The AIB College Guide: 10 College Commandments

AIB purple background with white lightning bolt and tablet with a screen saying 10 college commandments.

Starting or returning to college? The AIB college guide can help you get by with a few simple rules for getting the most out of student life.

Reinvent yourself

Much like Madonna when she’s releasing a new album, starting college presents the ideal opportunity to rethink your image and discover a whole new you. Maybe now’s the time to get deeply into nineteenth century French poetry. Possibly while wearing a beret. Fortunately, there will always be someone who looks even more ridiculous than you.

Get to know your housemates

The complex politics of the ordinary college household involving protracted negotiations over bathroom time and tense confrontations over dirty dishes, can be a source of serious stress. The important thing to remember is that your housemates are in the same situation as you - dealing with unfamiliar people in an unfamiliar living situation. Clean up after yourself, don’t accidentally “borrow” anyone else’s food, and let the rest of the house know before you decide to host that all-night party for your entire year, and you should be fine.

Explore your surroundings

Many of you will be moving to a new town or city when you start your course and it can be easy to stick to the well-worn path between your room and college, perhaps with the occasional pub detour. Believe it or not, there’s a whole world waiting outside the confines of the college bar. You should use this opportunity to really get to know your new home. Get a local event guide and have fun exploring. You’ll be living like a local in no time.

Learn to cook

Don’t forget - your body needs food to live. And while slurping down a bowl of instant noodles straight from the microwave is perhaps the definitive college dining experience, being a student doesn’t mean you have to eat all your meals in rehydrated form. Supercook is a particularly nifty website, which provides a list of list of recipes based on just the ingredients you have to hand. Although it’s not a miracle worker. If your fridge contains nothing but ketchup and milk, you might struggle to produce something to Michelinstandard.

Get into interior decorating

Now that you’ve finally got your own space, you can have the bedroom you always wanted. Hammock instead of a bed? Why not. Giant pillow fort? It’s yours. Just avoid the usual conversation piece of the average student house - the stolen traffic cone. It’s such a cliché.

Take up an unusual hobby

The typical Irish university is a haven for varied interests, and no matter how unusual the pastime, there’s usually a club or society who celebrate it. And if it doesn’t exist, why not start one? You may not be the only one with a passion for competitive thumb wrestling or extreme knitting.

Cultivate a daytime TV habit

Well you can’t be hitting the books all the time, can you? Particularly for those with a less strenuous schedule, the strange landscape of daytime TV - a world of endless soap operas and surprisingly violent chat shows - will soon become intimately familiar. Don’t worry, a couple of episodes of Countdown basically counts as studying anyway.

Embrace frugality

Living on a budget doesn’t always have to be a strain, and there are tons of simple ideas you can use to stretch your funds a little further. Learn to think creatively – a 20kg bag of rice not only provides the bulk of your meals for a year, it also doubles as an improvised piece of furniture.

Plan for the summer

Exams will be over come summer, so don’t forget to start thinking of what you’ll do with all that time off. Whether it’s working to save for second year or donning a backpack and setting off for sunnier climes, your summer adventures will be some of your most enduring memories of college. Just remember, while a jersey may be an essential part of any holiday wardrobe, it’s generally not suitable for a job interview.

Go to lectures

Oops, almost forgot. Seriously though, there probably won’t be another point in your life where you can enjoy learning for learning’s sake. Embrace it and make the most of your chance to soak up knowledge, both inside and outside of the lecture hall.

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