YCA Week Three: Competition, Crushes and Crushing Realisations

Everything’s opening up and some of us are breaking down

Hello, hello, hello! Yes, the column’s a little late this week, but let’s not act like your supo work wasn’t too- we’re all in this together. It’s been… a week for your aunts, as I’m sure it has been for you. Just as everything’s starting to open up again and life appears to be returning to, dare I say it, normal, exams are running wild, ruining lives. Okay, that was dramatic. Exams are acting as a major inconvenience to the diems we want to be carpe-ing, given our locking up and barring from major social activities thus far—enough philosophizing. Let’s talk about what your aunts have been up to, shall we?

Emily’s week has been very exciting, as it involved a trip to a restaurant where she ate INSIDE. Name something that feels illegal but isn’t! She has also been trying to revise and spending time with friends before exams swallow them whole. She has, however, found this week particularly challenging as she is getting used to seeing men in Newnham’s corridors as restrictions are eased – scary times for all involved. 

Meanwhile, Leila has been leading a rather frenzied existence as she, as usual, attempts to juggle too many balls (including this podcast) whilst staying sane. And that’s the person you’ve been asking for time management tips from… She’s had a few fun supos here and there, and even made it out to the funfair on Jesus Green last night (crazy, I know!) What’s that? You want a picture? Gosh, you guys are so demanding sometimes!

Organised fun is the antidote to exam stress. Photo Credit: Leila Lawrence



















Righty-ho, you’ve had your weekly dose of pictures-from-Leila’s-camera-roll; let’s start dishing out that oh-so-unwarranted advice.

My friend is very competitive in supervisions and will always act very cold towards me if I disagree with them about anything during them. At first, I thought it was me and that perhaps I was being a little aggressive but I’m starting to suspect that they just don’t like it when I challenge them (it’s worth noting that generally speaking, this person is much much smarter than I am.) I have tried talking to them about this before but they just turned it round on me and said I was too competitive. What should I do?

Please don’t put yourself down like that! You got into Cambridge for a reason and yes, you may not be smart in the same way as your supervision partner, but you have strengths in other areas! Academics here saw something in you, and you earned your place on the same course as your friend! This may, in fact, be why they are so aggressive towards you – perhaps they are intimidated or trying to prove themselves? Whatever the case, talking to them was definitely the best place to start, and I’m sorry their response was not what you were looking for. Again, I suspect that it all stems from a place of insecurity. If you think you’d be up for another discussion, then I don’t think it would hurt! Maybe try to bring it up in a more jokey manner in a more casual setting like the Pret line (may even get a Crushbridge in the process!). Jokes aside, if another confrontation doesn’t work, then I would try dropping my supervisor a line. You can explain the situation and, hopefully, they can help you moderate your supervisions to make it a good learning environment for you both. This can be done subtly, and you can really emphasise in your email that you don’t want to start drama or create tension between the two of you. However, if the supervisor is aware of the situation and notes any aggression from your supervision partner, then they can simply step in and divert the situation. Another approach is informing your DoS (especially if you share the same DoS!). Again, they could address your friend’s attitude in a one on one meeting, but this may be a bit more of an intensive approach, and your friend may feel as though you’ve snitched. Whatever you decide to do… good luck! 

I have a huge crush on a guy I met at a party but not talked since. Now he’s moved into the staircase next to mine but I’m too shy to even say hi and now I worry it’s too late and I’ve missed my opportunity- what do I do and how do I overcome this awkwardness??

I feel you!! And low key, it’s kind of fate that he’s moved into the staircase next to you! My game plan would be to find mutual friends with him and his household. Maybe someone you live next to has a college wife who lives on his staircase? Whatever the link is, ask to hang out or meet this person – it’s not weird considering they are on the staircase right next to you! Not only are you more likely to bump into this guy, but you are also going to make new friends! With COVID restrictions easing, it is also much easier to suggest and organise get-togethers. If you manage to make friends within his household, then maybe you could suggest a staircase bake-off or games night. You have not missed your opportunity with him if you simply create more! Hopefully, it all goes to plan – just keep a level head and be chill! Don’t focus on him (as hard as it may be) but focus on the people you’re meeting and the memories you’re making. If something happens with him too then that’s a bonus!

An additional point of consideration from your other aunt: try not to hyper-fixate on him. A lot of the time the people we have crushes on aren’t worth our time- we just really want them to be.

Don’t know how to reject a guy on Tinder nicely?? We went on one date and I didn’t have the guts to tell him that I didn’t want to see him again in person

Ah, rejection. Our good old friend who we don’t appreciate until they’re gone. Rejection is life rooting out the good from the bad, selecting for you, reducing the number of decisions we need to make. It’s life reminding you that you can’t have everything you want, and also that what you want isn’t necessarily what you need. When you put it in these terms, rejection doesn’t seem so bad, does it?

Think about how much nicer it is when someone is honest to you about their intentions, and use this to guide your attitude to dating from now on. In essence: although rejecting this guy isn’t the most fun activity possible, it is a necessary one. Shoot him a message to avoid confusion and, you know, to do the right moral thing. Luckily for you one, of my serial dater friends has a copy-paste message which he sends to all unsuccessful dating candidates:

“Hii honestly I had a really good time with you, but I’m not so sure I really see it going much further. Thanks for the lovely time though and all the best:)”

Short, sweet and to the point… a bit like me.

How do I know if someone likes me? Are there any tell-tale signs I can look for?

He loves me, he loves me not. She loves me, she loves me not. They love me, they love me not. It’s the age-old question and, unfortunately, the answer doesn’t ever really change: maybe they do, maybe they don’t.

If I put it simply: stop looking for signs that they like you. Anyone interested in you, and also worth your time, would make it clear that they like you. The will-they-won’t they of a romcom is actually just an addictive cycle, a bit like drug-taking. Leila and Fatima actually spoke about this in a podcast a while back (go on, give it a listen.)

However, if this question is more you searching for indicators that someone is flirting with you, that is a skill you will acquire over time. There’s definitely a WikiHow on this- not sure I’d recommend it- which could be a really basic starting point for you. Things like eye contact, them actually taking time to speak to you, subtle touches on the arm: all of these are initial indicators. However, there comes a point when someone just needs to: say it. Maybe you’ll get rejected, maybe you won’t, but you really never know until you try, and it’s good to try and build your resilience up.

Well, that’s all from us this week…

We have an exciting Freshers Special podcast episode, specially designed to help ease the stress of being an incoming offer holder. If you’re an incoming Fresher, we know you’ve got a million-and-one questions to ask and worries to share, so off you pop to our submissions form to share them.

We’ve decided to stop theming our weekly columns, so feel free to submit (almost) anything you’re worried about here. What’s that? Relationship problems? Again? Alright then, into the submissions box that goes.

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?

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Featured image credit: Leila Lawrence and Amira Nandhla