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Dear David Coleman: My son is stressed about the new LC calculated grades system

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Your son needs to find a balance

Your son needs to find a balance

Your son needs to find a balance

Q My son was due to do his Leaving Cert this year and, with all of the uncertainty until now, he found it difficult to stay focused. He is really worried too about the system that is now proposed and how the grades will actually be awarded, as there are a couple of teachers he has always had issues with. He wants to go to college, but fears that their dislike of him might go against him. How can I stop his anxiety from spiralling?

David replies: It has been so difficult for any student doing their Leaving Certificate (LC) this year. The lack of clarity about how the LC was due to run, when it would run, and how it would have been marked in time for college applications was leaving students with huge additional stress. At least the current plan for assignment of calculated grades means there is a clear end point and takes the stress of some future exam away. Students can also take a break from their books.

There is no benefit to being anxious about things we can't control. Indeed, sometimes our lack of control can increase our anxiety, since we often try to maintain multiple points of readiness, requiring us to feel always "switched on" just in case we have to act, but never quite knowing how, when or even if, we may need to act. This kind of worry is exhausting. Anxiety about things we can control can be more helpful as it can focus or motivate us to do things.