Name: Z, the “Love Letters Revived” current admin.
How did you come to be the admin of UON Love Letters Revived?
About nine months ago I messaged the Love Letters page and asked if they wanted a hand managing it or wanted to hand the page over. About three months later, Jackson (the original admin) replied back. He mentioned he was in his final year of his degree and didn’t have as much time to post regularly. He said no one else had ever asked but he was willing to hand it over to me if I was still a current student.
Are there any letters that have stuck with you?
There have definitely been some cute ones. A woman wrote a letter explaining how she had to bring her young son to class one day and wanted to thank all the students in her class that day for being so understanding and caring. Sometimes people aren’t supportive, you know, you’re coming into a learning environment that’s supposed to be ‘quiet’ and relatively reserved and you’ve brought a child that could be quite loud or distracting. Yet nobody in her class was difficult, everyone was supportive and understanding. It was such a sweet thank you letter and it received an overwhelmingly positive response, so I ended up pinning it because I wanted everyone to see it and reflect on it.
What process do you use to determine which letters get posted and which don’t?
I received coaching from Jackson when I first took over the page and found out that about 60-80% of letters just didn’t make the cut as his criteria was quite strict. However, I’ll let about 90% of the letters through even if it’s not necessarily ‘love’ related. In saying this, if it’s related to love letters content and spreads love and joy in the world without containing ‘red flags’, then it’ll usually get accepted. I started letting through letters where people were looking for friends or groups with similar interests. Love is many things, it’s friendship, roommates, passions, it’s thanking someone, looking for company when lonely and of course family and partners too.
What is something you’ve learned from love letters?
I think people are afraid of being judged or tracked down online, so when you react or comment it appears desperate and people perceive ‘desperation’ worse than following through to find new friends or love interests. Even though online dating has come a long way and saying ‘I met my partner on tinder’ is more acceptable, saying ‘I reacted to a post on Facebook, and we started dating’ is still a little a bit of a reach. There needs to be an anonymous way of doing it that actually works.
I’ve noticed that people can find it really difficult to communicate. They find it hard just to reach out and say, ‘I want more like minded people in my life’. I think this is why so many people are lonely, even I didn’t have many friends till I joined a club here at uni. It’s interesting to see how our culture has shaped the way we communicate. I don’t think it’s an age thing, I just think we haven’t been taught properly. The modern movement to get better at that, which I’ve seen a lot in LGBTQ circles, is just to learn and normalise really general and honest communication with a really high level of emotional intelligence because I think that’s what we are lacking. I am noticing that, particularly through Love Letters, it’s just people trying to communicate with each other. I’m looking for friends, clubs, groups, love. We’re all a little lost and reaching out the only way we know how.
Do you have any advice for other students?
Talk to them, this applies to everyone. Under any and all circumstances but especially when you like someone and you’re not sure if you should say something. I’ve never seen open and honest communication backfire. Maybe the answer won’t be a ‘yes’ but the cost of never asking is so much higher than anything else, you cannot lose by trying. If you’re in a relationship and you have an issue, talk to them! If you’ve got something going on with a friend, talk to them! Always communicate honestly and openly about your needs. You might be worried that you’re not being reasonable or that there’s something wrong with asking for what you need, but there isn’t. The people in your life should understand and work with you to give you what you need, find a compromise or listen and make you feel heard.
If you’d like to share your student story, comment below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org