Leaving Certificate journey part 2

Tipperary student reflects on the Leaving Certificate mock exams


Robert Burke


Robert Burke



So the Mocks are finished, and the results are trickling back. There is an overwhelming feeling of anticlimax as each teacher urges us to focus on where to improve and to turn our attention towards June. It seems we aren’t allowed to sit back and bask in the glory of what we accomplished... Or didn’t accomplish.

For some, their focus is instead on the HPAT, on project deadlines and HEAR or DARE applications. Others are juggling difficult choices regarding subject levels, and realistic expectations, all while faced with the ever-nearing oral exams. A few are keeping sane by planning ahead to their Summer. Between music festivals, sixth year holidays and the debs, it will be an eventful two months.

Robert's Leaving Cert journey part 1.

Unfortunately, such varying priorities can be a bone of contention. Those who feel time slip away become short-tempered under the strain, while those who aren’t tied down by deadlines unintentionally get in the way of those who are. It is an altogether volatile time, the impending stress and strain can leave you struggling to see passed your own hardship. This feeling is natural, one that many people experience, and  one that must be allowed for. When this feeling takes over and arguments break out between friends, it is important to remember that they are enduring the same burden as you. Instead of taking this frustration out on each other, we should be helping each other to manage it.

All of these deadlines colliding around the time of the Mocks certainly doesn’t do anything to alleviate this tension. The Mocks had a draining effect on me, leaving me underwhelmed and overworked, lacking the motivation to start again. However, we are now in the business end of the year, as teachers are quick to remind us, and I must put my head down again. Trying to do sufficient work in order to be prepared come June, while simultaneously avoiding the dreaded burnout is a tough balance to strike, and my unwillingness to start studying again points towards the latter. A two day lay-off with the dreaded Beast from the East may help to overcome that burnout, but it also means two more days out of school at a stage when class time is precious and short in supply. After all, it hit 100 days to go only recently.

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Clearly some of us have begun the countdown of weeks that we have left in this school. As those numbers decline, I’m beginning to experience the unnerving feeling of nostalgia, going against my desire to be free from the walls I have trudged for six years. I can feel the same sentiment amongst my year however, as we go about our daily routines at a slower pace, lingering in the study hall chatting that bit longer, heading down to the changing rooms at a stroll, trying to make the most of the our last few weeks together.

Secondary school has flown by, and the prospect of starting anew next September, as enjoyable as it will be, is still somewhat daunting. It will be a welcome change, all the same.

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