Wednesday 17 January 2018

Exam diary: Dreaming of those results

Opening the envelope, I scan through the results, E E E F F NG, cue a massive scream and a jump. Fortunately the time is 3am, the location is the warmth of my bed and a cold sweat is dripping from my brow - welcome to the nightmare world of Leaving Cert results eve.

The ESRI report in Monday’s Independent stated that 20pc of male students are losing sleep, at this stage it must be 99.9pc! And whatever sleep we have been getting was interrupted by terrible dreams.

While summer 2010, for the majority of students, has been about lapping up the sun in Mediterranean or the mud of Oxegen, I have found myself walking the cloisters of St Patrick’s Maynooth (for a choral festival), the arts block of UCD and heading west to the tranquility of the Gaeltacht for a well-deserved break.

Fifty four days ago I was finishing applied maths and looking forward to a nice relaxing summer. But I ended up spending a lot of time reflecting on one thing, results. The countdown timer was changed to read 09.00 August 18 and this has slowly been counting down the seconds until what seems likethe Apocalypse.

I must admit I did make a drastic change to my CAO form at 4.30 on July 1 and I hope this gamble pays off.

Since the last exam on June 25, I have had many dreams of what my results would be, from getting A1s in everything to the nightmare of total failure.

As results day loomed, the dreams have been getting more baffling.

From English papers being stolen to achieving an A1 in Latin and Home Economics (even though I have not taken the exams in either subject).

If all else fails, I suppose I could get a job as a psychic or in Met Eireann. I correctly predicted that at 12.01 on June 25, the heavens would open and since then they have hardly stopped.

According to Met Eireann, rainfall totals for July were above normal everywhere and were more than twice the average at some stations.

I just wish my forecasting abilities would work for the lottery or, better still, Leaving Cert results.

During the summer I learned that a speech I wrote last January had been placed second in the world in a competition organised by Concern and that it’ll be published in a book and be presented to world leaders at the UN summit in September.

So now everyone from Barack Obama to David Cameron will be reading my thoughts on the importance of education in our world. That in itself is a very strange feeling.

I also had the opportunity to discuss post-Leaving Cert holidays on local radio – what my own opinion was on them and why I was going against the “normal” rite of passage.

If I don’t get enough points for a place in NUI or Trinity, hopefully there will be a place in the University of Ulster (I have also applied to UCAS).

All that’s left to say with regards to tomorrow is, in the words of Lennon and McCartney “Let it be”.

Peadar Ó Lamhna was the Irish Independent Leaving Certificate 2010 exam diarist and a student at St Macartan’s College, Monaghan.

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