Ask the Trinity Collidge Aunt

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

I currently run a secret society that is so secretive there are only two other members. How do I increase my outreach and membership to become a thriving part of the Secret Society Central Committee and Trinity’s underbelly?

Getting a secret society off the ground can be a difficult task, as any forms of advertising defeat the purpose. With regards to enticing members, some societies seem to follow the mantra of treat them mean, keep them keen, while others go out of their way to butter up prospective initiates. Trinity’s Knights of the Campanile seem to do both simultaneously.

Secret societies perform better if there is a prestige associated with them. If the three of you can manage to get into some senior positions in government or in College, you can make the claim that people who reach high ranks in the secret society inevitably go onto some higher office, like with the Skull and Bones society in Yale.

Or you could all just go to a pub and hang out like normal people so nobody thinks you’re a wanker who hits Freshers with bamboo sticks.

Where is the best spot on campus to get my summer tan started?

Soaking up the sun in Trinity can be more difficult than it seems. Ireland, in general, can have unpredictable weather but Trinity has its own complex local climate. This is a result of all the different cold and warm fronts of air generated by different takes – from scalding hot to icy cold – that students have on the various College scandals at any given moment. The meeting of these fronts can cause strange phenomena like storms that occur in a single classroom or library desk. So, you may want to get away from other students and to some place that won’t be in the shade. If you know the right security guards, the roofs of certain buildings can also be accessed. The exact centre of the cricket pitch is an option too.

Dear Agony Aunt, my relationship ended almost four months ago but I still cannot stop thinking about my ex. In your infinite scientific and life wisdom, what is the most effective way to fully move on?

The first bit of advice I’d give to someone after a breakup is to leave any tattoos alone for at least six months. The only thing more awkward than getting a tattoo of your partner’s name removed is having to get it redone if you ever get back together.

If that’s not on the cards, don’t worry! There’s plenty more fish in the sea. Actually, that’s a bad metaphor. UN reports suggest that the seas are being dramatically overfished. And the remaining fish contain worrying amounts of mercury. Insect biomass is also being reduced at alarming rates and the threat of total ecological collapse is looking ever more serious.

Past relationships should be the last thing on your mind. You need to move out to the countryside and start a farm with varied crops, maybe some chickens, and definitely build a wind turbine. Something sustainable and self-sufficient, so you can survive when this whole house of cards falls apart.

With exams looming, where are the best places to cry around the city centre? I feel that many of the on-campus spots will start getting crowded and I want to plan ahead.

You are indeed correct that the designated college crying centres do get quite congested near the end of term. Taking your tears outside of campus can be a good move. It’s worth trying some cafés in the hopes that the management will take pity on you and give you a free drink or slice of cake. I myself go to Dr Quirkey’s Good Time Emporium on O’Connell Street for a good cry because the situational irony makes me feel better.

I’m an outgoing SU sabbatical officer terrified of sliding into irrelevance like every single one of my predecessors, as someone who retains relevance even a year after humiliating defeat(s). What advice can you give me?

Relevance is a strong word. I am vaguely alluded to on the Wikipedia page for The University Times when it talks about how the position of editor has only been contested once. This will likely be the closest I get to an article of my own.

But not all sabbats fade into obscurity! Many former Presidents have gone on to successful political careers like Ivana Bacik and Lynn Ruane. The rest invariably go on to work in RTÉ, I think there must be some sort of contract involved. The most famous is probably former TCDSU and Union of Students in Ireland President, Joe Duffy, who presents the radio show Liveline. For younger readers, Joe Duffy is kind of like if Trinfess was a 60 year old man who accepts your comments with palpable sense of ennui and the verbal equivalent of a shrug.

Most information I’ve found is about the Presidents but I’m sure the other officers have things to look forward to. Jack Leahy was Education Officer and he set up the Irish Simpsons Fans page; that’s something to aspire to. I’m sure most former Ents Officers end up becoming that cool friend in your group that can get you drugs on short notice.

If in doubt, you can continue your career and get involved in the national union, USI. It’s a bit like finishing your undergrad and then doing a postgrad because you’re not emotionally ready to leave the system you have come to depend on. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

After a year in Trinity, I still don’t understand the difference between the Phil and the Hist. Which one should I pledge my soul to next year?

The University Philosophical Society (Phil) and the College Historical Society (Hist) are the two oldest societies in Trinity and focus mainly on debate. They have existed for over 200 to 300 years each, giving them ample time to develop their own unique culture, traditions, and practices. However, the only actual difference I can see after five years of research is that the Phil has a president and get in trouble for their debates, whereas the Hist has an auditor and get in trouble for who they invite to speak.

Will you marry me?