Sunday 18 August 2019

Leaving Cert Diary: 'Sure look, all you can do is your best' - as all the Irish mammies would say

Exam Diary

Looking to life beyond the Leaving Cert: Diarist Elaine Murphy is getting ready for weeks of exam stress. Photo: Mark Condren
Looking to life beyond the Leaving Cert: Diarist Elaine Murphy is getting ready for weeks of exam stress. Photo: Mark Condren

Elaine Murphy

So the time has come. It's the time of year we've all been waiting for. Whether you're well or ill-prepared, the highly anticipated Leaving Cert has arrived.

If I had things my way, I would have had the Leaving Cert done months ago. I would have happily used my mock results, if it meant never having to pick up another book to study again.

I think it's because now I have to study rather than having an option to do it whenever it suited me. I can no longer say "ah sure, the Leaving isn't for ages yet!"

No, I must come to the reality that it's now. Which, for some reason, makes it all the harder to deal with.

Now, I hope for my own sake that most other students can relate to this in that they too have now become masters in procrastination. I have often found myself sitting at my desk attempting to get some hardcore study done and three hours later have noticed that I've fallen down an internet hole and am knee-deep in Kardashian drama.

The guilt of it all is shameless, but for some reason or another I physically cannot help but check my phone and keep up with the unnecessary celebrity gossip.

Not only have I often fallen victim to the temptations of the internet, but seeing my younger sister finishing up school for the year certainly doesn't help. I envy her as she plans her first summer days with her friends.

Like many others, I wish for showers and rain in the coming weeks so as to not give me another reason to hate the Leaving Cert even more than I already do.

Avoiding all of the distractions I possibly could, I've crammed all of the information imaginable from the past two years into my head just to forget it all again in two weeks' time.

It seems strange to me that we shove two years of work into a two or three-hour exam. I don't quite understand the concept of a memory game being a way of measuring intelligence. But then again I'm just an 18-year-old student sitting her second set of State exams.

I certainly wouldn't know more than the men and women sitting in the Dáil making decisions on our behalf. No, never.

You know, even though school has been tough over the past year or two, I still have so much that I am thankful for. If it weren't for all of my teachers who've supported me, my parents who've put up with every freakout, and my friends who've listening to every hour-long rant I had, I don't feel I could have possibly gotten through it.

I know the next few weeks will be intense, but I'm also aware that I'm surrounded by people who care about me and want me to do well, and I am eternally grateful.

If any of you sixth-years are reading this, I wish you the best of luck in the next few weeks. Trust me when I say that you're ready for this, you know more than you think.

There is life beyond the Leaving Cert and although it might not seem like it now, in a few weeks you won't even remember the stress.

As all the Irish mammies would say: "Sure look, all you can do is your best."

Elaine Murphy is a student at Donabate Community College, Co Dublin

Irish Independent

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