Friday 24 May 2019

What I'm really thinking ...the Leaving Cert

'Some days I can't concentrate, I fear I've already left if too late'
'Some days I can't concentrate, I fear I've already left if too late'

There are only four weeks to go until I finish school. Forever. Well, apart from my Leaving Cert that is. I've got to get to June 20 to be done with that. Music's my last exam. I can barely believe that the exams are this close. It seems like only the other day, we were starting sixth year and we were getting all the lectures about putting in the work consistently and making sure we didn't leave it all 'til the last month.

I've kinda listened to that. I have done some study, but I don't think I've done enough. I'll be working some long hours now in the final push. That's what it feels like. The final push. Earlier in the year, it was harder to find the motivation because the exams were so far away. I don't have that problem now!

I feel like everyone is treading very carefully around me at home. I like that a bit, but it also weirds me out a little too. I don't think Mam and Dad have been this nice to me in years. Mam pops in to check if I want a cup of tea before bed. I think she just wants to come in for a chat to make sure I'm not freaking out. It's kind of sweet, even though it can be a bit annoying sometimes too. I do feel like freaking out sometimes, but mostly, I'm holding it together.

We had a talk in the school before Christmas and yer man was on about how to deal with exam stress, and he was saying that there's three kinds of things that might be freaking us out.

One of them is that we are afraid that we are going to fail. And he was saying that it's not even about being afraid of failing the Leaving, but we might be equally afraid of failing to get the points we want to get the college course we might be applying for, and so failing to meet the expectations that we have for ourselves or that our parents or teachers have for us. I get a bit of that, but actually, I do think my parents are pretty chill about my results.

Another fear lots of us get, apparently, is fear of the unknown. Because we can't predict what the papers will be like, and even having done mocks, and done past papers, we might still be anxious about what it'll be like actually sitting in the exam hall as the person hands out the papers. I don't worry too much about that.

The last fear students get is that we just won't get all the study complete, that the coursework is just too much and too overwhelming. I think that that's the one I'm suffering from. There are some days that I'm in study in school and I just can't concentrate, because I feel like I may have already left it too late. I try to tell myself that I'll be fine, and I try to make a new study plan, or adapt it to try to find the time to get everything done. But it's a lot.

I've discovered, though, that it's easy for that kind of stuff to spiral. If you get into a bad headspace about things, it can really just all blow up, and you can be feeling like there isn't a hope of getting it all done and what's the point.

I said that to Dad the other day. He nodded. Then he said: "There's no such thing as perfection. You'll never achieve everything, so just focus on the bits that you can achieve.

"You'll do well in these exams because what's meant for you won't pass you by." Then he nodded again and went back to reading the paper. That helped.

As imagined by David Coleman

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