Exam diary: My dog helps me deal with the stress of it all

When study is over Alfie needs a walk, so he forces me out of the house

Muireann O’Reilly: It’s hard to imagine a time when I won’t be working on the Leaving Cert – but it will come next Tuesday, when I put down my pen after the chemistry exam. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Muireann O’Reilly: It’s hard to imagine a time when I won’t be working on the Leaving Cert – but it will come next Tuesday, when I put down my pen after the chemistry exam. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

 

Alfie has been my constant companion for the past few months. I’m studying away, sometimes tired and stressed, and my dog comes and lies on the floor beside me. It’s amazing what a calming presence a pet can be.

Alfie arrived at our house one day a few years ago – and decided he wasn’t leaving. We never found his original owners, but he’s a great addition to the family. When study is over Alfie needs a walk, so he forces me out of the house to get some exercise.

So far the exams have gone really well. I was very well prepared for English. I know that a lot of students study a limited number of poets and cross their fingers that their gamble will pay off, but I didn’t want to take the risk, so I studied everyone except Gerard Manley Hopkins. I was able to choose between three poets, and I went with Keats.

Project Maths makes the subject more relatable, although the questions contain so much explanation you struggle to find what they actually want you to do

I did honours maths, and I think it went well; the questions suited me. I started secondary school just as Project Maths was coming in. The focus is on real-life scenarios, and I think it makes maths more relatable, although it can be confusing, because there is so much explanation in the question that you struggle to find what they actually want you to do.

There’s such a big build-up to the exams, and now they are flying by. It’s hard to imagine a time when I won’t be working on the Leaving Cert – but it will come next Tuesday, when I put down my pen after the chemistry exam.

Chemistry and biology are my favourite subjects. I’m hoping that, when this is all over, and the CAO results come in, I will be studying a science course that will lead to a research career, possibly with a medical-device company.

I haven’t really got a plan for the summer. I haven’t planned a post-Leaving Cert holiday; if I’m going away anywhere it may just be a weekend somewhere in Ireland.

I don’t know if I will do much besides play and watch a lot of sport. I particularly love camogie, and I will be going to a lot of matches.

It’s been so full-on for the past year that I’m just looking forward to the break.

Muireann O’Reilly is a student at Coláiste Éinde, in Salthill, Galway