My long-term girlfriend and I ended things before going to university. For the first time in years, I spent Valentine’s Day alone. Is there anything I can do to ease the pain?

Is this some sick joke? One year. One measly, trifling year. HAVE YOU TRIED TWENTY-ONE?!? I feel nothing for you. Nothing. I dedicate my precious time and energy to helping those most in need with this column, out of the kindness of my heart, and you throw it back in my face with a question like THIS? Shame on you. Good luck coping with a Gardies-for-One and a sad wank (or three) like the rest of us unfortunate bastards in the early hours of a post-essay comedown. It’s insolence like this that must have contributed to the break-up. Did you not go to any of the many, and I’m assured beautifully romantic, Valentine’s Day events in and around Cambridge? Perhaps it would have been quite nice to be dragged along to Tuesday MASH and be comforted by the fact that, at least for one night, there may finally be a definitive reason for the woefully sticky flooring. Or, if you’re looking for a mate of a slightly higher calibre, you could try sitting pretty in the UL until someone equally sad and unloved agrees to a quickie behind the trolleys in the rare books room. If, as I’ve hoped and prayed many a lonely night, the Downing orgies are not a thing of my freshers’ week legend, and are in fact a blessed and fruitful reality, I would suggest you try your luck there (and if you find it, contact me IMMEDIATELY with the precise DATES and LOCATION - for integral journalistic research purposes, of course). Otherwise, try not to exhaust your dominant hand too much before any of this week’s supervisions. And, most importantly - is said ex-girlfriend still single?

My friends from home, who go to big-city universities like Manchester and Nottingham, are down for the weekend. How can I prove to them that Cambridge isn’t tragically tame?

You can’t. Just don’t even try. How the hell are you going to compete with giants like PRZYM and the Warehouse Project? It’s simple: you can’t. One Cantab’s ego death in the Junction smoking area is a city slicker’s walk in the park. If you wanted to put the fear of God into them, I suppose gate-crashing a drinking soc initiation ritual could be on the cards, but unless your companions are particularly inclined to being set alight by men in suits that speak and dress as though they’re fresh out of the 18th Century, I’d probably steer clear. There is, of course, the shining beacon of hope that is the Regal, but where do you go once its golden gates are shut, and you are thrust out into the cold wasteland that is Regent Street on a Friday night? Castle Bar? Novi? Piss off. Unlike us neeks, these cool kids have actually managed to spend much of their loan on big, bad benders uncurtailed by the threat of dreaded essay deadlines, and they’re not going to squander the remains of what little student loan is left on establishments swarming with questionable middle-aged men. Saying that, judging from the drinks prices, they’d be great places to pick up a sugar daddy. An investment, if you will. There’s no denying that, for some, university is a means of climbing the social ladder (or not - one can only hope and pray I go straight back to working full-time at Subway once the degree is over). 

Huge dilemma: I meant to submit an essay to my supervisor, but confused the files on my computer and accidentally sent a copy of a lengthy (and in places NSFW) fanfiction I’ve been working on for some time. What the hell do I do now? 


Mountain View

Dear Auntie Maddy: Is college family incest really so wrong?

This reminds me of that brief epidemic of Cambridge college fanfiction. (Anyone remember that one particularly steamy Churchill x Fitz fic still floating around AO3? Meow.) However, I doubt this is what you’re referring to. I think the severity of your situation heavily relies upon just what kind of fanfiction you emailed to your supervisor. A tame bit of Hamlet x Horatio fluff is not infinitely separate in its content from the average first year English student’s essays, but a historical mock-epic venerating the hardcore NSFW adventures of Byron and his shag of the week might be another story. Still, credit where credit’s due, it’s quite impressive that you’re capable of churning out volumes of this kind of literature - and boy, is it literature - alongside your degree. Writing one or two essays a week is enough to render me borderline comatose by Tuesday or Wednesday lunchtime; that on top of the unrelenting, insatiable demand placed upon regular fanfiction authors is a workload I fail to comprehend. And that’s without bringing your supervisor into the equation. The only consolation may be that, if, as you allege, you have genuinely been working at this masterpiece for quite a while, its technical skill may be so admirable and its plot so enthralling (because that’s what we’re all in it for - the plot) that all your transgressions are forgiven, leaving your supervisor with no option but to praise the fruits of your literary genius. But you’re not here for gratifying fake scenarios - there’s enough of that to be had in that one weird Week 5 situationship we’ve all unfortunately been entangled in at some point. You’re here for answers. If you fail to pass it off as an authentic piece of academic scholarship, all that’s in your power is to own your mistake. Yeah, you’ve written semi-pornographic smut about two of your favourite fictional characters, so what? At least you’ve now got something to submit to the Mays. There are worse ways to spend your weeknights - imagine being the sad, sad creature having to come up with increasingly bullshit answers to problems that any other rational human being would consider beyond solving, all whilst Thursday Lola’s is sounding its siren call.