Missed Connection #0: Admin reflects on history of page

Vassar Missed selected the womp-womp as its profile picture, representing Vassar’s mystical, underground legend. The page currently has over 5,000 posts and around 1,000 followers. Courtesy of Vassar Missed Facebook page

Navigating the college social scene can be confusing and frustrating for students, regardless of class year. We often find it difficult to express our true feelings or are too afraid to say them.

One student recognized this common experience and decided to form an outlet for members of the Vassar community to anonymously and unapologetically share what’s on their minds.

From incoming first-years to departing seniors, countless students have turned to the Vassar Missed Facebook page to confess crushes, express social anxieties and vent about college life in general. The idea was to share missed connections anonymously via Google form, hoping to recover them with the help of social media. But submissions soon branched out to a variety of topics. The posts often generate sympathetic responses or constructive feedback from fellow students, creating a forum for exchanging opinions, wishes and advice.

In an exclusive interview with The Miscellany News, the page’s admin, whose identity shall voluntarily remain hidden, shared their desire to allow Vassar Missed to turn in whatever direction students want to steer it.

The Miscellany News: Can you tell me when you started Vassar Missed?

Vassar Missed: My first submission came in on September 7th, 2015.

The Misc: Why did you decide to create the page?

VM: I felt like we all have a lot to say to one another. For whatever reason, sometimes folks at Vassar can’t do that face to face. The page was meant to be a place where those honest, vulnerable, difficult things could be said more freely without the risks we feel like there are elsewhere.

The Misc: Was this a joint effort with other students on campus, or was this solely a one-person project?

VM: It was a solo mission.

The Misc: So do you think you’ll be entrusting the page to someone else after you graduate? Or will it end with you?

VM: I don’t really know! The page has never been what I expected. I suspect it will continue to surprise me.

The Misc: What were your initial expectations for the page?

VM: I was just curious, but unsure, I suppose. The page has really been very different at different times. It’s been dynamic and has a complete mind of its own!

The Misc: I can see you get some really interesting submissions from time to time. Speaking of which, what’s been the most outrageous submission or stream of submissions you’ve received?

VM: I think the ones that stand out to me are inside jokes that I’m not a part of. They’re surprising and funny and nonsensical. [I’m] always glad to see a flurry of those to come through!

The Misc: I remember a couple of months ago you were receiving a lot of submissions about the discussion of privilege on campus. What was going through your head as you were posting those?

VM: Yes, that was definitely a phase of the page. It really becomes whatever people want to talk about [and] what they’re feeling and can’t express elsewhere for one reason or another. It’s really not about me or my head, so I guess my thoughts were mostly with students that were hurting. [I was] hoping that even though the discussions were tense and challenging that hopefully some people could come away having learned something.

The Misc: Some of those submissions got a little controversial. Were there some you ended up not posting?

VM: There are always some posts that don’t go through.

The Misc: Are there some things that are off limits for posting?

VM: Certainly!

The Misc: Such as?

VM: Personal attacks, mostly. I definitely don’t let anything outright nasty about someone go through. That said, it’s important to me to filter as little as I can, otherwise the purpose of the page kind of breaks down. Even some tense [or] tough stuff goes up because it’s important for everyone to know the honest feelings of the campus—a realistic pulse I guess. And it’s always been policy to take down anything upon request that an individual opposes.

The Misc: Have you gotten anything that was concerning enough to let someone know about?

VM: Submissions are completely anonymous so that’s never really come into play.

The Misc: Have you ever interfered with any submissions or been curious about its writer? VM: I’ve never interfered with a submission! I assume you mean changing it or discouraging it or something. I’ve most certainly been very curious about where some submissions have come from. It’s all part of the fun!

The Misc: Do you also use it as a platform to share your thoughts?

VM: Not typically, no. I really think the page belongs to the people who use it, not at all to me!

The Misc: What’s the most difficult thing about running the page? How much of a time commitment is it?

VM: The most difficult is when I see that people are being hurt. I don’t deny that the page has often played that part in the social landscape at Vassar. It’s tough to see conversations that play out where there’s a lot of hurt. It’s tough to read posts that are expressing really significant hurt, sadness, loneliness, etc. It’s also tough to get feedback from users on the page when they feel my judgement has been wrong or ineffective.

It’s [also] a pretty big time commitment! I read every submission before I post it and add the number to each before posting multiple times a week. So, it ends up being a pretty good amount of time.

The Misc: What do you find most rewarding about this role?

VM: I feel in a strange way that these people trust me and each other. There’s a lot of remarkable vulnerability involved with the whole thing, and that’s moving to me!

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