Tuesday 21 November 2017

It was like Mandela's release, but now there is a void in my life

THE 2010 Leaving Certificate examinations are finished and the waiting game begins.

My final exam, applied maths, went as well as it could have gone. Particles flying, ships being directed by the wind and cars stopping for traffic lights were amongst the questions asked.

Although I don't know if my answers were correct, the method of doing the questions gets the majority of the marks and I can only hope that I passed it.

Exiting the exam hall with the two Conors was like Nelson Mandela's release from Robben Island. We walked away from not only the school but from our second-level education.

It's safe to say that, like the swine flu, we have survived the hype and mass hysteria surrounding the exams and thankfully we did not have to sit any papers on a Saturday.

From missing poets to missing pages, from the Kennedys to archaeological digs, the Leaving Cert was full of ups and downs and now that the marathon is complete, I feel there is a void in my life.

The final moments of my Leaving Cert experience involved putting all my notes, copies and text books into a huge box , sealing it with parcel tape and writing 'not to be opened until August 18', but hopefully I won't need them.

So what are my plans now that the exams are over?

My first major task is to complete my letter to Oxford English Dictionary asking it to include "doing a Boland" in its next edition (in honour of the poet Eavan Boland, who defied all expectations by not turning up on the paper).

Then I'm back on duty as a lifeguard and a swimming teacher. That will keep me busy teaching classes and being Monaghan's answer to 'Baywatch'.

As the mass exodus of Leaving Cert students to the Mediterranean begins, I will head for the Connemara Gaeltacht for a few weeks before the results.

That will help me keep my mind off the brown envelope that will be waiting for me on August 18.

For now, I want to say a massive thank you to all the students who gave up valuable study time to help me gauge the reactions to the various papers and help make this diary what I hope was as enjoyable to read as it was to write.

A huge thank you also goes to the principal and staff of St Macartan's College for all their help and encouragement over the past six years.

Peadar Ó Lamhna is a student at St Macartan's, Monaghan

Irish Independent

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