College students have secrets. Their secrets mark a tricky ascendance to adulthood. Their secrets are about love, regret, danger, the sorrows of childhood, disappointments, their parents, kisses pondered, paths not taken. Their secrets, and the brooding over them, complicate visits home on holidays, causing parents to often wonder, “Why has this child become so strange?”
The answers may be on a new Web site launched by University of Maryland sophomore Sarah Tincher, whose TerpSecret allows UMd students — or really anyone -- to anonymously share secrets about their lives. Students can click on a page, enter their name (or fake name), e-mail address (or fake e-mail address) and type up a secret. Tincher then posts the secrets for mass brooding.
About love: “I’m so involved with someone that I can’t even enjoy a semester abroad for more than a few hours. I can’t even bring myself to tell him that I love him either, because I’m terrified it’ll drive him away and I’ll be even worse off.”
About childhood: “I almost drowned when I was 7-years-old. I’m 19, and I still haven’t told my parents because I don’t want them to freak out or worry. I never tell them bad things that happen to me.”
About confusion:“I’m beginning to develop feelings for my very best friend. In fear of ruining what we have, neither he nor anyone else will probably ever know this.”
Tincher, who grew up in Brunswick, got inspired to launch the site from the efforts of Germantown resident Frank Warren, whose PostSecret project has for years published secrets online and in books from people around the world.
“Everyone has secrets, and college students, we have a lot,” Tincher told me. “More than anything, everyone likes to know they are not alone. Everybody has same problems. I think people really want to know they aren’t the only ones going through what they are going through.”
About parents: “I hate my father because he’s never acted like one. I wish he would love me though, so I could stop being jealous of all the girls who have daddies who care.”
About lying: “I lied about being pregnant. I thought it would make him stay.”
About danger:“Maybe it wasn’t rape, but it was sexual assault. You are acting like nothing happened, and I’m sitting here with that memory with me for the rest of my life. I don’t know who to go to, and I don’t want to report it because I was high, so I was in the wrong as well. I can’t even describe how much I hate you .”
Tincher occasionally gets scary secrets from people contemplating suicide or who are otherwise despondent. She always tries to write back to whatever e-mail address is provided, offering comfort and professional resources. There is also a “get help” link on her site.
“I genuinely care about you,” Tincher will write.
And she has secrets of her own, too. At least 10 or 15 of the secrets on TerpSecret are hers, though she isn’t saying which ones.
About temptations: “It has taken every ounce of the strength I can still muster up to keep myself from completely turning to drugs. I know it won’t actually help, and I have to tell myself that constantly to keep it together.”
About more confusion: “You don’t realize how much it hurt to kiss you knowing you can’t be mine.”
About a different future: “I need new friends. Mine suck.”
Post readers are submitting their college secrets. Click here to explore some of them and submit one yourself below.
What are your secrets from college? You can enter them anonymously here: