For Sally Gorman, starting college has been one of the biggest challenges for her pledge as a pioneer. She tells about her hangover-free life of dodging taxi queues, driving home at 6am and being amused by her drunk friends...

With most of us finally recovering from the madness that is Fresher’s Week, it’s times like these I ask myself is it time to start drinking yet?

Yes, I’m a twenty year old college student and haven’t touched an alcoholic drink. Ever.  How have I come this far, I hear you ask?

Easy. Well, kind of easy…

1. I’m a confident person, sociable enough to have a good night out without being under the influence.

2. The whole prospect of not remembering what happened the night before doesn’t appeal to me.

3. I’d rather spend my booze money on shoes.

4. I like being in control too much.

5. I don’t want to carry any extra weight than I am already.

And finally, gross I know, but…

6. I don’t like the idea of some girl holding my hair while I “vom” in the nightclub toilets. 

Until now, I have found it very easy to cling on to my sobriety. But the college transition was my biggest test to date.

In college, it’s all about the pre-drinking and house parties. Everyone here just wants to get drunk before they leave the house. Fair enough, considering the price of drink in pubs and clubs. But when in the company of friends and their friends, it can be awkward when everyone around me is drinking cans and I’m there with my bottle of Pepsi Max.

I had no problem telling my classmates that I haven’t broken my pledge but it was handling the questions which followed that was the problem. Because it is so unusual for a girl of my age not to drink, everyone assumes that I have some deep dark secret or that I have had a bad experience which may explain my abstinence.

But no, it’s just a lack of interest on my behalf. They find it difficult to understand how I put up with drunken eejits on a night out but, to be honest, I mostly find it amusing.

It’s great to be able to come out of a nightclub, hop into my car and drive home. Not having to queue for taxis is fantastic too. I also don’t have to deal with the excruciating hangovers the next day. For me, it’s a win-win situation.

Coming out of a night club at half two in the morning while fully sober is a bracing experience: Lads stomping around, making unholy amounts of noise as they peacock for the girls, looking for that last-chance shift.

The girls are more like baby giraffes trying to find their feet. This is if they have managed to keep the stilettos on. If not, these classy gals will have no shame walking down the street in their bare feet.

This is the kind of thing I’m talking about, well worth a watch:

Now, I’m not saying that I will never drink, but there have been certain incidents that have encouraged me not to get myself into a state of legless-ness. Or let myself down.  Many a night I have come home and said to myself “that is the reason I don’t drink!” Things are a lot different from the outside looking in, let me tell you.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against those who drink. In fact, most of my nearest and dearest take a drink. I just have great friends who acknowledge and accept my choice and don’t subject me to any pressure. In Ireland, that’s the best you can hope for.