Legal disclaimer: any advice provided by Ms Violet is advisory only. Palatinate cannot take responsibility for any subsequent actions that may result in personal injury or intellectual distress
During a tumultuous term full of strikes, Covid outbreaks and stressful deadlines, Aunty Violet provides her tips and tricks on how to beat Epiphany before it beats you. We hope you can also find peace and rest from these solutions, be reassured by the kind words of Durham University’s resident Agony Aunt.
Q. Dear Violet, the first draft of my dissertation is due in five days, but I only finalised my reading list for it yesterday and have currently written 138 words. I’m disappointed to say that I’ve resorted to desperate measures and started trying to bribe my housemates into pretending that I got kidnapped from North Road Spoons. If the plan goes well, I will have until late December to submit my dissertation when I’m found, safe and sound. Please help me sort out this mess! John’s
A. Dearest darling finalist, please do not fret and definitely please do not resort to the lengths of pretending to be a missing person. Really, if you wanted it to be believable, you’d choose to be kidnapped on an expedition to Ustinov instead. But that’s besides the point. Your final year is one of greatness, but also devastating tales of stress and terrible workloads. Try to understand that this time of your life is a pretty bum one, however you’ll probably never be under so much academic stress again and once your diss and exams are over you’ll have a summer of relaxation and partying. That is, until real-life hits again, and a panic masters comes flying your way…
Q. Dear Violet, please help — I am stuck behind a group of slow walkers on Kingsgate Bridge and there’s no room to overtake! Hatfield
A. Dearest speedy student, Kingsgate Bridge is notoriously bad for achieving those speed walking goals. The bridge is not only hideous from an architectural perspective, but also terrible for passing all the horrendously slow fresh trundling back from a Nikita vodka haul at Tesco. My main piece of advice would be to use Old Elvet Bridge as a fool-proof way of making sure that no-one will ruin your power walk to lectures. Often it’s not a huge detour, and any good speed walker knows how to make up for lost time with slightly more arm swinging and a higher tempo tune blasting through your headphones. If all fails, simply cough loudly while stuck behind a slow group and watch them turn back and part ways with a look of shock, turned to admiration: You will hold all the glory as you saunter past at breakneck speed.
Q. Dear Violet, there is a guy in my seminar class this year who looks gorgeous. He makes all the boring moments worthwhile, and I’ve been excelling in that module because I put so much effort in and just want to see his head nod slightly when I share my interpretations with the group. Recently, he has started coming to seminars without a mask on and the lower half of his face is really unattractive. To the point where I am now struggling to concentrate for other reasons. How can I sort this situation, Violet? Mary’s
A. Dear Reader, I’m really glad to hear that you’ve found your motivations to work this year, and we all need that extra push sometimes to get stuff done. However, you shouldn’t feel any pressures to prove yourself to this man, and no partner is good enough if they cannot abide by the simple rules of wearing a mask. I always say, ‘a bad boy is a sad boy and that’s why you should stick with the good un’s’. I hope you can put him out of your mind, and I would maybe suggest that you encourage him to wear a mask: for both your sake and everybody else’s.
Q. Dear Aunty Violet, Two of my closest friends in Durham have recently got in a relationship, and I seem to be a third wheel all the time! They keep hinting at me to find a date so that we can double up, but I’m still afraid of putting myself out there. Trevelyan
Dear lonely reader, I’m sorry that you’re struggling to find love. It’s so difficult in Durham because there are always happy couples: lingering around beneath the cathedral or taking cute pics at the Old Gardens. They’re always lurking, ready to ambush you with awful displays of PDA. I’m sure your friends are just as bad as the rest of them! My advice is: talk to your friends and announce your displeasure at their behaviour — it’s very unfair for them to be pressuring you into dating. Remember you are enough and feel free to join the DU AntiPDA Committee if you need more friends. Alternatively, PalTV is currently looking for participants for their new PalatiDates!
Q. Dear Aunty Violet, Every time I visit the Billy B, I can never find a spot to sit. It feels like the entire population of Durham is in the library, I find it nervewracking going through that revolving door and not knowing whether I’ll be able to find a seat. I miss the booking system! Stephenson
Dearest student, It’s crazy how busy the Science Site is at the moment, it feels as if everyone has crawled out of the woodwork. From what I understand, the booking system was scrapped as part of Durham University’s new plan to whittle out the late-risers, also known as the ‘Survival of the Earliest’ procedure. Due to students having lie-ins for half of their degree on average, the University has taken urgent measures to rectify student lethargy. If you’d like the honour of having a seat in the renowned Billy B, I suggest arriving at 7:55am, fighting through the hoards of crowds and jumping into the closest chair. Good luck, I’ll be rooting for you.
Illustration: Nicole Wu