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Tuesday 16 September 2014

That's enough whining, my purgatory is over

Ellie Walsh

Published 18/06/2014 | 02:30

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Leaving Cert diarist Ellie Walsh. Photo: John Power
Leaving Cert diarist Ellie Walsh. Photo: John Power

THERE are a lot of things they don't tell you about the Leaving Cert. Now that my sentence is almost over, (two days to go, if anyone is counting) I can testify to this.

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The first thing I have noticed over my journey is that you can't trust anyone, not even your nearest and dearest friends.

This is due to the 'secret studier' affliction that exam stress brings on. We all have a friend – or are that friend – who claims that they haven't done a tap of study and then gets more As than hot dinners.

It's a self-preservation mechanism, you see, because no one likes the arrogant so-and-so that comes in claiming exam infallibility.

Playing it dumb is probably a sin of which we're all guilty.

The second thing I noticed, and perhaps shouldn't be saying this, is that cramming works.

I can't tell you the amount of times I have sighed with relief when I saw a topic come up in an exam that I'd glanced over the night before.

I have about as much long-term memory retention as a common goldfish, so for me, it's an invaluable study tool.

Don't get me wrong, unless you have photographic memory, it definitely shouldn't be your only game plan. Having said that, I got great mileage out of it so far.

Finally, the last thing they don't tell you is how you will never, ever stick to your great intentions.

Like many of my peers, I emerged from the extended holiday of transition bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready for the two-year Leaving Cert course.

I was a study angel back then. Keeping up to date was a cinch. What on earth was all the giving out about for?

But all good things come to an end, I'm afraid, and motivation is one of them.

When you're in the black hole between pre-exams and the orals, your cracks will begin to show.

You'll get cranky and turn to crap food and television and start contemplating leaving school and going rogue.

Slowly but surely you'll start to look like an unkempt Tom Hanks in 'Castaway'. Sorry, kids, but a slow dis-improvement of personal appearance is inevitable.

But enough whining from me. I've been through all of this and have (nearly) come out the other side. It's almost a week since I was in an exam hall. Yesterday was my last day of exam purgatory and today I face economics.

I'm certainly not looking forward to facing that exam hall again, but I am excited at the thought of stepping out into the sunshine after another one bites the dust.

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

Irish Independent

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