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Leaving it all behind

Leaving it all behind

Colin McDonagh

Sleepless nights? Worried sick? Sweaty palms? Nightmares about failing Maths? Nails bitten to the bone?
Not at all! Thankfully none of these emotions got the better of me in the run-up to last Wednesday as I collected my Leaving Certificate results.
The results were the culmination of six years of second level education at Rice College, Westport and while I was relaxed in the run-up, I’d be lying if I said I was completely carefree on Wednesday morning. John Foy and myself went into the school to collect our results, hoping for the best but a little bit cautious all the same.
Over the summer I didn’t really think of how my results would go. I couldn’t change them so what was the point worrying? But as the clock kept ticking the day of destiny came ever closer and naturally the nerves began to jangle a small bit. But I tried to keep the nerves at bay and just be optimistic about what I would get rather than worry about it. Easier said than done however and last Wednesday to be honest the nerves were kicking in.
I slept well on the Tuesday night probably from the exhaustion of cutting grass all day but nonetheless as soon as the head hit the pillow it was good night Irene! Wednesday morning came and as soon as I woke up I thought to myself for a brief second ‘there’s something important on today, isn’t there?’ There sure was. It was Leaving Cert results day.
As soon as we arrived at the school it was clear that most lads were content enough with what they got. Lads swaggered in the door with broad smiles confident and assured whilst others walked in with the fear of God written across their face. I joined the queue outside the Principal’s office and when it was my turn to step inside the door Mr Rabbette assured me that there was nothing to worry about. He was brilliant because instantly you were made to feel a whole lot calmer. He gave me my results but I didn’t open them until about 10 minutes later.
I was delighted on how I got on and I far exceeded my expectations. I was thrilled and I was glad all the hard work had paid off. But it’s unfortunate to hear that not everybody got what they wanted or wished for. Some people missed out on their preferred option by 10 or 20 points and many believe that it is the pressure of the points system that’s letting students down.
So is there need for reform in the whole Leaving Cert approach? It’s easy for me to comment since I have it over and done with but I think it is time for change. In my opinion I feel that seven subjects is too many and I think five may be more suitable and students would find it a small bit easier to cope with and results would improve.
It’s an area that’s up for debate, there’s no doubt about that and I’m sure everybody has their own opinion on the matter but it’s certainly an area that needs to be looked at by the Minister. But that’s a matter for the politicians to decide. Me? I’m off to college!

Colin McDonagh completed his Leaving Certificate at Rice College, Westport. He is on work experience in The Mayo News.