Monday 25 September 2017

Exam diary: Fleetwood Mac helping me through Leaving Cert stress

Bobbi Nic Eoin Picture: Domnick Walsh
Bobbi Nic Eoin Picture: Domnick Walsh

Bobbi Nic Eoin

I went to bed early as I couldn't handle the anxious, annoying anticipation. This, I realised, was wishful thinking as pre-exam panic set in and I lay there for three hours staring at the ceiling. It only gets dark at 10pm now, which contrasts completely with the winter of the mocks period. It's as though daylight was telling me to stay awake and brood on the fact the Leaving Cert was beginning. Obviously I had forgotten it's summer to everyone else.

I woke at 6am with a jittery jolt. Reality began to sink in. Silence. That is how I would describe the car journey to school. I bet my mother was scared to say anything in case it triggered an explosion, debris of my terrified mind scattered everywhere.

When I first sat down in the exam hall, the song 'The Chain' by Fleetwood Mac, was replaying in my mind.

My new ritual is to listen to the masterpiece that is that song daily. It revitalises me.

I vowed before the exams that I wouldn't leave to go to the bathroom. But I nervously and stupidly drank water constantly, again and again, throughout the exam. I had to go and "break the chain" of thought. I've learnt my lesson and it wasn't academic.

The short story question was strange, I'm almost positive no one would've had anything specifically prepared revolving around a significant tattoo? If you did, congratulations. Thankfully, I tend to gravitate towards the personal or descriptive essays. "Imagine it is the Stone Age"... No, thank you.

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The thing is, yesterday was the first paper in English and if you're anything like me you'll know that today is the really challenging exam, especially time-wise. A girl on Twitter quipped: "Three more days and we'll never have to speak English again."

Yesterday, someone asked me if I'm bringing TWO calculators into the maths exam? What? I don't own two calculators. Is it likely that my calculator is going to malfunction in the exam due to the pressure to pass maths? I'm taking the exams one day at a time; I will not think about maths until I have walked out of English paper two today.

Worst case scenario is that only John Keats comes up out of the five poets I've studied. That would be a nightmare. I personally like all the other poets, especially John Donne. Although it might be easier to get in touch with my inner Sylvia Plath, full of "mental anguish".

She is the poet I can relate to the most at this time, unfortunately.

It is so easy to get distracted. Two cows have just infiltrated my garden from the farmer's field next door. Typical Kerry. Instead of studying paper two, I am observing them. It's research. Biology? They're pressing their wet noses against the window, much to my grandmother's delight. It's been dull, dismal and gloomy weather. The rain has drizzled down non-stop. I like it. I don't feel as though I'm missing out on fun, enjoyable summer banter. In other news, I was told that this year's Leaving Cert students are setting a record of taking the most higher level subjects. Wow, aren't we a bright bunch?

Bobbi Nic Eoin is a pupil of Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, Dingle, Co Kerry

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