Agony Aunt - Issue 1 XXIX

The unthinkable has happened - the queen is dead, Jennifer Coolidge has an Emmy, and I am once again writing the Agony Aunt column for the University Observer.

For anyone who's new to UCD, new to the Observer, or is in their Lea Michele era and is only freshly able to read at all, my name is Joanne Joanne - UCD drag legend, sexy hologram, virgo rising. This is my third (third!) year writing this column for the paper, because if it ain't broke why fix it? I'm joking of course - I'm extremely broke. I accept cash, card, legal advice and baby formula.

This column is all about the questions and problems I am sent through my anonymous Tipbox account - throughout the year I'll be taking submissions and telling the good people of University College Dublin how to navigate their lives as college students. I'll try my best to do a good job, but fundamentally you're trusting a social science graduate in a wig with your deepest, darkest secrets. You get the advice you pay for, and I write this column for free. You do the maths.

Hi Joanne Joanne,
Sometimes when I come into college I just don’t know how to motivate myself to go to lectures, I find myself falling asleep or not even going to begin with. Part of the issue is that most of my pals are outside of my course so it’s way more enticing to just slack Off and hang out with them. How do I fix myself ?!!

Hard drugs.

For legal reasons I can't condone that, but I do get the struggle - I can realistically count on one hand the amount of lectures I went to last semester. But also I don't know how many lectures that was. Maybe I just have really big hands. I'm not great at maths. Please respect my privacy.

It does sound like there's more than one problem here - having more friends outside your course and wanting to hang out with them explains when you skip a lecture to spend time with the gworls, but it doesn't explain falling asleep in the lectures you do go to. I'd definitely suggest getting more sleep, and sleeping at reasonable times - I'm just now recovering from having a horrid sleeping pattern for all of summer. I'd stay up past 3am because being awake is a competition that I am playing to win.

With regards to not going to lectures full stop, it might be worth remembering that you can absolutely also make friends in your course. One of my closest friends from my course was someone I met because we were irritated by the same people. If you can make friends in other courses, you can absolutely form friendships on your own - even if those friendships are largely fueled by spite.


Dear Ms Joanne Joanne,
I just recently got my acceptance into UCD and I'm so excited to start!! I heard that the first issue is coming out at the same time as freshers' week, and so I was hoping I might be able to get some advice about something I've been pretty worried about all summer.
I came out pretty young, and as the only gay girl in my school, this kind of put an end to any and all romantic prospects I might have had. I start college this week, and I'm moving up to Dublin, where there's so many more openly queer people, and that's so exciting!! But I'm so worried that everyone will already have more experience than me, and that it'll put people off. I haven't even had my first kiss yet, and it makes the thought of putting myself out there so scary.
Please help a rural sapphic find her feet in the big smoke!

We love to see it! If it's any consolation, I don't think being inexperienced is anything to worry about - if you were the only gay girl in your school, your only frame of reference for the "right" amount of experience is what the straight people around you were up to. Typing that sentence was uncomfortable enough, so I'm sure living it was much worse. I can guarantee you that there will be plenty of other gay people who are also relatively inexperienced - you are not the only gay person from the country who's moving to Dublin for college, nor are you the only one of those gay people who comes from a not-particularly-gay background.

Also - literally who cares? I can understand and respect that virginity and all that jazz are a big deal to some people, but fundamentally nobody is going to be checking what the story is before becoming your friend. I am friends with a lot of virgins - they can be good people too! They seem to live happy and fulfilling lives!

On a real note though, I'd recommend the LGBTQ+ society - you will be welcomed there regardless of if you're only figuring yourself out, you don't have a lot of experience, or if you are one of those people who was literally born to cruise. Things will be fine! Gay rights!


That's all for this issue! Throughout the year I'll be taking submissions through my Tipbox, which you can find in either my Linktree (@joannesquared on Instagram x) or in the Observer's Linktree. There is no story too juicy and nothing I can't make myself needlessly invested in, so do your worst!