The Leaving might only be the start

Off the fence
The Leaving might only be the start

Being of a relaxed disposition, worries about how I had done in my Leaving Cert didn’t quite consume me in the summer of 2001.
I hadn’t exactly killed myself with study for the exams but I had done a bit in between bouts of daydreaming about college life in Galway and breaks to watch Champions League games.
My first choice was Corporate Law in Galway which, at 470 points, I knew I was probably going to fall short of. But Commerce with Spanish - which was 370 - was my second choice and I was confident I would hit that mark.
Thing was to get in I also had to get a B3 or better in a foreign language - German in my case to get that course.
The morning of the results I was dead to the world. Not consumed with nerves, I slept right through until 11am. It would have been later only for my mother got me up. I think she wanted to know how I got on more than I did myself.
So in I went to Davitt College in Castlebar to face the music. Principal Patsy Noone handed me my results and said ‘well done’. I wondered did he say that to everyone or had I actually ‘done well’?
So the envelope was opened and my eyes went straight to my German mark. B3. Phew. Job oxo. The figures totted up shortly after and I was comfortably over the 370 mark. Commerce with Spanish in NUI Galway it was going to be.
And I had a chance to sample the language four days later when our group of 12 hit for Santa Ponsa for our post Leaving Cert holiday.
Unfortunately the main word I picked up was cerveza. I even struggled with comprehending English on that holiday. I’m still reminded of telling lads we should go to the O-A-K bar when it was quite simply called the Oak.
A few months later in college however I soon realised that while the Spanish was difficult but enjoyable, the Commerce end of my course was, for me, about as much fun as listening to the Castlebar Mitchels’ lads talk about how good they are.
So, come early 2002, I was back filling out the CAO form and applied to change into Arts. Two years further on I ended up full-time in The Mayo News with a year to finish for my degree.
It’s only now that I’m getting around to finishing it - returning to Galway this September.
The moral of the story? The Leaving Cert is but one wee marker on a road. For some it will point them definitely down the correct academic route. Others, like me may take a circuitous route. And there’s nothing wrong with either. Best of luck to all students tomorrow.