Saturday 25 January 2020

Butterflies? More like violent stinging wasps flying around my stomach

Ellie Walsh
Ellie Walsh

Ellie Walsh

Yesterday probably passed uneventfully for most of the population, but for the 57,000 Leaving Cert candidates, it was D-Day.

It would be fair to say that I definitely underestimated my nerves heading into the big event.

On Tuesday night, I managed to catch about five minutes of shut eye altogether. I passed the rest of the night listening to my dog snore downstairs and checking my clock, religiously, every two minutes. A great start, I know. To say I had butterflies would be an understatement; violent stinging wasps flying around in my stomach would probably be a more accurate description.

Having concluded that my body definitely doesn't cope with stress well, morning sluggishly made it's long-awaited appearance. My increasingly violent stomach wasps indicated any form of breakfast definitely wasn't on the cards so without further ado, off I went.

As I walked from my car to the school and then back again, I was fit to faint.

The biggest fear was that the honours maths risk wouldn't pay off and a big old F on my results sheet would stop me flying the nest to college in September.

But risks reaped rewards for me when an extremely shocking B3 in maths, plus bonus points, netted me a tidy 100 points.

Thankfully, the rest of my grades followed the same unforeseen pattern. Somehow, it looks like I managed to secure the points I need. Might I even have some to spare? As promised, there were tears. Thankfully they were the good kind.

For anyone who has spent the past year (or if you're particularly diligent, two) tirelessly huddled over a pile of books, there is no greater satisfaction than seeing those lonely hours eventually pay off. I did my time and thankfully it paid off with dividends.

So, after checking and rechecking and triple-checking to make sure I hadn't made some catastrophic mistake, I made my way home to a pair of proud parents.

Even after making our way through the calls and texts of well-wishing relatives and friends, the day was still young. What followed was throngs of newly liberated teenagers making their way out for a night of celebrations.

Through the echoes of "whatcha get, whatcha get, whatcha get" there was an overwhelming feeling of relief.

We made it through the storm and came out the other side in one piece.

Finally, we can properly think: 'What's next?' After a summer of 'Well if I get the points, fingers crossed'. But for many of us that next step lies in hands of the first round CAO offers on Monday.

The fun isn't over just quite yet.

Ellie Walsh was the 'Irish Independent' Leaving Cert diarist 2014. She is a former pupil of Ard Scoil na Deise, Dungarvan, Co Waterford.

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