Wednesday 18 October 2017

Exam Diary: All done and dusted -- what an anti-climax

Gavin Cooney

Well that's it then, the Leaving Cert is done and dusted, for me at least.

After six years of preparation, at 4.47pm yesterday evening I sealed my answer book, strode out of the school and turned my back on second-level education for good.

Well, hopefully for good!

I had hyped yesterday beyond belief, this was the day that I could banish the binding tentacles of the Leaving Cert and embrace the glorious sunshine and freedom of summer.

But the chemistry exam did its best to dampen my spirits. In some ways it is the worst possible subject to have at the end of this exhausting process, as it requires you to be extremely alert.

The paper can be cruel, it preys upon the tired mind with its devilish mix of difficult questions. Yesterday's exam definitely threw up a couple of surprises.

I found certain questions were phrased awkwardly, which definitely means my chemistry answer book will not survive as any kind of historical artefact.

I had pictured coming home after my last exam since September. I had imagined throwing my schoolbooks away and running like a maniac beneath the sun.

What happened? I parked the car outside the house and I ran like a maniac trying to dodge the rain.

And what of the school books that were supposed to be ceremonially thrown away? Yep, I had forgotten them in school. This meant that my momentous metaphor for freedom was restricted to throwing away my pens.

The feeling of being finished didn't sink in last night. It is hard to believe that I will never wear the school uniform again. That I will never again sit in one of those classrooms and watch the clock tick slowly.

I suppose finishing the Leaving Cert was a bit of an anti-climax. One thing I did do to mark the occasion was put my iPod on shuffle and let fate decide what song would define my summer.

I was hoping for something to signify independence, maybe 'Here Comes The Sun' by the Beatles. What came on? The Chemical Brothers with 'Do It Again'. Uh-oh ...

Gavin Cooney is a student at Mercy Secondary School, Ballymahon, Co Longford

Irish Independent

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