Tufts Confessions hasn’t been around that long—it was started in February 2013—but by the time I got to Tufts in September of that year, the Facebook page was already churning out a constant stream of anonymous posts written by Tufts students. As I scrolled through, trying to get a sense of what my new peers would be like, I noticed one person who seemed to always be commenting: Joel Wasserman.
I wasn’t the only one who noticed Joel. People would sometimes single him out specifically for anonymous advice, and he seemed to be part of every discussion in the comment sections of all of the posts. As the year went by, I felt like I got to know Joel as I read his jokes and opinions about different issues.
This week I was finally able to sit down with Joel in Dewick to learn a little more about him and how he became such a big part of Tufts Confessions.
What year are you?
I’m a senior, but I’m a fifth year, so I matriculated with 2014, but I’m here for my ninth semester to finish off my degree.
What’s your major?
I study IR and Russian… I eventually want to end up working in government foreign policy. Basically helping the country play the game of international relations. But after graduation, I’m hoping to go do some sort of humanitarian service in Ukraine.
What are you involved with on campus?
I am on the Tufts Taekwondo team, I am a part of ALLIES, the civil military relations organization we have here, and this year I am part of the EPIIC class. It’s pretty exciting this time of year.
So, when did you start following Tufts Confessions?
Well, it was October of last year, and I guess the first time I heard about it was some people talking about it on the Joey. And a few weeks after that, I was bored at lunch one day and I just went on the page and started commenting on stuff. And the rest is history I suppose.
When did people start noticing you on Tufts Confessions?
I guess people that noticed that I was commenting on everything within a few days. And you know, there were a few like, who the hell is this Joel kid?
Are there certain types of posts you comment on?
Things that harken to some of the things I’ve learned about at tufts, about issues of social justice, about gender, gender identity, sexuality, race, et cetera… I also tend to comment when I think something—I see something, like a social justice orientation that I think’s gone too far, and that I think is unhelpful or unjust, or is not right. Other than that I make jokes, I reach out when people say something sounding like they need an ear to listen, stuff like that.
Do you give advice like this in real life?
I do. I give this sort of advice when people come to me. And I call upon a lot of the lessons I’ve learned in my own life, whether it’s relating to people that come from a different place than I do, or whether its how to wrestle with one’s own emotions or demons or struggles in life, and I’ve also had a lot of these conversations about social justice issues in real life, that yeah, they’re the things that taught me so much about the way the world works.
Why do you comment so often?
It’s fantastic for procrastinating. But I really enjoy having discussions about you know, every day ethics, politics, social issues and stuff. And I love talking with people about it, I really like learning from people about it, and I learned a whole lot. And it’s something that I guess I feel like I’m kind of good at, and I kind of dwell on there because it feels good to do things you’re good at.
Do you write confessions yourself?
I do. Not too frequently, but yeah.