ICONfront interview article vol.21 features the organizers of ICU confessions, who are in charge of collecting questions on ICU students and their worries.
We asked them what they look out for when posting, what keeps them moving on, and the reason behind why they remain anonymous.
Please check it out.
Q1. Could you tell us about your activities in ICU confessions?
We run a platform for ICU students to share their confessions and secrets on Instagram anonymously. We work daily to provide a safe environment for ICU students that want a safe place to share their thoughts and concerns. We mainly collect confessions and questions through the google forms on our Instagram account, and create either a post or a story based on the answers. We also share information on counseling centers to take on the role as a support system for those that are struggling with their personal issues.
Q2. When did you start your activities as ICU confessions?
We initiated our activities this spring semester. When we were thinking about a platform for ICU students to open up, we remembered seeing confession accounts in universities overseas (such as @middconfessions, @smuconfessionspage). We thought this was the perfect fit with our goal and decided to launch a confession account in ICU. Referring to other confession accounts, we brainstormed some ideas to make it unique to ICU and put it to action.
Q3. Please explain why you decided to start ICU confessions.
The reason was that we loved the ICU community and we wanted to learn more about everybody.
We want to be true to ourselves but it’s challenging for both yourself and others to accept you for who you are. However, with our vulnerabilities, there is strength in having overcome self-deprecation, with our different concerns, pain, and conflict. There is meaning in exposing and sharing our vulnerabilities through this platform.
Q4. How did you feel when you started out?
When we first started out we couldn’t imagine how everybody would react, let alone receive any confessions, so we were shocked that the followers and the number of confessions created a response far more than we imagined. We received various confessions on daily thoughts on classes, clubs, love relationships, but also struggles with anorexia, depression, suicidal thoughts, and identity conflict.
Mental health issues and becoming a minority can happen to anybody, but there is still a lot of stigma around these issues, and it is hard to visually see what people are struggling with. Talking about these issues requires a lot of courage even in an environment such as ICU. This is why we believe that having an anonymous platform would help people reveal and share their vulnerabilities.
Q5. When do you feel motivated?
We feel motivated when we are brought up as a topic in daily conversation or on an Instagram story, when other accounts DM us, and when we have made a connection between people. So far, these accounts have contacted us: icu_matching, icu yearbook, icu festival, Weekly GIANTS, Reunite ICU. Also, contributing to resolving raised concerns, and starting new communities and activities are motivating factors. Cosplay club and ICUmatching are new communities that have been launched through ICU confessions.
We even received a confession stating that, “by addressing the awkward questions (ex. sexuality, love, secret hobbies), I was able to receive advice from those in a similar standpoint which really reassured me.” We were also thrilled when we were contacted by the counseling center on campus.
Q6. You seem to receive confessions daily, but are there any struggles you faced with running the account?
Posting daily. When we first started out, we made sure to post every day, but now we don’t pick a certain date to post, rather go with our feelings.
Because of the anonymity, there are sensitive issues regarding race, sexual orientation, political and religious content that users post, so evaluation is sometimes necessary. Since there is no criteria, we deliberate each time when posting.
Q7. Do you have a post that was memorable to you?
The posts that organizers of the account secretly post.
ーー I didn’t know that organizers posted as well!! Interesting!
Q8. Is there any reason why the organizers are also anonymous?
By keeping the organizers anonymous, it is easier to submit confessions without feeling any judgement, and also fulfill the responsibility of keeping secrets and personal information as the organizers of the account.
The more our identities are exposed, the more harm it does to the account of keeping it a safe place. For these reasons, we remain anonymous to fully ensure the safety and bring out the best that this account can offer.
Q9. Anything you realized through your activities, and want to address the ICU students?
Looking through the content of the confessions, we realized that no matter big or small, everybody has issues. We realized that ICU confessions is able to relieve some of the loneliness and fear of assuming that nobody is going to understand one’s problems.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s easier to feel isolated. There are many that feel like, “it is only me who has these issues,” or “nobody is going to understand the way I feel.” Through encountering ICU confessions, the aim is for them to not feel like they are the only ones struggling.
Q10. Is there any difference in yourself before and after running the account as the organizers of ICU confessions?
Like many of the followers, we were able to learn that there are many of those that are in a similar standing point as yourself.
Q11. What is your message towards society?
We have 3 messages: (1) talk about mental health in daily conversation to address and take care of your own mental health, (2) share information about counseling centers and psychiatry centers for a way to ask for help, (3) get rid of stigma on mental health (self-care, mental illness) and minorities.
Q12. Please tell us what your plans are next and what you would like to challenge yourself!
We would like to address the voice of “wanting to comment anonymously.” Since our platform is one-way, we want people to interact with each other. Currently, we are thinking of an online space, where people will stay anonymous by hiding their information such as their names, gender and ID. We are also considering creating our website, planning an on-campus event and reinstalling Confessions react. Confessions react is a project where people can anonymously comment and share their opinions on various confessions. In our first initiative, we used the LINE open chat tool and 6 of us shared our thoughts.
Related links to ICU confessions
・ICU counseling center
・Food map near ICU campus
Thank you for reading our English article on ICU confessions!
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