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Sunday 19 November 2017

Done! Now I can read 'Aeneid' again on my holidays. Or not


THREE hours, two pens and what seems like a forest of paper later, Classics is finished forever!

That I've survived the ordeal is miraculous enough, but to have emerged relatively unscathed is truly shocking to me.

True, I feel like every ounce of my energy has been drained and that I may never regain a full range of movement in my hand, but these minor injuries seem insignificant in light of such a beautiful paper.

Whoever compiled those questions, consider yourself worthy of a spot on Olympus.

I can honestly say that I have never been so nervous before an exam as I was at quarter past nine yesterday morning.

Staring at the notes in front of me while desperately praying for divine inspiration seemed futile.

Having read the same point about 10 times, I decided: give it up and face the music . . .

Reading through the exam paper was a surreal experience. This cannot be real, was all I could think.

The sheer joy and relief radiating from my fellow Classical scholars was palpable and there was an unspoken understanding that someone, somewhere was on our side.

This exam used to involve the unimaginable horror of having to produce eight essays in the time we only had to produce six.

And now, after six years of immersing myself in the world of myths and legends, it's time to kiss it goodbye.

Suddenly the Aeneid and the Odyssey don't seem like monotonous epics to be trawled through, but genuine pieces of enjoyable literature.

Who knows? Maybe I'll throw them in the suitcase for some holiday reading . . . Or not.

Other exams yesterday were Construction, German and Latin. From my dad's horror stories of his Latin days, anyone studying it has my deepest admiration and sympathy.

Though I'm sure times have changed since the dark days of Dad's experience . . .

German was apparently tricky enough, the listening comprehension and every student's mortal enemy -- grammar -- proving challenging.

It's a monumental relief to cross yesterday off the timetable and an even bigger relief knowing that I can afford myself the luxury of a lie-in today. Until 10 at least . . . Sure it's only the Leaving Cert!

• India McGirr is a pupil at Gorey Community School, Co Wexford.

Irish Independent

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