Sunday 26 October 2014

Like Macbeth, we could be in for some toil and trouble

Published 04/06/2014 | 02:30

Leaving Cert diarist Ellie Walsh, who will start her exams today. Photo: John Power
Leaving Cert diarist Ellie Walsh, who will start her exams today. Photo: John Power

I've hit the wall. My internal storage has reached its maximum. My brain has reached such an impassable barricade that if I try and stuff in any more Yeats quotes, information such as my name, age, etc will be replaced.

After six years of hard labour, it has all accumulated to this one ghastly morning: Wednesday the 5th of June.

We, in Dungarvan, received our first batch of tourists over the bank holiday weekend making us poor sixth years feel even more hard done by. I wish nothing but showers upon you all!

As I sit here fuelling up on Cheerios for the day ahead, I start to think about English Paper One's crisp pink sheets anticipating my arrival. Until yesterday, I was the pinnacle of composure. Maybe it was the tantalising thought of shedding my stodgy royal blue school jumper for the last time that has suppressed all feelings of panic. I did my fair share of study every night. Enough to stifle the seemingly unavoidable Mammy remarks of 'Ah would ya not do a bit now Ellie and be finished for the night?'.

But they do say that English Paper One is the one that you can't really study for, a certainty in which I took great comfort. That was until it dawned on me that 'they' are merely candidates, like myself, who would rather come up with exam conspiracies than practice comprehensions. But the real fear lies with section two: Composing. One hundred marks (25pc of the overall exam) for a topic that is unknown. If I carry on this train of thought, the Cheerios will do a u-turn.

Last night, my parents approached me with the same wary disposition as Macbeths' kinsmen did in the closing stages of the play; the scene where our protagonists impending doom advances slowly. I know the feeling.

Unlike Macbeth, however, I was brought tea instead of my battle attire. But like the tragic hero, as I sat last night waiting for the inevitable, I too was filled with some personal regret.

I grieved for those lost hours that were sucked into the black hole they call Netflix. I wished for a late onset of photographic memory. I cursed my beautiful, colour co-ordinated English folder that fooled me into thinking that neat notes mean a productive study session.

But what's done is done. The games are about to begin. I think I've prepared adequately. The blue catastrophe of a school jumper is on and I've slipped on my least itchy pair of tights. I'm ready. To quote Macbeth, 'Ring the alarum bell, blow wind, come wrack, at least we'll die with uniform on our back!'

Ellie Walsh is a pupil at Ard Scoil na nDeise, Dungarvan, Co Waterford.

Irish Independent

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