Iona Boyer

Just in time for Freshers' Week, our Agony Aunt is here to guide her new and oh-so-troubled public. But fear not, advice like this will warm the heart of even the most weather-beaten third years.

Help! College ran out of room for me this year and I’m going to be living in private accommodation. How do I make the best of this, and, more importantly, how do I make friends there?

First of all, may I just congratulate you on dodging one of the largest bullets of your university career. Whenever I meet people living in private accommodation, I tell them they’re living the dream. Sure, as a student you may have to put up with abject squalor and a landlord that charges the black mould crawling up your shower and into the ventilation as premium furnishing. But, at least you don’t have to worry about an ex-military officer, who went from body-slamming armed robbers to calling the college riot police on a small gathering of more than three people, still patrolling your living quarters at by the time you get to third year. You can also bask in the relief that, should you take someone back to your swanky private pad, you won’t have to worry about whether or not a Varsity blues rugby player has caked the shower floor-to-ceiling with half of the mud from the university pitches (at least, you really hoped that stuff was mud). Most importantly, you can smoke without having to make the pilgrimage to Mordor. As for making friends, you really don’t need to worry. I would presume that, unlike college accommodation, your house has a shared living room where people can interact organically (are you reading this, Cambridge University?!?!?!?!!) in the earlier weeks of term, and not in the painful two minutes or so spent awkwardly leaning in each others’ doorways on the way to  the fridge. This bountiful luxury of communal space means you and your new housemates can pass the time bonding over the greatest unifier known to mankind: TV. And if their idea of a good time isn’t going squared-eyed, why bother making friends with these losers anyway?

Should I take up rowing?

If you hate a healthy sleep schedule, work-life balance, and all traces of a social life, go for it. Perhaps I’m being a little harsh (and only slightly jealous of those supremely sexy biceps), but is the torment of a rower’s lifestyle really worth it for, at best, a few minutes in the sun trying not to drown in one of the most murky and polluted rivers in the country (the Thames or the Cam, take your pick)? Or a massive fuck-off paddle? You can get one of the latter from Ann Summers for about a tenner, and I promise you, you’ll have infinitely more fun.

How can I maintain a long distance relationship with my boyfriend whilst we’re both at university?

I was originally going to recommend splitting the costs for a remote-controlled vibrator, but with college wifi dragging along at a snail’s pace, there’d be meagre returns on your investment and you two may run the risk of outlasting (pardon the pun) the campus record for time spent trying to achieve the female orgasm – previously assumed to be scientifically impossible. Therefore, with this option similarly out of range, and never having known what real love feels like (don’t cry for me, I’ve also never been to Legoland), I asked around. I know a statistically unusual number of people who have managed to sustain long-term long-distance relationships with their hometown sweethearts throughout their time at Cambridge (we’re talking two to three years at least, the lifespan of most hamster breeds, so kid, you’re entering at the back of the race). Their irritatingly sound advice was to get so wrapped up in your subject that you forget all about the fact that your other half is hundreds of miles away across the country, probably K-holing in some student hovel in Manchester or Leeds as you always imagined you’d do one day together. Still, it’s probably not advisable to be totally dependent on advice with an outcome that rests heavily on the workload of your subject. The result is that I’m in touch with some blissfully preoccupied Law and STEM students who are chugging along pretty fine and dandy, as well as some rather disconsolate humanities scholars (moreover, I’d take multitasking phone sex with an intense Anki session over a passage from Dostoevsky any day of the week).


Mountain View

Ask Aunty Maddy: What’s going to happen to me when I leave uni?

Why is the question format a bit shorter than before? Are you getting bored of answering our questions?

My dears, I could never tire of the unrelenting torrent of misery and pain that makes its way into my inbox on a daily basis. We’re just trialling a new format, that’s all. What with the success of Tiktok and Instagram reels, if we want to keep up, us Varsity hacks also need to start appealing to the attentively-challenged. Who knows, maybe by the following issue, you lucky, lucky readers will be able to read this column accompanied by a clip of Subway Surfers, or even badly-assembled Family Guy shorts at 1.5x speed. A girl can dream, eh?