Friday 23 March 2018

Dreaming of those results

Irish Independent Leaving Cert diarist Gavin Cooney on the summer he will never forget

It doesn't seem that long ago, does it? In June, as we sealed up our final answer book, the results seemed like an eternity away. However, D-day has crept upon us with frightening speed. The examiners may not agree; those charged with the exhausting process of administering marks may well have found their July a torturous experience. I'm thinking particularly of the poor teacher who had to sift through a deluge of grammatical disasters in my Irish exam.

The thought of the results envelope has floated around my head since finishing the exams. In July, I managed to banish it to the back of my mind and, despite a chronic lack of money and incessant rain, I had a great summer. When you have spent the previous 10 months under lock and key, forced to learn seven wildly different subjects in great detail, finding fun in Longford and beyond isn't too hard.

Due to the aforementioned lack of money, my furthest journey was to a war zone deep within Co Kildare, commonly known as Oxegen. Despite the lack of sleep, food and energy, it was a hugely enjoyable weekend. One of the highlights was when one of the girls complained about the noise coming from the silent disco. Throw in a few parties and the grad, and summer 2011 provided much needed relief after a hectic year.

Once I turned the calendar over to August, that floating envelope suddenly accelerated to the front of my mind.

The nerves set in, and memories of June came flooding back. The first was emblazoned "Maths Paper One". After that was a procession of flashbacks to mistakes that could have cost me precious points.

These last few nerve-fraught days have left me bemoaning a number of missed study opportunities in the build-up to the exams. Skipping a couple of hours of study to watch Liverpool play Spurs seemed like a good idea at the time, but maybe it would have been a far better to confine myself to watching the highlights. Better still would be not to have watched it at all, considering the result.

Regrets. Results. Hopefully the third "R" word will not come into the equation. Any utterance of it is enough to send a chill down my spine: repeats.

As expected, the good luck messages have been flooding in. While the thought is honourable, the "you'll be all right" response to my palpable nerves is excruciatingly unsettling. That wretched cliché, that there is life after the Leaving, is of no comfort either.

But it's done. The Leaving Cert race is run; we crossed the line in June. Now it's time to see the final standings.

Irish Independent Supplement

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