Dear Agony Aunt,
I wondered if you could give me some of your hard-earned advice. I have finally had the slap in the face realisation that my Prelims are coming up at the end of the term, and to tell you the truth, it’s not ideal. I’ve spent the majority of my first year social climbing and telling myself that it’s only first year once, however have realised that not only is this not conducive to a low 2.i and a job in the city, but the last part may not even be true, as it’s looking more and more likely that I’ll end up retaking first year. Please Agony Aunt, tell me how I can go from a full time networking fiend to passing prelims in just eight weeks?
Fretting Fresher

Dear Anon,

Oh my sweet child, fear not, you have come to the right place. We’ve all been there, finding ourselves going back to Oxford at the end of a 6+ week vac with nothing to show for ourselves aside from a weakened alcohol tolerance and desperation. But if Grace Fit and myself have anything in common, it’s that we both somehow scraped ourselves through this and made it to second year (give or take the scholar’s gown, a million Instagram followers and a house in London), which just goes to show that you too can get through these turbulent times. For just eight easy payments of a tiny fragment of your sanity per week, you too will be saying hello to second year, without sacrificing your networking prowess!

Your first step to success is simple – assessing your priorities. Sure, opening the website on that fateful day in the Summer vac and seeing that ambiguous 2.i will give you a fleeting moment of joy; maybe even enough to send that instantly regrettable gloat to the group chat that really does nothing but make you look like a bit of a dickhead. But what comes next? This isn’t A-Level results day – day drinking until it’s time to go to your nearest ATIK/PRYZM variant to meet Love Island’s latest reject is not on the cards tonight. All that remains is the celebratory Instagram story you nearly posted, which will just so happen to be the last time your Prelims score is mentioned. What you really need to focus on here is the long game.

It’s about time we took a little inspiration from two of the greatest philosophical minds of the last few hundred years
– Jeremy Bentham and Marie Kondo. Forget about prelims for the moment and focus on what really sparks the maximal amount of joy for the maximal number. You’re a self-described social climber, seeking that sweet, sweet empty gratification that can only be provided by a soul sucking spring week that you couldn’t be less genuinely interested in. What could serve your (lack of) interests better than pursuing this as your Trinity Term goal! £9250 a year for world class education and the opportunity to make genuine friends for life vs the priceless fun of getting caught up in a corporate hellhole at the ripe old age of nineteen – there’s no comparison! Keep networking, whether your platform of choice is Linkedin, Tinder or the Bridge VIP room, and you’ll be on track for this fun and exciting future in no time – prelims will soon be only a distant memory!

All social commentary aside, you will be absolutely fine my dear anon. Disregard what people may tell you about Prelims being the be all and end all, as this is just not true. If you are anything like me, a little bit of sparknotes and desperation will carry you through just fine to get that low 2.i whilst not having to sacrifice anything else, whether that be the networking you thrive upon, or like me, a Bridge or two here and a Plush or three there. Listen to your Auntie and don’t take it too seriously, and you’ll be just fine and on track for a cracking second year and beyond.

Toodle pip and lots of snugs,
Lady P xoxoxo