Saturday 18 November 2017

After the Leaving comes liberation – and celebration

Leaving Cert diarist Ellie Walsh
Leaving Cert diarist Ellie Walsh

Ellie Walsh

I HAVE never had a feeling more satisfying than silencing my routine 7.30am alarm for the next three months.

I served my sentence – it was time for liberation.

Thursday night saw Dungarvan's Leaving Cert population, and indeed most of the country's (except for those sitting final day exams), descend into a night of celebration. For the first time this year, we could go out and paint the town red without feeling guilty about all the study we could be doing.

There's nothing like looming exams to dampen a good night out. Any flicker of worry over incomplete homework that was destined to be rushed on Sunday evening had vanished for good. There were many things toasted but a school-less summer was definitely the top of everyone's list.

After my last exam on Thursday, I made a swift return home to slap on the fake tan and tame my mane before heading out with the rest of the hellraisers.

The sun stayed loyal and remained beaming all evening to aid our celebrations. I have many friends who have been finished for almost a week now, so the novelty of the first walk of freedom wasn't as potent for them.

I, on the other hand, was a newbie to the idea. With my concluding exam still fresh in my mind, the holiday jitters made accurately applying a straight line of eyeliner quite problematic.

The night was only made better by the fact that my friend Adam was celebrating his 18th birthday.

We weren't alone in toasting to our successes. There were a smattering of fifth year students who got in on the action too. While patting us on the back and praising us for crossing that final finish line, they cagily asked if the Leaving Cert was really as bad as they say. In a word, yes.

The night continued in a typically celebratory fashion with congratulations becoming more animated and actual talk about the exams becoming more infrequent.

Reserved swaying on the dance floor slowly transformed into shameless boogieing. All in all, it was a wonderful way to kick off what I hope will be a monumental summer. Beaches, barbecues and concerts are the only things on my holiday checklist. I'm also one of the fortunate ones who have a summer job to help shake off some of the unavoidable parental badgering about being a lazy teenage layabout. There's only so long you can scrounge tenners off Mammy and Daddy before tough love kicks in.

But I think we've all earned a period of blissful nothingness. I think it's time to milk this milestone for all it's worth. Anyone around tonight?

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

Irish Independent

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