It is officially the start of a new semester. At a typical college, that means new classes, new people and new dorm rooms. At Vassar, that also includes new plumbing issues, new bats and of course, the launch of a new Vassar Instagram account.
On August 25, another niche Vassar Instagram became the newest addition to the long list of student-run accounts: @vassaraffirmations. The page highlights over a dozen Vassar-related affirmations on bright backgrounds with corresponding stock Vassar images. It gained over 1,000 followers within a week of its creation. “The Vassar Affirmations account has become a staple in my life—I wake up and check the account to see what I’m affirming for myself that day,” Kendall Wienecke ’24, a follower since day one, shared.
While the creator of this account has chosen not to reveal themselves, anonymity may be short-lived.“I am really bad at two truths and a lie and have used Vassar Affirmations for two classes so far. So hopefully they follow the ‘What happens in two truths and a lie stays in two truths and a lie’ rule, but I’m not holding my breath,” they joked. When asked how they would like to be referred to in the article, their request was simple: “Please call me Ishmael. Kidding. Call me Mrs. Doubtfire.”
In addition to running @vassaraffirmations, Ishmael Mrs. Doubtfire is the owner of three other Vassar-related Instagram accounts. “Those will remain a secret for now, but I will say that I am absolutely not @vassarconfessions. Or am I?” Mrs. Doubtfire teased. Running one account takes up a lot of hours, but running three has become a full-time job. Being the owner of several Instagram accounts, each with relatively large followings, has unintentionally turned Mrs. Doubtfire into an early riser. Doubtfire now wakes up two hours earlier every day to give students the daily content they needlessly crave. “I honestly probably spend enough time on it to count as a second work-study job, so if Vassar wants to Venmo me $3000 I’ll gladly break my anonymity,” they commented.
Mrs. Doubtfire was inspired to start @vassaraffirmations after stumbling upon @afffirmations and being introduced to @Wellesleyaffirmations through their best friend. Finding joy and humor through these accounts prompted them to find a way to bring that positivity to Vassar. Mrs. Doubtfire had many personal reasons to create a Vassar version as well. They describe themselves as a serial procrastinator in addition to the most chronically bored person they have ever known. “I like to add responsibilities to my to-do list that I still have to do, but that aren’t actually productive,” they explained. “I also crave fame and money, so I hope that Gwyneth Paltrow will sponsor @vassaraffirmations and provide me with materials to do a Goop haul.”
While Mrs. Doubtfire did not expect their account to reach this height of popularity so quickly, they were confident that it would resonate with a majority of the student body. Their goal was to take common and relatable occurrences on campus, such as leaky ceilings and roach-infested bathrooms, and turn them into an opportunity for laughter. “Can we all at least realize how ridiculous it is that the water foundations don’t work in a National Historical Landmark?” they said with a laugh.
Another devoted follower, Grace Speranza ’24, believes @vassaraffirmations is quickly rising in popularity because of the account’s humorous nature. “It’s like an inside joke that we’re all in on,” she explained. Speranza follows the account because she views it as a way to get involved with her peers. “It’s a funny way to participate in campus culture by making fun of the little things we like and dislike, but all experience throughout the day,” she shared.
Affirmations, which are made through an anonymous Google form in the account’s bio, have been gradually increasing with time. As of now, the account gets upwards of 50 submissions a day. Explaining the reason for the high number of submissions, Mrs. Doubtfire stated, “Honestly I think Vassar students—myself included—complain like it’s nobody’s business.” However, only a few make the final cut and are posted. While Mrs. Doubtfire finds almost every submission relatable, only the ones that elicit a laugh make it past the editing stage in Canva.
Though most of the feedback received from running the account has been positive, a handful of trolls have left negative comments in the anonymous Google form. However, Mrs. Doubtfire remains unbothered. “I’ll just affirm their downfall,” they added with a chuckle.
In the week and a half following the account’s activation, Doubtfire has turned everything in their life into an affirmation. “They’re like crystals; I carry them with me everywhere,” they proclaimed. Producing humorous content poking fun at the relatable, albeit unfortunate, Vassar-specific occurrences brings them joy on a daily basis. However, their favorite part of the job is overhearing conversations about their latest creation. “It’s just the best hearing people say them out loud, especially when I can’t go through the Deece without hearing at least one,” they noted.
Mrs. Doubtfire’s favorite post is the one that started it all: “I will not burn my sweet potato in the microwave.” Another favorite and commonly reposted affirmation is the Deece-doors-inspired post. “How many Vassar students does it take to open a door properly?” they asked. There is no answer: “No one has ever opened the Deece doors properly,” they declared.
While earlier posts averaged between 80 and 200 likes, the latest affirmation gained nearly 700 likes in two days. It dropped the day of Pitbull’s concert in Bethel, New York and is ironically the least Vassar-related of all the posts. “Mr. 305, Mr. Worldwide came to NY and Vassar students descended upon Bethel like a plague of locusts in platform shoes,” they proclaimed. The post affirms: “Tonight I will become Mrs. Worldwide.”
With a rapidly increasing follower count, @vassaraffirmations hopes to stick around for a long time. Their goal is to pass the account down through the next several Vassar generations. “Then it’s like a secret society, which Vassar totally used to have, Gilmore Girls-Yale style,” Doubtfire posited. According to Mrs. Doubtfire, realistically the account will last as long as people still find interest in it. “I’ll keep running it until people hate it or until Kate McKinnon plays me on SNL or until A24 makes a movie about an entrepreneurial semi-anonymous Instagram account at a liberal arts college…or whatever comes first,” they shared.
In light of a rapidly increasing number of submissions, Mrs. Doubtfire would like the Vassar community to know they are looking to take on an assistant. Applicants must be proficient in Photoshop and Canva, among other qualifications. Please contact the account for more information. Perhaps you could be dubbed “Mr. Doubtfire.”