Tuesday 16 January 2018

Now for the real challenge: how to boil an egg

Leaving Certificate diarist Peadar O Lamhna at home in Co Monaghan yesterday, delighted that he got his offer for UCD
Leaving Certificate diarist Peadar O Lamhna at home in Co Monaghan yesterday, delighted that he got his offer for UCD

Peadar O Lamhna

IT was 535 -- no, not points, but the time I was woken up yesterday morning by both the dog and the cat, who seemed to know something was up.

To be honest, Cindy and Lucy didn't know what was happening. Both received breakfast two hours earlier than normal and seemed none the wiser to the importance of the day.

Twenty-five minutes remained until the CAO offers were released. So after a breakfast in front of the computer screen, I successfully logged in at 6:01am to find I had been offered my first choice; DN065 law and politics at UCD.

Of course, I was eager to accept. I clicked ACCEPT but then, suddenly, I was greeted with "the page could not be viewed", "We are not able to proceed with your request" and "An error has occurred".

Maybe the powers that be felt law was not for me.

Finally, at 6.25am I got the email and text message to confirm that I was on my way to becoming an official UCD student.

Then I sent a flurry of texts to see if my friends had got their offers for NUIM, St Patrick's Drumcondra and DCU.

Thankfully, most had points to spare and were relieved the stress was over and that future sleepless nights would not be caused by results and points, but rather extracurricular activities at third level.

And so, for all successful applicants, the hunt for accommodation begins. I was lucky enough to know in June that I was getting on-campus accommodation at UCD.

I was successful in achieving one of the Bord na Gaeilge scholarships and I will be living "as gaeilge" for the next year.

As well as pursuing my studies in law and politics, I will also be doing some Irish modules and helping to organise college activities such as Seachtain na Gaeilge for 2011.

After trying to get back to sleep for three hours, it was back to business at 9am, when I had a very difficult phone call to make to my back-up college, Queen's University Belfast, from which I received my place for law and politics last Thursday morning.

At least I was safe in the knowledge that, even if CAO points surged, I had a law place guaranteed.

Then it was off to teach a swimming class and back to find my offer had arrived by post -- and to hear the CAO website had been hacked. Perhaps someone was suffering from sour grapes.

Then the administration work began, what with trying to find bank books and source funds for college even though we live in a society with 'free' education.

And so, as I bid farewell to my diary, all that's left for me to do is to wish the class of 2011 the very best.

As they begin their ascent of Mount Leaving Cert, they should remember to remain cool, calm and collected.

The 364 days that lie ahead may seem stressful, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

So now it's time to take up my next challenge: how to boil an egg, open a tin of beans and microwave a pizza -- all of which I'm sure will be more stressful than the Leaving Cert.

Peadar O Lamhna was the Irish Independent Leaving Certificate exam diarist in 2010 and a former student of St Macartan's College, Monaghan.

Irish Independent

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