Ask the Trinity Collidge Agony Aunt

The man behind Trinity Collidge, Michael McDermott, is here to answer all your niggling questions

Dear Agony Aunt, I know I need to spend lots of time this semester preparing for my final exams. This will require me to spend a substantial amount of time in the Hamilton library. What measures can I take to ensure I survive this extreme endurance with my mind and body still intact?

My strategy last year in the run up to the exams was to switch my internal clock to a nocturnal cycle. The idea was that studying the day before exams and then going to bed would mean all that knowledge I had crammed into my head would become lost in dreamland. So I decided it would be best to sleep during the day, wake up at around 11pm, and then continuously study right up until the afternoon when I had my exam, then sleep after the exam. Then wake up at 11pm again and repeat the cycle.

I accomplished staying up at night by drinking coffee for the first time in years, but the plan backfired in that I just couldn’t get to sleep during the day. The coffee consumption pretty quickly started making me feel sick and I was too stressed to cook so I subsisted on chicken fillet rolls. I somehow managed a 2.1 going on a maximum of four hours of sleep a day and hourly visits to the bathroom where each visit felt like it could have been my last. The smell of instant coffee still fills me with dread a year later.

My advice is not to do that.

Is it true that the pool tables in the GMB are haunted?

I can’t speak for the pool tables specifically, but there is enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that the entire GMB itself is haunted. People have reported pale, ghostly figures walking through the building late at night, and sometimes smoking out the front during the day. They appear to be spirits of students who died in the 19th century based on how they look; poor aristocratic souls who have become unstuck in time. These poshtergeists do not interact with the living students but do seem to communicate with each other. Years ago, a security guard reported terrifying and cacophonous moans emanating from the Hist Conversation Room, but this later turned out to be an orgy.

Recently I’ve been having a recurring nightmare where I’ll be eating in Commons as I usually do. Then the Provost bursts into the Dining Hall like Bishop Brennan – he then walks up to me, throws soup over me, calls me a povo, and drags me out to Botany Bay by my scholar’s robe. He’d then strip me, scream at me, and chase me around the Campanile with a large bamboo stick named TEP. Do you have any suggestions on how to combat this dream?

Are you sure this was a dream? I know he took the defeat over supplemental fees pretty badly, and grief makes you do weird things. He also seems like the type to be into rowing. Assuming this is a dream, and it pains me to imagine that anybody who regularly attends Commons is able to sleep at night, you should look into changing your bedtime routine. Don’t eat any snacks too close to your bedtime and try to finish with social media an hour before bed to avoid overstimulation. Sometimes mindfulness apps can be useful to clear your head. I myself listen to podcasts about sports I don’t follow and don’t understand to get me in a slumberous mood.

Any tips for being noticed on Trinder?

I am definitely the wrong person to ask about this. To put my appearance into context, I was approached during Freshers Week years ago by someone from the Genetics Society asking if I’d like to join. I told her I could not in good conscience join a society centred around genetics when genetics had been so cruel to me, pointing out my height, face, and poor eyesight. I had meant it to be in jest, but she looked like she felt sorry for me and walked away. I have not been approached by GenSoc since then.

Medicine and Law generally seem to be the thirstiest courses – if you’re not in them, you’d need to be somewhat attractive to get noticed. It’s unfortunate, but discrimination based on looks is prevalent here. I was trying to coin a term by combining “face” and “-ism” but it ends up being a bit too close to fascism. Which is a bit heavy for a satirical agony aunt column.

Hi Michael, I just lost a sabbatical election. How do I get over the deflation of being rejected by over 1,000 students? You’ve done this twice. Do you have any advice?

I was initially disappointed to lose out on SU President and UT Editor but I’ve had some time to reflect. If I had become President, I probably would have been impeached by January. If I had become Editor, I would probably have run one of Ireland’s leading student newspapers into the ground and have an entire editorial board of people who hated me – in comparison to my current situation at Trinity Collidge, where my editorial board is just one person who doesn’t hate me, but is just disappointed. The only good outcome would have been to win both, where I could give the UT as much funding as I could muster as President while publishing daily articles about what a great job I was doing as President. However, I don’t know if the SU were equipped to deal with that particular constitutional crisis.

Basically, a good strategy is to convince yourself you didn’t want it anyway. You don’t have to justify anything to anyone as long as you can justify it to yourself. You also have the next year to go through your opponent’s job performance with a fine-tooth comb, writing furious Facebook comments and saying “told you so” after every error. Winston Churchill once said: “Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried.” But he probably followed that up with something really racist, so it’s maybe not the best example.

Hi Michael, I run a semi-successful College based meme page. However, I’m finding it harder and harder to keep up with it since I am doing a PhD in physics (photonics) and am also an avid snooker fan. How would you advise I stay relevant?

Relevance is not something I put too much stock into; it’s better to fall gracefully out of touch than to embarrass yourself trying to be a “Fellow KidTM. I may be a little older and enjoy sports that the younger people don’t care about, but I still know what it’s like to be a student in Trinity.

Just because the freshers these days are talking about their InstaToks and eating ass while I’m tweeting about Ronnie O’Sullivan’s recent milestone of 1,000 century breaks, we can still bond over memes about the shared trauma of dealing with Trinity’s admin, it’s anachronisms and student life in general. (Side note: I totally understand people not caring about photonics, but I pity anyone who has never seen Ronnie O’Sullivan play snooker.)