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.