Fayzd: you couldn’t be more right. If/when you become a father/mother, you’ll probably go through exactly what I’m going through. Of course, I’d love her to go to one of the world’s best universities – what father wouldn’t want that for his daughter – but I don’t want her to feel she’s under pressure to go to any university at all. Neat call, by the way, on the vicarious thing. I’m going to deny it – who wouldn’t? – but I don’t think my interest has that element. Do I wish I could have gone to Oxford or Cambridge? Of course – who wouldn’t? On the other hand, I went to York, spent three years drinking more beer than I’ve drunk in the thirty years since, played football or trained almost every day – and came out of it with a First in English (back when a degree was worth something) [stands back…]. The three best years of my life, bar none, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. If she’s going to apply to Oxford – which I’m convinced she’s doing because she wants to – then yes, I want her to make the best possible job of her application. But I’m not going to her each time I get a response from here to tell her “you should be doing this” or “everyone says you should be doing that”. I’m doing it – I think – because I want to be as well-informed as possible so that if she asks me “Dad, what do you think about…?” then I can give her a sensible answer. One of the things I’ve learned as a father is that there comes a point where a bullshit answer won’t work any more. General experience of the world, or fatuous theorising, stops cutting the mustard: you have to know what you’re talking about. So, to cut a long story short: your comments are perceptive and might well be applicable in a number of instances – but not, I hope, in this one. If anything, I’m a little scared of just how much I have left her to her own devices on this, and how much she does indeed lead her own life – but I know it’s the right approach. I just need to be there for her (Oh God – all those years of sitting in the same room as my daughter watching ‘Friends’ are catching up on me…). The people on this board have helped me do a better job of that. And thanks for your good wishes.