Agony Aunt: pleasant uncle

Good afternoon everyone! If it’s not afternoon when you’re reading this, then well done. You beat the curse. I’ve been living this afternoon over on repeat for what seems like hundreds of years. I have to hear my outdated 2016 Meghan Trainor ringtone every time I reset. This is a cry for help. No one believes me, and the only way to set me free is to read this entire article. No one has ever done that, not even the editors can bear to do anything more than skim it, so here I am, trapped in an eternity.

Week 6 is a strange time. Everyone keeps saying “You’re nearly there!” But really? I’m not. It’s two more terms after this for me. And each term feels so long. Surely if I ever read this back after my degree’s over (won’t ever read it back, not even I am dedicated enough to read my Agony Aunt ramblings back, hence the curse continues) I’ll be kicking myself, begging myself to appreciate it more. But I do appreciate every sunrise, the architecture, the autumn walks along the canal, being silly in halls and laughing about nothing… It’s nice. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still mentally ‘meh’ but it’s nice to have people to tell.

Anyway, onto the questions for the week!


I might be a kleptomaniac? Whenever I go to other people’s houses, I feel like I can’t leave without stealing something, and I think my friends noticed the large angel statue I stole from my grandmother’s garden. I keep it in my en-suite bathroom. What do I do?


You might be a little bit of a kleptomaniac if you’re legging it out of granny’s back gate with one of her garden ornaments. How does grandma feel about this? God forbid she has dementia and you’re taking advantage of not only her hospitality but also her vulnerable mind! If you’re gaslighting her, then I recommend you tell her the angel flew away.

I love a bit of a thievery myself, but only in video games. Used to be so scared of the burglars in The Sims, and loved smashing people’s homes up to get a rupee in Zelda.

So basically just keep doing you and let your inner power shine girlie xoxo. See, now that you’ve skipped the easy first steps of a criminal career – like filling your pockets with 40 Ikea pencils, or telling the barista at Caffe Nero that you haven’t used your voucher before so no you don’t understand why it won’t scan – and jumped straight into Grandmother robbing, you can sit down and plan a heist. Go all out, be fabulous. Continue criming. Crime all day, crime all night. Do a crimely act. Crime.




My dad keeps sending me photos of the new kitten he got and now I can’t work because I just want to go home and have kitten hugs. It’s consuming every second. Help!

Hi! That’s not a problem, that’s a solution to a different problem. Lonely? Cat. Miss home? Go see cat.

I think you’ll be fine if you go see the cat and get your dad to take some pictures of you and the little kitten, or pin some photos up in your room of your dad and the kitten, just to keep you satiated. But honestly you’ll be fine any way this goes because cat.

So some extra advice –

Excitement can trigger the same physical feelings in the body to nervousness and anxiety – I know sometimes I get really excited for something like a new episode of my favourite tv show and it really puts me on edge. That racing heartbeat, shallow breathing, a sense that something could jump out and disturb the peace, or that you just want to get up and jump for joy/run away. It can be really confusing, and something like a new pet could definitely make me think I was anxious when I wasn’t.

Make sure to write down how you’re feeling if you experience anxiety often, as it can cloud the real emotions and mental reactions you are having to something. For example, right now I (me, Bronwyn) feel weird cause it’s late-ish and I have an essay due, but also I feel happy as I chatted to my friends and family today, and walked a cute puppy!

Okay, enjoy the new addition to your family 🙂



I feel like I’m going through the best years of my life and the worst depression. But how could I leave Oxford and not regret it for my whole life? Thank you

That dichotomy of feelings when there’s too much pressure can make you feel like you are a rock about to crack. But maybe, beneath that hard exterior, a little bit of pressure could reveal you are a beautiful geode.

OR… maybe exposing your beautiful private inner world in a way you can never truly recover from is traumatising.

OR… maybe you’re just a rock and splitting in two only means you’re broken?

Or maybe you’re not a rock and… This analogy is weird. What I mean to say is you have a choice here. You can quit your degree right now, move to the Scottish Highlands (they’re wonderful) and spend your time ghostwriting celebrity children’s novels. But you haven’t done that. You could start a rock band, play weddings and 3am gigs with two people in attendance, and laugh with your bandmates as the sun rises. But you won’t do that. You could suspend, and join a new competitive team, devote your time and learn to love a game you’d never even tried before, from Ultimate Frisbee to University Challenge. But, again, as far as I know, you haven’t.

I’m not saying ‘oh you haven’t tried, lazy’ – of course you’ve tried! I’m saying there is so much out there you haven’t experienced, and each day you make the choice to do what you do within your own little bubble of experience. Maybe it’s a capitalistic illusion of choice between Paw Patrol strawberry toothpaste and plain Colgate. But trying new little things keeps us alive!! It gives people that little glint in their eyes. So my advice on what to do other than degrees, or what it means to be a uni student – it doesn’t matter. What matters is your decision to stay, or leave.

Hope you make the best decision for you,



Dear auntie, how do you balance being stressed with doing work and hobbies like I enjoy painting

Make time to play, it’s the most important thing. Play with other people, play with kids with lego and make stupid noises, play with dogs and see how they will fetch the ball 1000 times if it makes them happy. I balance the fun things by making a checklist of what must be done by the end of the day, and then just going out and having fun, saying yes to the things that make me happy and making sure I hold myself accountable to the little things (like watching a talk, or reading a bit of a novel – as an English student!).

If you don’t make time to play, and you say yes to too many other boring ‘important’ things, then you will miss out on that restorative time. Again, playing is really really important!!! It’s not all fun and games (well, it is. But don’t tell anyone). Ask someone from RPGsoc or a person you know who does casual team sports. They’re all so chill, because they make time to play.

So, for painting, I would ask if you like painting alone or if you could tolerate being in a group, as there are lots of online art classes, there’s OxArt Society too, which you could plan to go to as a nice thing. Otherwise, I’d just pop to somewhere like Common Ground, or the Botanic Gardens, or a roof garden somewhere (St Anne’s has a lovely one), or just stay in your room, and paint for an hour.

Another way to do the thing you like, but not so playfully, is to offer to make posters for student plays, or start an independent zine. Again this would have some form of deadline or outward pressure, which could be great, or could kill your passion. Be careful!

All the best,



Dear Aunty I am in love with the Porter and I keep dancing on the ceiling in the hope he might notice me – anon

This is my mam submitting questions again, and she thinks it’s hilarious that my room’s right above the porter’s lodge, so when I’m doing workouts they probably think I’m a nut. Well, I am a nut, but if I had a crush on a porter I think I’d go a little less subtle than morse-code star jumps.


Okie dokie! So that’s it for this week, hope you enjoyed the cries for help I received and my indifferent, if not actively antagonistic responses. And a reminder that you’ll be sick of these lovely new Adele songs before long, but you’ll never be sick of Little Mix.

Yes…. that’s it……. I’m finally free…… *a gaggle of Meghan Trainors sing a heavenly chorus of a post-glee mashup of ‘No’ and Handel’s messiah as they repeatedly kick me in the head and I die*