Friday, June 8, 2012

Leaving Certificate Panic Stations!

That time has come again. Sweaty palms, chewed pens and hair pulling. The Leaving Certificate (and Junior Cert.) started two days ago. For my non-Irish followers out there this is a series of major exams taken by about 50,000 students over all of Ireland. The Leaving Cert is taken by students aged between 16-18 roughly, and is the measure by which the state deems us eligible to attend our chosen college courses. It is an out-dated and much hated system.

It has been 13 years since I took my place at the desk which was (I thought) to determine my academic future. Every year when I see the students walking towards the school for the exams my blood runs cold. Even now the thoughts of it make me shudder. It didn't help that I was the worst student in the school. I barely studied and spent a lot of time distracting myself by organising a big party to celebrate the end of the exams in my back garden. By the way, that party was epic!

I scraped a pass. Was very disappointed but not at all surprised. I got into college and enjoyed my time there. To be completely honest I wouldn't change a thing. I'm a great believer in not regretting the past. I can't change it and it lead me to where I am now. I did go back and repeat honours English and Math a few years ago in the Adult Education Centre.

In my opinion, the Leaving Cert. is not something to measure our life by. If, for any reason, you don't do well it can't stop you from achieving anything you really want. It might take longer but your academic climax does not have to happen at 17. It is merely another stepping stone.


  1. Well said, Nessa :). I remember doing really well in my Leaving Cert (German: Abitur) and had high hopes for the future. Sadly enough though, studying didn't teach me any of the lessons that really matter in life and I still have trouble coming to terms with the fact that a strong personality is a much more effective way to get what you want and unfortunately can't be learnt in school. By the way, I've seen that you follow the Vagenda too? Nice little blog, isn't it :)?

    1. Strong personality and determination will get you further in life than a good Leaving Cert for sure! Only started following Vagenda recently. I really enjoy reading their posts. Following on twitter too :)