The day has arrived. You wonder if there was any point in studying or if all that cramming really worked. When you open that envelope and check the grades, there’s usually only space for two feelings; joy or disappointment. The following is my recount of my experience after receiving my leaving cert results. It is not the make or break time in your life as it’s always perceived with the Leaving Cert but only the beginning of a journey with many pathways which you have the opportunity to shape.
When I opened that envelope
I remember that Wednesday in August 2014 like it was last week when I thought it would be the last time I would step into my secondary school in Ballinteer, Dublin. I was nervous and anxious to see if the work I had put in would amount to something and if I would get the points I needed to study law in college. I chose law because I had done legal studies as a subject in Transition Year and this allowed me to think about the career I wanted to go into.
I received my envelope LAST. With a surname like Yimbog, this happened all throughout my school days! When I opened it I was almost left in shock and thought it was a mistake but unfortunately I was reading it correctly. As I scanned through my subjects, I was happy with some but not with others. The one which caused the most disappointment was when I saw that I had failed higher level maths. Once I saw that and calculated the points I had gotten I thought that studying law was immediately out the door. Honestly, I shouldn’t have been surprised as maths was never my strongest subject but I studied at higher level for 6 years. I dropped down to ordinary level after the mocks and received grinds at Easter but I was stubborn and wanted the extra 25 points so went back to higher level. On that day I thought I had made the worst decision of my life and was now paying the price because I wouldn’t be able to do the course I wanted.
Subsequent to receiving my results, I had spoken to teachers and they gave me advice on what I should do. This included getting the grades remarked in Maths, (which I did try) and also to look at alternatives such as repeating the leaving cert, doing a PLC or taking whatever option I got in the CAO. The following Monday couldn’t have come any sooner as all I was weighing up was either doing a PLC or taking whatever course I got. I did not want to do the leaving cert again and go through those ten months of torture with the chance of failing again even if I tried my hardest.
The Monday of Round 1 of the CAO offers brought another surprise when I saw that I had been offered a place to study Law in DIT. It’s safe to say that it wasn’t high up on my list as my first choice was Business and Law in UCD. I was happy that I was able to study law but at the same time disappointed because it I wasn’t going to be in UCD or Trinity. I wanted to go there because they top class Law Schools along with the prestige those Universities carry with them. However, even though I hadn’t considered law in DIT before I was happy that I was being given the chance to study there.
It is not the end
When you get your results today, you will have mixed emotions and may be anxious about making this “life-defining” decision. In my opinion, secondary school and the leaving cert doesn’t adequately prepare you for college and unfortunately leads to many dropping out in their first year. If you’re disappointed like I was, all I can say it is not the end of the world. If you don’t get the course you wanted or the points you needed to get into college, just know that there are so many other ways to get in such as a PLC or returning as a mature student after a few years of working and gaining valuable life experience.
Like so many things in life, it may not always work out the way you intended it but could also work out better. Whether it’s faith or some form of luck, if I hadn’t failed maths I may not have gotten as involved as I did in college, made the friends I have, graduated with a law degree and become Students’ Union President. If you’re one of 55,700 due to receive your results today I wish you the best of luck! This day is not the defining moment in your life and only the beginning of a journey that may present challenges but also opportunities to define your own success and happiness.