Monday 24 November 2014

Exam diarist: At 6am, my future was made crystal clear

Published 19/08/2014 | 02:30

Leaving Cert diarist , Ellie Walsh.Clonkeen, Ballyguiry,
Dungarvan, Co Waterford. Photo: John Power
Ellie Walsh

IT was 6am and, with bleary eyes, we found out our fate for the next stage of our academic journey.

I can only speak for myself here to say I was extremely happy. My top choice was Creative Writing with Arts in NUI Galway, which slid down 10 points from last year.

But that wasn't the only helping hand I got to assist me on my way west of the Shannon. NUI Galway has a pilot scheme offering 40 extra points to a limited number of students who have shown a level of achievement in the creative arts.

It offered bookworms like myself a chance to pitch our past achievements and prospective goals to a panel of representatives from the arts community of NUI Galway.

By a happy coincidence, my interview fell on the day after I finished my exams and that I was able to bring along all the exam diaries I had written for the Irish Independent over the previous fortnight, and indeed for that day. Without a doubt, this was a significant thumbs-up for my application.

The following day an email arrived telling me that I had the 40 points in the bag. In the end, I didn't need it, but of course, I didn't know that until 6am yesterday.

For any student who feels more than a little frustrated with a third-level scholarship system that seems weighted in favour of the athletically gifted, this scheme could be your godsend.

For some, the wait continues until the second round but for the majority of us the fun and games are finally over. The next two weeks will be a blur of packing and goodbyes to friends. Luckily, there's nowhere in the country where a Bus Éireann coach can't take you, so I think we'll survive until the Halloween

Now, it is the turn of us almighty sixth years to fall from grace to become lowly first years again. Yes, our meals will now be beans on toast for the next four years but I'd take that any day over double maths on a Monday morning.

Ellie Walsh is a former pupil of Ard Scoil na nDéise, Dungarvan, Co Waterford

Irish Independent

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