Congratulations, Class of 2014, at the end of a tough year
WELL done to the 57,000 or so Leaving Certificate candidates receiving their results today.
It is a milestone in their education journey and a day to celebrate the effort and achievement of each individual.
It has been a tough year for these students. They should take heart from Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) research published yesterday showing that even final exams at college are not as stressful as the Leaving Cert.
No two students are the same and each has his or her own dreams and plans for the future. It is important that they now progress at their own pace and on a path that suits them.
Most of this year's school-leavers have applied for a college place and are looking forward to the offers from the CAO, but about 11,000 have not. Some have applied for other courses.
Many remain undecided or uncertain about choices they made previously. Some will be concerned that a disappointing result will exclude them from a preferred course.
It is a time for reflection, giving consideration to the variety of opportunities available, bearing in mind that there is more than one route to the same destination.
If higher education is not an option this year, it is worth keeping the thought alive for the future because the world of work is demanding ever-higher skills levels.
For those who need advice, there is plenty of support available, including the National Parents Council-post primary Exams 2014 Helpline, the only such national service.
Every year, guidance counsellors handle thousands of Helpline queries, offering one-to-one advice on issues such as rechecks, repeats and CAO and non-CAO options.
Live video Q&As on independent.ie
IN addition to 1800 265 165 helpline, independent.ie will run a series of videos where guidance counsellors will discuss the issues that arise for students at this time, as well as answering questions.
Aoife Walsh will host the broadcasts, starting at 1pm today. Anyone who wants a question dealt with on the broadcasts, should send the query, via email, to email@example.com, or twitter #indoexams2014.
The opening hours of the Helpline are:
Wednesday, August 13, 10am-7pm
Thursday, August 14, 10am-7pm
Friday, August 15, 10am-7pm
Monday, August 18, 8am-7pm
Tuesday, August 19, 8am-7pm
Wednesday, August 20, 8am-1pm