The Facebook page ‘Concrete Confessions Between UEA Seshions’ sits at 16,837 followers, at the time of writing. Having been up since 2017, it has rapidly accumulated in popularity and influence as a hub for the online student community.
Scrolling down the page, there are a wide variety of topics and formats on display. There are numerous lighthearted posts, usually an attempt at a witty remark or joke or in the vein of (as the page description puts it) “Cute UEbAe caught your eye from across the square?”. Though, as is most fitting for an anonymous opinions site, the ‘virtual suggestion box’ and ‘Agony Aunt’ style posts are among the most common. The former provides a means for direct student feedback and serves to raise the profile of issues that would otherwise remain invisible to many in the community- for example, discussion surrounding sports membership. The latter is a way for the more experienced members to offer help, support and advice on everything from day-to-day problems to deeper topics, many of which are in part due to the pandemic and many students feeling left isolated.
This is effective due to the anonymous format, which allows for more sensitive issues to be discussed without fear of recognition, and the engagement from commentators is very encouraging, with detailed advice and compassion exhibited from many of the responses. As a support and advice network, although it perhaps does not offer the same advantages as formal mental health and student support spaces (albeit these come with plenty of disadvantages of their own) and especially considering the additional difficulties of the pandemic (despite what some may believe, Covid isn’t going away just yet) this community, whilst a little rough around the edges, certainly has plenty of merit.