Day of reckoning as results finally come in for Exam Diary crew

Earlier this year, six of the students reported on their Leaving Cert exam experience for ‘The Irish Times’

From left: Aaron Gilmartin, Albert Wilkinson, Stuart Bridgett, Linda McCormack, Catherine Vance and Sarah Keane. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

From left: Aaron Gilmartin, Albert Wilkinson, Stuart Bridgett, Linda McCormack, Catherine Vance and Sarah Keane. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Thu, Aug 15, 2013, 01:00


That pivotal moment – opening an envelope – is burdened by choices. Do you take your results out to your family and open them in the relative privacy of the car, with your mother’s fear and anxiety stuck in suspended animation (and should you leave her face like that, for the laugh)? How about opening them with your friends and comparing results? Or do you find a quiet corner by yourself so you can weep or whoop alone?

This was perhaps the last decision the class of Dunshaughlin Community College could take before those grades dictated – at least for now – the direction of their lives. Earlier this year, six of the students reported on their Leaving Cert exam experience for The Irish Times Exam Diary.

Yesterday came the reckoning. From 10am – or slightly earlier for one student who just could not cope with another 10 minutes of overbearing anxiety – they gathered. But not at their school which, closed for extensive renovations, has been in a state of limbo this summer. No: this year’s group went to the local pitch and putt club across the road.

Moment of truth
Envelope in hand, Stuart Bridgett, Albert Wilkinson and Linda McCormack sought shelter in the family car. Aaron Gilmartin, put off by all the hype, wandered off by himself, as did Sarah Keane. Only Catherine Vance opened her results with friends. Most were happy. Catherine was “thrilled” with 570 points and the extreme likelihood that she would secure her place on a primary teacher training course.

Stuart was “shocked and surprised” to get 545 points and is likely to get his place on the politics, economics and philosophy course in Trinity College.

Sarah was disappointed with two or three subjects, but her 460 points give her an outside shot at her first choice – psychology in DCU; her second choice is almost guaranteed. Aaron was quite nonplussed about the whole thing, his skills having already assured him of a place on a games development and design course in Griffith College.

Albert was “very pleased” to pick up 510 points and an A1 in honours physics. He plans to study engineering in UCD.

Agonising wait
For Linda, the agonising wait continues. With a points score of 440 – well above the national average – she is disappointed with her results, hoping that CAO points fall from last year to give her a shot at home economics teaching in St Angela’s Sligo. A lot could happen in the next week.

Last night the results took second place to being together. Mantra was the mantra, as the students – along with the rest of their class – headed to the popular nightclub in Maynooth to celebrate, or to commiserate. Or, simply, to forget.