Dear Uncle Sam,

I was considered a social God at school, so I’m shocked that I’m two weeks into my first term at Oxford and everybody’s yet to know my name, let alone bow down to me in the street and attempt to kiss my feet. How do I become a BNOC as quickly as possible?



Hi JR,

I’m sorry to hear of your situation – it must be so difficult to study at this world-class university without everyone worshipping you. I’m certain that almost everybody has wondered what it would be like to be a BNOC at some point in their life: to have strangers spontaneously chanting your name in admiration, A-List celebrities queuing for your autograph, and tutors diligently writing your essays for you. These are high aspirations indeed.

A sure-fire way to reach BNOC status is to rise through the ranks of the totally not corrupt Oxford Union. Start off by coming to an arrangement with a small-time journalist at Cherwell, where you’ll provide them with inside stories and damaging leaks that will topple your adversaries whilst advancing your own career. In return, they will receive much needed attention and exposure which will greatly benefit them. Over time, transform this into a sexual relationship – this will grant you more control and allow you to manipulate the stories being published.

Meanwhile, groom a promising yet deeply troubled colleague for a prestigious position in the Union. If possible, try and find someone with a history of drug abuse. A few nights before the crucial election – which would see your protégé easily elected – solicit a prostitute to seduce and drug them, ensuring they spiral into self-destruction. Find them when they’re in this state and offer to drive them home in their car (double check they have one of these: rent one in their name if you need to). Circle the block a few times until they’re passed out. Park the car in a garage, wipe your fingerprints off the interior of the car, and abandon them with the engine is still running. The fumes from the engine will suffocate them overnight.

News of their death will no doubt rock the Union to its core: such an upstanding institution could not allow the vote to proceed if they’re unable to rig the outcome in favour of the candidate they like. You must use your powers of persuasion to convince the committee that you are just as worthy of the role as your recently deceased mentee, duly resulting in your ascendancy to this position.

Be warned, however, for the journalist you’ve co-opted to your cause may grow suspicious of your behaviour, particularly after the death of your supposed friend coincides with your sudden good fortune. If they start probing into the cold-blooded murder you committed, you must act quickly before they discover too much. Any true political hack knows there’s only one way to stop them in their tracks: throw them in front of a train.

Assuming you’ve accomplished all of this without being exposed, blackmailed, arrested, murdered by somebody else carrying out the exact same scheme, or graduating before you finish, you’ll now be a fully-fledged BNOC! Make the most of the majesty that is afforded to you: frequently share photos of all the famous speakers who got to meet you at the Union, buy some Twitter followers to prove you’re a big deal, and invite everybody on your friends list to the events you’re involved in – even those who don’t go to Oxford, so they know how special you are. Make the most of it, it’ll be over before you know it.

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