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Freedom draws ever closer for some ... but not for me


Leaving Cert diarist Ellie Walsh. Photo: John Power

Leaving Cert diarist Ellie Walsh. Photo: John Power

Leaving Cert diarist Ellie Walsh. Photo: John Power

IT was a mixture of the atrocious and the marvellous. I'll start with the bad news.

After leading us into a false sense of security with a slightly optimistic Maths Paper 1, our friends in the State Examinations Commission retaliated with a thoroughly gruesome Paper 2.

I was truly stumped yesterday by Question 2, which, I think, set off a chain of panic in my head that caused me to stumble over most other questions in Section A. Section B offered little or no comfort, with Question 7 appearing more like an English exam than maths.

Having scanned the whole paper briefly, I was completely panicked. There was even a point where I considered writing a letter to the corrector in the rough work section begging him to show benevolence. You'll be glad to know I didn't resort to that.

I gave my self a figurative slap in the face to pull myself together. Through sheer arm-chancing, I completed most of the paper (with even a few eureka moments) and before I knew it, it was midday.

But I had no time to lick my wounds because Irish Paper 1 was about to be served. We returned grey faced and beaten after our break to face into our next exam, ready for the worst. But scowls were soon turned into reserved smiles after a suspiciously easy tape test.

It seemed like the Gaéilgóirí chatting breezily in their conversations could sense this morning's woes and decided to slow down their chats, pronouncing them with great diction. Buíchos le Dia, the essays followed in the same fashion. Choice was in abundance giving lots to write about with masses of time to spare. I opted for the essay on things that are important to me, (the Irish language, education and employment of course). After our first non-rushed exam, we left the exam hall with a long-awaited spring in our step.

One would only hope that the pattern that has been starting to form (lovely paper ones, and tricky paper twos) will not continue. Irish paper two will be our starter, promising plenty of trials and tribulations with the poetry and prose sections. In the afternoon, most of us are back in to tackle the biology paper.

Fortunately, the end is in sight for many a candidate, with sixth years hanging up their second level education hats for good by the weekend. Unfortunately, there are many of us, like yours truly, who are imprisoned to the very end. Include us poor souls in your prayers.

Ellie Walsh is a pupil at Ard Scoil na nDéise, Dungarvan, Co Waterford

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