Dear Maddy, I wrote an embarrassing entry to the Cambridge 2022 freshers’ Instagram. I massively regret what I did! Is my reputation ruined before freshers’ week has even begun?

Silly, silly fresher. I pity you. I really do. In the span of one summer, you’ve gone from being a big fish in a small pond to a small fish in a massive fuck-off tank swarming with soul-crushing academic piranhas, and in that case, who could blame you for wanting to make a good impression? The system seems flawless — you introduce yourself and your vast array of interests (fascinating and totally refined, I’m sure) in an attempt to out-individual your counterparts and prove you’re not like other freshers — you’re edgy, unique, and most importantly, a good time. You’ll be drowning in potential playmates before you’ve even spent a portion of your student loan on buying them rounds of shots in the desperate hopes that somebody, anybody (!), will think you’re cool.

‘You’ve gone from being a big fish in a small pond to a small fish in a massive fuck-off tank swarming with soul-crushing academic piranhas’

I almost did the same myself last summer, when I was deep in the throes of a Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure and Radiohead binge (I still love both, but let’s face it, if I want to have a shred of romantic action within the near future these two ol’ reliables will have to take a firm backseat), and thus, I give unrelenting thanks to a God I’m not sure I believe in that I eventually pussied out of submitting.

But there’s good news. I’ll tell you a secret — there isn’t a single post on the Cambridge freshers’ Instagram that isn’t embarrassing. Moreover, I can’t think of a single freshers’ week interaction that didn’t make me want to crawl into a hole and hide from my humiliating mistakes for eternity. You were going to embarrass yourself at some point, so good on you for getting it done whilst it’s still early days. You’re a braver soul than most.

Dear Maddy - nightmare! I’ve accidentally blocked my staircase toilet! How do I get my flatmates back on my side? So humiliating!

I have so many questions. How did this happen? How were you found out? And why have your flatmates abandoned you in your hour of need? I primarily commend you for your ability to block the toilet. These bowls of steel have endured countless heaps of post-Rumboogie vomit, Week 5 hairbrush clean-out and the messy aftermath of a Van of Life three-day-old reheated quesadilla, yet already you have not only wrecked what years of student idiocy failed to degrade, but also made it known to your flatmates? The fact that you didn’t lie and place the blame on some other poor unsuspecting fool is beyond me, yet it is precisely this rare honesty that has moved me to the utmost sympathy.

You’re clearly working through some stuff - in every sense of the word — and to have been deserted in the dim light of the staircase bathroom is a fate that no one deserves. But hey, it’s a cruel world. In any other case I’d advise bribing them back in an attempt to win them over, but since you’ve so clearly positioned yourself as a staircase beta I’m afraid it’s highly likely that the alphas and sigmas of the group are already ploughing through your kitchen cupboard.

‘To have been deserted in the dim light of the staircase bathroom is a fate that no one deserves’

All you can do now is retreat - mentally, or in dropping out - and hope for the best. Statistically, the time of reckoning will one day be upon them, and when it comes, be sure you’re the one holding the plunger.

Dear Maddy, I’ve discovered my future flatmate is a horse girl. Not sure how to move forward when we meet in person. Any advice?

Okay, sure. Your ‘flatmate’ is a horse girl. You know it’s 2022, right? Those amongst us who are lucky enough to be able to reminisce on the golden days of the Pony Club presumably now do so with pride, and as long as you’re not a full-on furry, you’re safe now. Well, relatively speaking. If you want to canter down King’s Parade then the only formidable opponent you may encounter is the public menace that is Oshuclips and his barefooted companion (although perhaps, all this time we had a fellow horse girl in our midst, embracing his natural side as his feet clip-clop over the cobblestone pavement?), and there’s more than enough braying at the Union to drown out any unrestrained whinnies coming from your side. So perhaps the solution lies in gently understanding your neigh-bour rather than in overwhelming rejection. Try leaving out some hay and a few sticks of carrot for dobbin to chow down on in the staircase kitchen to see if they’re truly committed to the equine grindset, and should they fail this test, you have all the more reason to put the relationship out to pasture. Either way, keep these horsey goings-on far away from me.