Sixty thousand Leaving Cert students will be opening up their Leaving Cert results tomorrow….and I’m sure there will be more than a few restless nights sleep tonight. But you know what students….there’s really no need!
Rewind the clock ten years (okay a lot more than ten…) to when I was opening mine and wow what a nerve wrecking time that was! Obviously my results reflected the sheer panic, anxiety and stress I felt in doing the exams and I ended up yet again feeling hopeless, stupid, thick, worthless and bloody depressed. At the time, the results and the points they equated to were all that mattered to me. They were the be all and end all of my entire life. So ending up with a terrible result was the end of the world to me.
Looking back on the time of my results, I remember it wasn’t only me who featured the results as the centre of my universe. Everyone I met seemed to do the same. All the conversations I had with people leading up to the results basically went along the time lines…’Ohhhhh the results are out soon….’ This of course has to be said with a major element of concern masked onto ones face for the conversation to go as normal. It’s the same today. I hear people talk about the results to the awaiting students the exact same way. Of course this only added to my anxiety around opening up that envelope and revealing my fate.
But I only wish I knew now what I didn’t all those years ago, the results I got were NOT going to determine my fate at all. So if I could go back in time and have that same conversation all over again I think I would tell people to cop on to themselves and think outside the box. Stop putting pressure on me…whatever my results are so what, I’m young, determined, hard working and I’m sure no matter what happens I will make a go of my life as best I can. But of course, back then I didn’t think that. Plus people cannot be blamed for this Leaving Cert result myth we have all fallen into.
Am I saying it’s not important….nooooo…what I am saying is, it is not important enough to feck up your head, mind, heart and ultimately your life!
What did I do with my crap leaving cert results (notice I ain’t using caps anymore lol), well I said okay, I know I can do better and went back to repeat. Was it easy? Nooooooo. I still suffered dehabilitating anxiety and depression but I worked through it and came out with a better result. I will never ever forget my principal bypassing all the 500 point students to congratulate me on my results even though they were still crap compared to his top students. That meant so much to me as that gesture in itself showed me it wasn’t the result he was interested in, it was the determination and the effort I made to get it. As much as I wanted to many time, I didn’t give up.
So, I went on to become a secondary school teacher and have just published my first book. My life has worked out pretty well despite the feeling of hopelessness I felt upon receiving those awful results many many years ago! (Yes I do still have anxiety and depression from time to time and have battled it all along but that has nothing to do with my initial leaving cert results, that’s more to do with me being an anxious banana J lol)
So can I offer some words of wisdom if you are in a position where by you think this is the be all and end all….?
- Keep yourself on the straight and narrow, do not go down the wrong road of taking drugs to help yourself feel better, because once you start that craic J you may aswell forget it! All that crap is so hard to turn away from once you start and it leaks all the motivation and determination you have to succeed in life.
- Just think about it….unless you were born with a divine knowledge of what you want to spend the rest of your life doing…then how the hell are you suppose to know at seventeen/eighteen???? So don’t panic about your future job and just have a vision of what life you want to life….example good job, family, car etc The how to manage that is something to think about not something to panic over. I hated the way you had to pick a course and it was so rigid back in my day, you studied law, medicine, science etc… They all seemed like a one road journey. Arts was considered a degree for anyone who had no clue of what to do! Plus back then Arts didn’t have great options. Today I’m delighted to hear that where I went to college, Maynooth, offers a great Arts degree, with law and psychology plus many more courses being offered now also. So if you have no idea, don’t worry, go with your gut of what you are interested in and go from there. And make sure it is what YOU are interested in and not what your parents want or where your best friend is going!
- If you get terrible results so what…there are so many pathways to reach your destination these days and if there isn’t a clear one you can see then carve out your own path. All you need is a willingness to work for it. Be determined.
- Nobody gonna hand it to you on a plate! Get up and do it!
- Finally, I will be encouraging my two girls to take a year off after the leaving cert or college (depending on their maturity and sensibility) and heading off out into the world to go and explore what’s out there and ultimately then what’s in themselves! Leaving them with a clearer vision of what they want from life and what journey they want to take. No I don’t plan on funding their round the world trips as I will be spending all my pension on a round the world trip myself….but they have brains and can pick up the odd job here and there to fund it. A great way to learn about money and saving too eh??
So…no matter what the result tomorrow…get up and get on with it…start working on the rest of your life!