The Leaving Cert is a tricky and emotionally draining journey that knocks the soul out of any 18-year-old. While it might be a long time since I completed the big LC, I've learnt a few lessons along the way that you might want to take note of you before you step into your final year of secondary school:
1. Studying doesn't make you a loser
Possibly the worst thing to happen during the Leaving Cert is the constant shame your friends will place on your for hitting the books. If you don't want to tell your friends about studying then lie but, if you're brave enough, tell them the truth.
In the long run, it doesn't matter what they're doing, focus on what YOU'RE doing. At the end of the day, you're your own best friend and you need to get what you want and that means points, points, and more points thanks to a bizarre educational system.
2. Your life will be greater than a bunch of exams
While your whole life and all the air might be taken up by the Leaving Cert, it's okay to walk away from it all for a little while and remember why you're doing all of this work in the first place.
3. Studying seven subjects isn't a bad idea
Although trying to keep on top of six subjects is hard enough, Maths, English and Irish are basic subjects you've been doing your entire life which means all you're learning is three new subjects, including learning a language just to get into university. Take this time to learn two new subjects you're actually interested in.
Think about taking Home Economics or Link Modules to learn life skills, or studying something creative like Music or Art to give you breathing space from the books.
4. Apart from the CAO and a few nosey people, nobody cares what points you got
Everyone and their granny might ask you about your points but the reality is you don't have to tell a single soul. The case is closed once you receive that envelope. Don't let points define how others see you. Once you're on the path you've chosen to follow, everyone else's opinion of you goes out the window.
5. Taking a year out from education after finishing the Leaving Cert is kinda heavenly
While we're not suggesting how to live your life, a year off to work, travel or think about what degree you want to spend four years studying is super beneficial. Take it from someone who jumped into doing a degree, it's not worth it. Sit back and take it all in.
6. Almost no one uses Leaving Cert information in real life
Yes, the LC introduces you to the basic of everything but the chances are if you're planning on becoming a hairdresser, baker, freelance graphic designer or solicitor you're never going to need to know higher level maths or ask someone to converse as Gaeilge.
7. You're deadly
The Leaving Cert is a hotbed of competitiveness with everyone constantly comparing themselves to one another. While comparing yourself to someone else is bound to happen throughout your life, remember you have to follow your own path. Take a step back and learn to be chill by yourself and recognise, no matter how cheesy or corny it sounds, just how deadly you truly are.
Don't beat yourself up either if you're not book smart. You might not be the type of person who does well retaining random facts and information but someone who's creative and can analyze any situation.
Remember to be thankful for your friends, family and even your teachers. Those people might annoy the shit out of you right now but in ten years' time, you'll miss the mundane of everyday Leaving Cert life and the people who made you who you are today.