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What lessons do I take from the Leaving? Work hard, stay caring, and don’t give up

Amelhyne O’Regan-Farineau


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Amelhyne O’Regan-Farineau

Amelhyne O’Regan-Farineau


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I woke up on Sunday morning thinking about what I had to study for, then realised I didn’t need to any more. After two years of work, it was all over.

I officially completed my Leaving Cert and secondary school education last Friday. It still hasn’t quite sunk in.

I’ve laughed and cried over these past few days trying to comprehend what exactly I had just completed and accomplished. Relief and realisation may take some time to kick in.

My respect for past Leaving Cert students has gone through the roof. They didn’t have the choice we had, and arguably had much more difficult exams. Let’s hope continuous assessment is brought in.

Students won’t find out the results of their exams until September 2, but until then, we can focus on the summer – not that we’re getting the summer weather.

I’m finding myself looking forward to my summer job, continuing my journalism and writing, and working on a variety of different projects I’ve had to put on hold for months, as the exams took priority. So far, the summer (and indeed the future) is looking bright.

I’d like to add that I’ve received some lovely messages on social media from people who’ve enjoyed reading my articles.

These have always made my day and I will forever be thankful for their support. But when was the last time you received a hand-written letter in the mail?

As I entered my school last Thursday for my music exam, I was handed a letter by the secretary.

She told me it had arrived in the post for me that morning. I opened the envelope, and inside was a hand-written letter addressed to “the 2022 Leaving Cert Diarist”.

You know who you are, and I wish to tell you how much that meant to me. Thank you for your time, kindness and thoughtfulness.

It brought tears to my eyes and motivated me for the day ahead. I will keep it forever. Never will I underestimate the power of the pen.

With so much going on in the world at the moment, and in our own personal lives, it is a testing time. Perhaps, however, this is the exact period we need to be kindest to each other.

What did I take away from my examination experience?

Work hard. Stay caring. Don’t give up. Never settle. Besides, it will all work out the way it is meant to.

For those students who are sitting the deferred exams in July, my final words are to you. These exams aren’t going to be your entire life. You don’t have long left, so keep going – it is not as bad as you play it out in your head.

You’ll make it and we’ll all have candles lit for you when you do.

Alexa – play Dancing Queen by ABBA.

Amelhyne O’Regan-Farineau is a student at St Mary’s Secondary School, Ballina, Co Mayo. She hosts her own podcast, ‘Talk About It’, for teens and young adults

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