Anonymous Outlets in College: Olin's Desk Graffiti

Being a college student is stressful. We are juggling our social lives, academics, extracurriculars, and health, and we usually have no idea what we are doing or how to do it. Consequently, most of the time we are doing the opposite of what we put our minds to. One of the things that we do best is procrastinate. I am guilty of being up until 2 am studying for a economics test I had a whole week to study for. We all have, right? When I study, I head to the library, where I prepare myself for the most dreadful and depressing hours of my life. I recently have started to study in little cubicles, and unsurprisingly, I have found graffiti all over the cubicles. The comments ranged from being funny to serious. Here are a few of my favorites:

“Some people wanna fall in love others are a place to cry”


“Just because no one understands you doesn’t mean you’re an artist”


“Please always: 1. Sleep 2. Shower 3. Eat 4. Do your laundry 5. Consider 6. Brushing your teeth 7. Drinking water 8. Calling your parents 9. Smoke weed everyday 10. Love”


“I want to DIE! Let me die”

“Weirdly optimistic”


It made me wonder, why do people write on the cubicles? The more I sat trying to do my work, the more suffocated I felt, and I started to realize why they write all over the cubicles. There is no one to talk to when you are studying. You are consumed by your own thoughts. The quietness of the library and being surrounded by your own thoughts make you really wonder about your life. It makes you wonder, why you are there sitting there? Why is college so important? Is that the class you really want to take? It can also be social. College is full of unnecessary drama that makes you also wonder, why? Why do I need this person in my life?  Therefore, the cubicles are basically a spot for anonymous comments. These cubicles remind me of facebook because people share a status and then other people can reply or just ignore it (let's call it Facebook anonymous). It is a place where people can vent but also a place where people can just take a second off from studying. From reading these comments I caught myself smiling at comments while others were motivation. I think looking at these messages people leave behind lets us experience a range of different emotions. These comments are from different people at different points in their lives which makes them have to talk about different subjects. I like how I get to see other people's thoughts in a fashion of not knowing who it is or in a verbal form. By reading all these comments, allow me know that there are other people like me. I am not alone in the world and most importantly college.

In college, we are in this place where we have fun and do work, but we don’t not really talk about our feelings. At times, I feel like we are all just a bunch of upside down floating ducks that are flowing down a river––we are still moving along the river, but sometimes our ducks turns upside down because we are having a bad day or we are really stressed. Many college students push past those bad day and pretend that they do not occur. We pretend everything is fine even when we are hurting; therefore, having one place where we can just engrave our feelings can help us and others know that there are people experiencing the same things.


Image Credit: Katie Zervas