Congratulations, Class of 2019
A well-deserved pat on the back to everyone who sat the Leaving Cert this year and received their results today.
Some students will be delighted, although others may be disappointed so sensitivity will be required.
The results mark the end of a 13/14-year journey through school and that, in itself, is a cause for celebration. It is one of life's milestones and the next stage in the journey is all to play for. Decisions about the future can wait; today is a time to savour a sense of accomplishment.
It is widely acknowledged that, regardless of ability, 6th year is as tough an academic grind as any student will ever face and causes undue pressure on teenagers.
Bear in mind that whatever grades a student achieved, they represent only a single measure of the abilities of the individual. School-leavers have an abundance of skills they may not even recognise, but which will stand them in good stead in whatever life route they pursue.
This was borne out in research by Dublin City University (DCU) showing that a year on from the Leaving Cert, college students felt senior cycle had equipped them well in terms of organisational skills, self-discipline, time management, an ability to persist when learning was difficult and to cope with the pressure of heavy workloads.
Some 47,624 of this year's Leaving Cert candidates - 81pc of all those who sat the exam - have applied to the CAO and they should be optimistic about Thursday's first round of offers because the success rate tends to be high.
Last year, 52pc of CAO applicants to Level 8 (honours degree) programmes got their first preference, with 80pc bagging one of their top three. At Level 7/6, the figures were even higher, with 88pc receiving their first preference and 98pc receiving one of their top three.
There are more than 11,000 Leaving Cert candidates who did not apply to the CAO. Some will have their plans made and for those who do not, there are plenty of options.
College is not for every school-leaver, and, even if it is, not necessarily in the year they leave school. But learning enriches the person and qualifications are a path to a fulfilling career and life.
This supplement, and another to be published by the Irish Independent on Friday, provides information and advice on navigating the results, including the new procedures and processes around appealing, on CAO and non-CAO options.
For those moving on to college, Friday's supplement will have a wealth of tips on how to bed into the new environment and get the most out of higher education, Current students also share fascinating stories about their post-school journey and how it has worked out for them.
It is important to remember that there is a path for everyone, and there is also plenty of one-to-one support and advice available, including the NPCpp helpline, which will run until Saturday.