Your College Aunts Week Four: Valentine’s Edition

Yes, Valentine’s Day was yesterday but we know you’re still thinking about it.

Happy (belated) Valentine’s Day! However you spent yesterday, your college aunts want to remind you that you are valued and loved more than you may think, and that isn’t necessarily defined by someone buying you a heart-shaped box of chocolates. Sure, it helps, but you get my point.

Your aunts have been struggling to come up with exciting things they did with their weeks as, let’s face it, these aren’t exactly the most thrilling of times. Nevertheless, the realisation has hit that we’re in week four, which, as second years, signals the halfway point of our time at Cambridge. Crazy, right? However, this news hasn’t come as a shock to everyone. Amira’s mum was already well aware of this and has bought a piglet in anticipation of Amira moving out next year.

Replaced by a piglet? At least it’s cute (Photo credit: Amira Nandhla)

Instead of reminiscing on the halfway halls that could have been, and all the negative ways the pandemic seems to have taken away from our uni experience, we’ve decided to distract ourselves from this harsh reality, namely by writing this column and getting eye strain from our required readings.

In fact, reaching this half-way point inspired our next theme for the column and podcast: “Prospects and pressure.” We’re talking the reaching the half-way point of your degree, thinking about graduation and the ~future~ (yikes). Basically, all the stress of the prospect of life beyond Cambridge. The lovely Amira, who has thus far been hidden behind a screen, will be joining Leila in the next podcast episode to discuss all these things.

You’ll finally hear her voice! (Photo Credits: Amira Nandhla)

Just yesterday, Leila and Fatima recorded the next podcast episode and, boy, did they unpack a lot. From the science behind romance to first reactions to some of the questions in today’s column, it really is going to be an episode and a half, so be sure to catch it when it comes out on Thursday. In the meantime, make sure you’ve caught up on any episodes you may have missed – we promise it’ll be worth it.

I guess this takes us back to the whole ‘love’ thing. Relationship drama and dating seem to have become a pillar of this column and podcast and, honestly, we’re not mad about it. No one ever has it all, despite how it may look from the outside, so it kind of feels like Cambridge students are struggling to balance our academic abilities with relationship skills. That’s where we come in to try and help. Think of us as your severely underqualified supervisors in ‘relationships 101’ and take the advice below into consideration, but still with a pinch of salt.

Q1: Broke up with my gf at the start of Michaelmas. I handled it badly and know I really hurt her. Regret it all and want to get back with her so started messaging her this term. She said there’s no point when I’m not in Cambridge and it’s lockdown. What can I do to make it up to her? I think I may be losing someone really beautiful and special.

I’m curious to know why you broke up.  That is very rarely a spur of the moment decision and there must have been something about her or your relationship together that provoked you to make that decision.  Why do you think you want her back now?  What made you reevaluate?

Lockdown is boring and the emotional support and entertainment that a relationship provides means that in many ways it is the perfect time to be in a long term relationship, do you want her back, or do you just need a distraction?

Your ex is clearly hurt and it is more than understandable that she doesn’t want to talk or rekindle things at the moment.  Personally, I think this all seems a little sudden and it might be best to try and reestablish a friendship before you go and try to go and rekindle the relationship.

Q2: What do you do when you feel like the person you’re dating is almost *too nice* if that makes sense or if that exists? He’s such a lovely guy but I feel a bit overwhelmed sometimes, I don’t feel like I want a ‘bad guy’ or anything like that, but I wish he was a bit more jokey or confident and less lovey and sappy.

Reading between the lines of this submission it seems as if you aren’t particularly keen on the idea of a relationship with this person but struggling to justify to yourself your desire to call things off.  It is completely understandable that you don’t want to leave this guy.  He sounds like he treats you really well, so you will instinctively want to avoid hurting his feelings.

Have you spoken to him about how you are feeling?  You may have different ways of communicating your affection for one another, so sometimes it is good to negotiate.  Tell him how much you enjoy being able to joke with someone and try to convey how much you admire confidence, and would like to see him flourish and grow as a person.

However, I would ultimately say that if you do want to break up, it will be healthier for you both in the long term.  If you strongly feel that this guy is not the one for you, it’s is best to end things amicably.  You may feel guilt since there is nothing explicitly ‘wrong’ with him, but he just isn’t the right person for you and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging that.  It’s never a good idea to stay in a relationship for the other person, and he would likely be even more hurt to think you were staying with him out of a sense of obligation.

Q3: I want a bf but I feel like it makes me a bad feminist

I think every self-identifying feminist has struggled with this kind of problem, and to us all I say: stop judging yourself so harshly. Wanting companionship does not make you a bad feminist. I would argue feminism shouldn’t really be at the centre of your thoughts in relation to this situation at all.

More importantly, you need to think about why you want a boyfriend, and if this is symptomatic of some other deficiency in your life at the moment. Nevertheless, liking the idea of a relationship should not be a source of shame or self-hatred. The fact you’re thinking about feminism enough for this to have crossed your mind clearly shows you are both self-aware and care about feminist issues. The real problem seems to be that you are not giving yourself and your feelings enough credit. You are valid and any fleeting thoughts or desires you may have will never holistically define you.

Well, that’s all from us this week…

As we mentioned earlier, the theme for next week is “Prospects and pressure” so let out that pent up stress in our submission box.

If you haven’t listened to earlier episodes of the podcast, what are you doing? Seriously, it’s a remote term, what else are you doing with your time? And while you’re at it, you may as well give us a follow on Instagram (@yourcollegeaunts).


Your College Aunts x

Have any worries?

Here is the link for next week, submit to your heart’s content.

Want to be the next Fatima?

Did you ever find yourself listening to the podcast last term thinking that you could’ve added something interesting to the discussion? Well, here’s your chance to be a guest on the podcast! All you need to do is fill out this form proposing a theme for an episode and tell us why you think you would be a great guest. Go on, apply! What have you got to lose?

Featured image credit: Leila Lawrence and Amira Nandhla