This is a recent blog posted by Niamh McNamara on her experiences of doing the Leaving Cert. We hope that those doing the Leaving Cert in the coming years will enjoy her story. Thanks to Niamh for allowing us to share this and be sure to check out her other blogs at http://secretlifeofniamh.blogspot.ie/
Okay, before you all give out to me for writing this post WAY before the actual exams, I do apologise but it’s almost Christmas which means exams are coming up, then the Pre's will be there, then orals and projects due, then before you know it its June 4th and the best 2 or 3 weeks of your lives will start (note the sarcasm). So for all you non Irish readers the leaving cert is a set of final exams we do here before going to college. They are graded on a points basis and the college place we get is determined by how many points we get in those set of exams. Some think it is a very unfair way of testing, I am one of those people and you'll soon discover why, as it only shows how well students perform on a particular day.
Okay so I'll start with the subjects and levels I took:
Home Ec- Higher
So I took a wide variety of subjects as you can tell and they all branched off into many different opportunities. Since I was about 6 I always wanted to be a Primary School Teacher and that never really changed throughout my school life hence the higher level Irish and Geography. I always had my sights set on being a teacher, mainly because I absolutely love children and I have a fairly substantial experience being around them (I have a TON of little cousins). The teaching course I wanted to do was 470 points in 2012.
So in 2011 6th year came around and as we were told on our last day of 5th year, we had 33 school weeks until the big day (no need to panic yet guys). So naturally I began to try and stay on top of things so that I wouldn't sink (as my business teacher used to say).
The year flew much quicker than I expected and before I knew it the orals were beginning. My Irish one went fine (I think), as I'm quite confident speaking in Irish. HOWEVER, my Spanish one was a disaster. The night before the exam I basically felt like I had forgotten every Spanish word I have ever learned and began to panic hugely (one of the reasons I think I suffer from anxiety). The next day I wasn't much better, I was very jittery in school and just couldn't wait for it all to be over. So I managed to pull myself together a bit and went in to do my oral. When I got in the examiner asked me what my name was in Spanish (obviously), and I answered her back in Irish.. (Yeah I know stupid me) and that basically threw me for the whole thing and it was a disaster.
So the day of the exams came around (which was also my 17th birthday!! YAY for exams!!) and I was surprisingly calm considering everything. We started with English paper 1 as always which was fine, then that afternoon was Home Ec, which was possibly the most difficult paper we have ever seen (ask anyone from my year!) But I got through it and moved on. Thursday came English Paper 2, and if you live in Ireland and you know anything about school and the Leaving Cert, you should know that this was the year everyone almost died while doing the paper when we turned over the page and saw that neither Plath nor Heaney came up as poets. The feeling in the exam room was kind of un-explainable; you could tell everyone's heart sank without anyone saying a word. It truly was something I had never experienced before. The rest of the exams are a bit of a blur to me as they go by so quickly once you start them.
Before I knew it, it was the 15th of August... RESULTS DAY... I remember this day quite vividly but I'm not going to go into too much detail about this but the outcome was I got 460 points. (Non-Irish readers please note that grading goes up in 5 points per grade, so I missed the 470 by 2 grades). I was devastated, I missed out on my dream course, so yeah the CAO offers came out the following Monday and I didn't get the offer I had hoped for as you can probably guess.. I was in bits, I was crushed, I felt as though everything I had worked for the last two years was for nothing. So then I had to decide what to do next.
So I decided to go back and repeat the exams in 2013. This was always my plan if I didn't get my course but it was still difficult for me to go back. I knew most of the people in my year as I didn't take the gap year where a lot of my friends did so I went back into my old year.
So I went back to school and being honest it wasn't very hard for me to get settled back into the swing of things. It was honestly one of the best decisions of my life and I definitely grew more as a person and was able to mature and mould into the person I am today.
On the academic side of things, I still didn't get into my teaching course but I guess it's just not meant to be. I think it's my Granddad telling me there are too many teachers in my family! lol.
So now I'm currently studying business and I'm really enjoying the course! I've met some wonderful people and at the minute I can't see myself as a teacher right now. Maybe in the future but not now..
God only knows what the future holds for any of us! :)
So for any of you are doing your leaving cert. Keep your heads up and just get on with the work! It's really hard I know (I have done it twice :P) but just keep pushing through and you'll get through it!! :)
Good luck with your studies and everything you do and want to achieve in your lives.