simply be looking for some emotional support, not condemnation.

Confessing anonymously is, in fact, an act of bravery. Though the confessor’s identity remains unknown, the confessor’s desire not to be judged can be overridden by a commenter’s right to his own opinion. NUS Confessions is not a platform on which people can voice out their thoughts or acts of shame and embarrassment with anonymous ease; it is a place where vultures sit in the shadows, waiting on their next victim to reveal their deep, dark secret, before they launch their attack. Like class participation enthusiasts, many of these ruthless commenters tear up a heartfelt confession bit by bit, regardless

of whether it deserves such flaming. It’s almost as if they were evaluating a Do You Agree? essay question. I’m sure you’ve witnessed this all-too-familiar sight.

I personally enjoy reading NUS Confessions. Though often plagued by harsh and critical comments, I try to ignore them and instead look forward to the confessions or comments that remind me that there is still reason to have faith in humanity. Many of these posts are overwhelmed with encouragement and support, and this is evident enough to show that the NUS community ultimately does promote the growth of each other’s emotional well-being.

By: Jo-Ann Tan

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