Editorial: 'Leaving cert results count - but future matters more'
One of the first and hardest lessons Leaving Cert students are forced to confront is that when it comes to education in the 21st century, there really is no leaving.
There are just new beginnings.
The nearly 60,000 students picking up their results today will soon discover that what they have in their hand is a ticket for a journey that never really stops.
Gandhi said a lot when he advised: "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."
The choices and career paths available may seem bewildering but the first thing to remember is that you and all those who helped you this far deserve great credit.
Whatever your points tally - and you are so much more than that - you should treat each one of them as a source of pride and pleasure.
As to the ones that slipped you by? Grades are only one source of feedback,
The past is only a place of reference - it can never be a place of residence, so don't dwell in it.
From a practical point or if you are particularly dissatisfied with a grade, you can apply immediately to view your script; errors are made, it is possible to appeal but it is recommended to check the script first.
When you have tried hard, you can savour the satisfaction of your achievement; and if you haven't, you have the consolation of knowing you definitely have the potential to do better.
There may be others who are wondering why they are not completely certain about the direction or course they have chosen.
There is still time to think.
It is alright not to know exactly what you want to do with your life and there is an abundance of advice available, so use it.
Even if it did not work out precisely as you had hoped, no result - good or bad - can curtail your freedom to do your best.
The beginning is always now, especially in the realm of learning.
Not everyone will be happy today and that is why a sense of perspective is so essential.
Success by many will be measured by whether they have the points for whatever specific course they hoped to be admitted to.
But there are many different routes to be taken to where you hope to reach. Some may be more tortuous and circuitous, but that's no excuse for turning back.
The civil rights activist Jesse Jackson noted: "Both tears and sweat are salty, but they render a different result. Tears will get you sympathy; sweat will get you change."
Sometimes that is where the difference lies - having the will to keep going and not giving up. In the end, what could be more rewarding or enriching than to go the extra mile to become that which you are capable of becoming?
So when all the chatter about points and college places dies down, you will still have the seeds for sowing a great future within you.