‘Is it really reasonable to expect the tech generation to write for five or six hours at a time?’

Exam diary: Maths was kind, then a lovely Irish paper one

Leaving Certificate student, Sean O’Callaghan, Coláiste Chill Mhantáin, Wicklow. Picture: Garry O’Neill

Leaving Certificate student, Sean O’Callaghan, Coláiste Chill Mhantáin, Wicklow. Picture: Garry O’Neill


I really enjoyed the Irish exam. I know, I know, weird, right? But I love Irish. I love the language, the culture, everything about it. I didn’t go to a Gaelscoil or anything, I wish I did. With any luck I’ll be off to Galway, immersing myself in the language and the landscape, hiking the Connemara hills and having the craic in college. After that? Single-handedly reviving our native tongue and instilling a profound pride in our culture and heritage? Who knows? Might as well think big.

So apart from a seriously sore hand – is it really reasonable to expect the tech generation to write for five or six hours at a time? – today was pretty untraumatic. Paper two in maths was okay, nice even. It more than made up for paper one which wasn’t so kind. And then Irish, lovely Irish paper one.

Irish paper two and biology are going to be tough. There’s just a time pressure there. I’m pretty confident though. You’ve got to go with it. What’s the point in worrying? I took this year seriously. You might as well study hard, but I played hurling throughout. Lots of people give up sport for the Leaving. They reckon it’s a distraction. I’m the opposite. It gives me headspace and helps me focus.

It’s funny, though, how your perspective changes in a matter of a few days. All that craziness in the lead up to the first English exam and now, a couple of days in, after all those nerves, it’s almost routine.

After tomorrow, I have history on Wednesday, German on Friday and then almost a week to wait for economics. That’ll be a weird sort of limbo to be in. Although if I’m honest, I need the extra few days for economics. It’s my least favourite subject by far.

I’ve stayed well away from the exam postmortems. All those people freaking out on Twitter? It’s just not my style. I don’t even let my parents make too much of a fuss. I think that sometimes all that support can put you under more pressure. I like to handle things my own way, keep everything on an even keel. So after exams, I look over my notes and then just listen to music, read a non-exam related book and relax. I’ve been meeting my mates at the weekends, just hanging around. Once economics is done I’ll be able to go out and have a good time.

I’m just focusing on Galway. I guess my family instilled the whole love of the language, the music, the culture in me. You know when you grow up with it you barely even notice? Anyway, I hope I’ll get there. I won’t be repeating, I think I’d rather do a PLC course than go through this memory test again. With any luck, this time next year I’ll be hiking the Connemara hills, making plans for my cultural revival. You read it here first.

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