Agony Aunt - Volume XXX Issue 3

Image Credit: Sasha Shame Instagram

The jingle bells are jingling, the holly leaves are hollying, the chestnuts are roasting on an open fire… and I am Sasha Shame, once again your agony aunt for this year of the University Observer!

As the term draws to a close, I'd like to congratulate the cast and crew of 'We Dance' for an (unsurprisingly) astounding performance. Having the privilege of working on a show like 'We Dance' is one I'm so grateful for, and I cannot wait to see what incredible work comes next from Arinola Theatre! And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming…

Sasha, I want to enjoy silly college nights out again, but I just haven't been enjoying them for a while! I used to go out every night in first year and have the best time, but recently they've just been a chore. Are college nights out not as much fun these days or am I just getting old? Please help! I need to feel alive again!

This is the first sign of early-onset geriatric post-fresher syndrome. Pints taste like sawdust, craic is a now-unknown word, soon you'll be trapped on the top level of James Joyce library commenting on the "lovely job they did". Unfortunately, the only option is euthanasia. 

… Unless.

From personal experience, fun starts to feel like work when we're doing too much. If you just don't love a night out, that's totally cool - maybe a quiet night with a movie or a brunch are more your speed! But if you want to enjoy a night out again, I'd say have a look at what else you're doing right now. College, jobs, society stuff, sports, music practice - it all takes time and energy, and sometimes you won't have either the time or the energy for the club on top of all that! What I'd recommend is balancing yourself: how much pressure are you putting on yourself? Are you trying to be everywhere at once? Am I projecting a little bit? Irrelevant. Another thing that might help kick you back into gear is trying something a little different on a night out - are you getting bored of the same three pubs? Try a new one! Have a look at what gigs and shows are going on! It can't hurt to change things up sometimes.

Alternatively, go total hermit. Disconnect from society for the foreseeable future, then come back with a BANG. Mountains of cocaine, pounds of ketamine, maybe get into that black tar. High as a horse, I promise you'll have a trip unlike anything else in your life. It may also be the end of your life, but what a way to go. Put the roaring 20s to shame with the greatest shindig to dig all shins. And hey, if you survive, you can write a fabulous memoir.

Midterms are really beating my ass right now, any advice on how to not pull out my hair and/or burn down Newman??

Pulled hair and felonies are not cute!!

I can't even lie, at the time of writing this, I'm still finishing an essay with a matter of days before the two-week limit. Lol. Lmao. Midterms are, in my opinion, the worst part of the term. You've come back from a long break, you've started into new classes, and you have - like a baby - forgotten entirely how to write. What is an essay? What is a word count??? Who knows - surely not I. 

The best advice I can give is be patient with yourself - you'll only overwhelm yourself more by putting the pressure on. If you're really struggling, reach out to lecturers, tutors or module coordinators, and maybe ask to see them about getting extensions or other help for your assignments. Obviously this isn't a perfect fix, and not all staff will be willing to give extensions past a certain point - but it's always worth a try! Other than that, I'd say take a moment to think about what is getting in your way with assignments: our personal lives and our work blend together, and if you're struggling in other places, that'll have a huge impact on your studies. I think I've said it every issue for almost every question so far - being kind to ourselves is always the best way forward. 

But, if you really need to get the frustrations out on our beloved arts building, at least be discreet - gloves for no fingerprints, don't buy any materials with your own card, make sure you can't be recognised on CCTV, no witnesses nearby, and remember to have fun!

Sasha Shame, please bring me your wisdom. I was initially resistant to downloading any form of dating app but now I swipe constantly and I've been on so many dates with people I always think are my future spouse. What can I do to beat this heightened case of delusionitis and wean myself off the need to create a plot at all times?

First of all: never forget that you are the main character. You are Emily in Paris, you are Luke Skywalker, you are Frodo with the ring, you are Cinderella, you are Barbie, you are those loser orphans from A Series of Unfortunate Events. Not that you're a loser. Or an orphan. Maybe you are, how would I know? Anyway, my point is that you don't need to create a plot because plot simply comes to you naturally, and who knows: maybe one of these dates is your Prince Charming! Or Princess Charming #ally. Personally, I think you need to be more delusional - everyone is obsessed with you, they only wish they could get the chance to take you out, the world would not spin right on its axis if you weren't here. Unfortunately, you have asked an egotist to talk down delusion - that's on you.

Due to pride and spite, I have also avoided dating apps - the idea of chatting to strangers (and being rejected by strangers, wait while I go throw up) with the hopes we'll just click is so insane to me. But, I also have a huge amount of respect for people who can put up with it and keep trying! You're getting dates, you're meeting people, the issue seems to be making any of these dates go anywhere. Dating is hard, trust, and I think it's natural to let ourselves get caught up in the fantasy of love at first swipe. Not to mention how addictive these apps already are! Think about the way social media - including dating apps - are set up: developers want you to keep swiping, they have a financial stake in you swiping, swiping, swiping - spending hours a day on their site. Now, being aware of that, there are things you can do for yourself. First, be realistic: it's unlikely you'll meet a spouse on a first date, and the intensity you come into one with (whether spoken or not) can scare people off. That doesn't mean you can't wear your heart on your sleeve - intensity can be good sometimes - but maybe thinking about more casual dating could help. Second, are you thinking about dates more as characters than people, and if you are, why? No judgement! If there's one thing I want to make clear with this column, it's that shame gets us nowhere. But, investigating the reasoning why you might be creating stories instead of connections sounds like a good place to start if you're worried about getting a second date.

I'd also recommend avoiding areas where delusionitis is most prevalent - a twink's wardrobe, backstage at a drag show, any 20-something, straight, cis man's Soundcloud profile. Delusionitis is highly contagious and can be transferred even through screens! You know, just typing this, I'm starting to feel a little sick… a little SICKENING. I am invincible and no god or man can touch me!!

Alas, that is all for this issue's Agony Aunt, and so I wish you all a wonderful winter break! May finals pass smoothly, may you rest like a hibernating bear, and may you return in the new year, ready to tell me about all the family drama and awkward mistletoe kisses of the season. 

After a brief stumble (RIP Tipbox.com), there is now a Qualtrics link in the bio of my Instagram page (sasha._.shame) and the University Observer's page! 

Happy Holidays,

Sasha Shame