Anonymity can be a powerful weapon. It gives confidence to do things that you wouldn’t be able to do when your name is on the line. In a world where reputation is big, everyone is cautious of the things they say or do. What if there is an avenue where you can say whatever you want, without anyone knowing who you are? Enter the “Secret Files” revolution.
The Secret Files page originated at the University of the Philippines, followed Ateneo, La Salle and the University of Santo Tomas. Confessions of all sorts from students literally came in droves.
While most of the revelations are romantic, there are also notes about school life, calls of nature, friendships, and more controversial ones like the proverbial “coming out of the closet” and sexual confessions. It shows the diversity of the student body of each school, and the problems each student has to face.
Administrators, who are likewise anonymous, handle the pages. The confessions are submitted via an online document, and edited when necessary (for instance, when a person’s dignity might be compromised).
Here is a list of the top 10 topics being discussed on the Secret Files.
10. Academics and teachers. What do you expect? These pages are a hodgepodge of stories about school life. A lot of “I love/hate subject X, teacher Y,” course stereotypes and explanations of courses can be found here.
9. Socioeconomic issues. The most heart-wrenching stories come from this subsection. One can’t help but feel sad when someone is scared about losing a scholarship, getting pegged for a rich douchebag (when you really aren’t), getting judged for accents and quirks, or simply winning favor over another because of economic status. For schools like Ateneo and La Salle, where students are pegged as rich kids, the socioeconomic issues break the stereotypes.
8. Calls of nature. There is a quote from Zack Snyder’s film “300” that is apt for the occasion: “It is not fear that grips him…only a heightened sense of things. Cold air in his lungs…” This is the feeling when nature calls you at the most unfortunate moment, and you have to run to the nearest washroom to relieve yourself. For some, they have the benefit of a bidet for these situations. For others, you better have toilet paper.
7. Unrequited love. Ah, to love and not have it reciprocated. Boy meets girl, they get close, and one of them feels something more. Too scared to express feelings, he or she keeps it inside. Then you start having that dreadful thought that he/she is with someone else and all you can do is try to look happy, even if it kills you inside. They say it’s better to have loved and lost than to not have loved at all. Some say that ignorance is bliss. Either way, here’s to finally moving on and finding someone you can really be happy with.
6. The one that got away. Sometimes you succeed, and you get together. You feel like it’s going to last forever, and nothing can break you apart. Then you come crashing back down, with the realization that you were never really meant to be together. Whether it was unforeseen or intentional, something happens that prematurely ends that love story.
5. Finding love in a hopeless place. Life is unfair. The school is small enough for you to find that perfect boy/girl, yet big enough for you not to know her name, course or number. Every now and then, people would tag the person involved so that he/she may see the message, bringing the hopeless romantic at least a step closer to that seemingly unreachable love interest.
4. Raging hormones. The exhibitionists of the schools unite as they share some of their raunchy campus experiences. While most of them are kissing stories, others are a bit steamier. In some cases, there are some who bring the privacies of their own lives to school. Stories like these make you say, “What the…?” faster than you can say, “How in the world did they do that?”
3. Climbing that “Great Wall.” “Great Wall” in campus talk means the restriction imposed on boys and girls of Chinese descent, that they have to be with somebody of the same lineage. Why that rule is still enforced, no one is sure. Some parents have their own reasons, ranging from the reasonable to the restricting. There are stories from both sides of the wall: the Filipino who is trying to climb the wall, and the Filipino-Chinese who has the wall but does not want it. As a friend would say, “There is no great wall when you have a wrecking ball.” Yes to cultural diversity!
2 Coming out. This country is one of the most accepting nations when it comes to homosexuality. While others are loud and proud about being who they are, some are scared because there are people who are not ready yet to accept gays in mainstream society. The Secret Files page is a perfect avenue to get the pressure off their chest without getting judged. What is heartwarming is that even if the people posting the messages are anonymous, they are accepted by the community, and even encouraged to come out of the closet.
1. The real serious stuff. Losing one’s family in a storm; financial crises; abusive parents, and the like. These are some of the heavier situations that students have to deal with. Some of them are too afraid to admit it, some are too proud to seek some help. The page is a support group for those crying for help.
Everybody has secrets, and we are all looking for an outlet to get them off our chests. Anonymity is a powerful weapon. It gives you a chance to reveal who you really are, even behind a screen name.