Friday 23 March 2018

Exam Diary: Recession is not all bad -- it makes a great essay topic

Gavin Cooney

After a damp, miserable weekend in my part of the world, the sun decided to come out yesterday morning. There was only one logical explanation: the exams were resuming.

The awful conditions over the weekend kept me inside and saw me oscillate between two states: I was either studying or I was feeling guilty about not studying.

The fatigue that had set in was surprising, which made concentration nigh on impossible.

When I studied, I could only think about my next break. However, on those breaks, I became totally consumed by guilt for not making the most of the hours.

All of my posturing was not going to change the fact that yesterday I faced Maths Paper 2, Irish Paper 1 and the Irish aural all on the same day.

The furore regarding the difficulty of the first maths paper had blown over into yesterday, where it became inducted into the hall of Great Irish Sagas by doing what all controversies must do before reaching true levels of infamy: it turned up on 'Liveline'.

As Joe Duffy's switchboard lit up, I had completed paper 2.

Thankfully, it was far more manageable. I revelled in its similarity to previous years, and while there were a few twists and turns there was nothing too shocking.

Once it was over, there was little time to reflect on maths 2, as I had an Irish paper to do.

Any qualms I had beforehand were eased when I read the essay titles. There was a straightforward one on how it is difficult to see hope in the country's future. I tore into it, as did about 99pc of my class.

As the parents of Leaving Cert students had 'Liveline' to vent their anger, the students had their own platform in which to lament different woes.

There are very few positive things to be said about this recession, but, boy, is it a good topic for an Irish essay.

So, with a much easier maths paper, and an Irish paper on which the consensus ranged from good to go hiontach, it looked as if lady luck had decided to shine on me.

However, there was the usual caveat. Halfway through the aural, the disc went silent. As the examiner was unwilling to do what some students suggested, and read the tape script himself, he tried another disc. That soon gave up as well, so it was left to a friend, Sean, to spring from his seat and rescue the situation.

After a few moments fiddling with the stereo, he duly did so and we completed the exam, if a little behind schedule.

Today will see the end of Irish and business studies. What are we to do if the stress becomes all too much? Well, we could always talk to Joe . . .

Gavin Cooney is a student at Mercy Secondary School, Ballymahon, Co Longford

Irish Independent

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