Let's hear it from the Class of 2012

Wed, Aug 15, 2012, 01:00

From celebrating your results to making the right decisions about what course to pursue, the next few days and weeks are crucial - but you're not alone. Here, some leaving cert students in exactly your situation outline their experience so far

Profile 1: Conor Scully From Portmarnock Former school Sutton Park School

I'M HAVING an amazing summer. I'm inter-railing with two friends at the moment. We flew into Budapest and have since been to Bratislava, Vienna, Bled and Munich. We are heading up to Berlin and Brussels then getting a plane down to Biarritz. My favourite place was Bled it was spectacular. It's got this lake with the prettiest little island (the only one in Slovenia) in the middle of it. Stunning. Right now I'm panicking a bit because I haven't booked a flight home from Biarritz and can't find one for less than €250. Oh well. I'm sure we'll be fine.

The Leaving Cert didn't go amazingly well, but it wasn't too bad either. English paper two was tough but unlike the rest of the world I messed up on the comparative studies section, not poetry. The absence of Plath suited me fine. Maths was also tough. Economics and history were probably my best. I am tentatively confident I'll get enough for my course. I'm hoping to do philosophy, politics, economics and sociology in Trinity. I want to do a course that's quite broad. I'm not really sure what I want to do after college.

The recession seems to be affecting everyone these days. It has impacted my choice of study I suppose. I wanted to do film studies but everyone encouraged me to do something that's a little more sought after by employers! We'll see whether that strategy works out. I think I'm keeping my options open. I think I've a job lined up for when we get home. Hope so anyway. I'll work for the rest of the summer and then it's off to the Electric Picnic - hopefully there'll be lots of celebrating.


Five songs that remind me of schoolAnything from the Little Shop of Horrors soundtrack (I played the dentist in our school production in fifth year), Call Me Maybe and 212 because they were everywhere this year. Bang Bang Bang by Mark Ronson (heard it a few weeks ago and can't stop listening to it), What'll I Do by Lisa Hannigan (love her).

Best school memoryEither taking part in the musical in fifth year or our graduation night in May.

Worst school memoryI got sick in March and missed four weeks of school. It was so stressful trying to catch up with all the stuff I missed.

Favourite filmLost in Translation

Favourite bookHoles by Louis Sachar

Best apps/websitesTemple Run, Scrabble, Plane Finder (can't stop).

If you could go on a night out with five famous people, who would you choose and where would you go?Derren Brown, Meryl Streep, Lena Dunham, Joanna Newsom and Peggy Olson (I don't care if she's fictional). We'd go to a karaoke bar.

Profile 2: Laura Ray From Roscommon Former school Athlone Community College

I'VE WANTED to be a teacher for ages. You know when you've an ideal job in mind when you're a child? Mine was primary school teaching. Then in fifth year I really decided that it was what I wanted to aim for.

Apart from the Plath disaster, the Leaving Cert went better than I thought it would. English paper two was not pretty though. I remember I was sitting beside a friend of mine, we opened the paper and we just looked at each other in horror. Luckily I had looked over Larkin just in case Plath didn't come up.

I'm reasonably confident that I'll get my points. I'm aiming for primary school teaching in St Pats so hopefully I've done enough. I'm actually working in the autism unit in my local primary school at the moment. I did it last year as well and I really love it. The long-term plan is to do a Masters in special needs education with a view to working in this field.

Some people have advised me against it as apparently there are no jobs going - thanks a lot recession - but I just can't imagine doing anything else. So after I finish here, I'll be going to Germany with a friend of mine. We're just going over for a week to visit her penpal. It'll be nice to have someone to show us around.

All going well points-wise I'll be staying with my grandad in Crumlin for college. It's great to be able to stay with family. I'm a bit of a homebird. Grandad's happy about it too. Apparently he has all the curtains washed and the buses figured out for me. I can't wait.


Songs that remind me of schoolHate my life - Theory of a Deadman, Not afraid - Eminem, The sound of sunshine - Michael Franti & Spearheads,

Best school memoryI was on the public speaking team in fifth year and we got to the all-Ireland finals. It was such a brilliant experience.

Worst school memoryYou know, my memories are pretty good of school. Getting given out to by various teachers is about the height of it.

Favourite filmI enjoy all sorts of stuff - 50 First Dates, Panic Room and the Twilight films.

Favourite bookI don't really read anymore but I loved The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe.

Best apps/websitesFacebook, Twitter, Netflix and Miniclip for games.

If you could go on a night out with five famous people, who would you choose and where would you go?Hayley Williams, Adam Sandler, Nicki Minaj, Barack Obama and Pete Wentz. I'd invite them over for popcorn and a movie on the couch.

Profile 3: Sergey Alifanov From: Waterford City Former school: Mount Sion CBS, Waterford

THE LEAVING Cert went great. The worst part was the anticipation and the worry of upcoming exams. Thankfully, I was prepared for most questions thrown at me and only a couple of them were disasters.

I wasn't caught out by the infamous studied poetry section, I got a handy honours physics paper (if there is such a thing as a handy physics paper) and the economics paper proved kind. The drawing question in construction studies and the composition in English Paper 1 were a bit of a fiasco, however, because I knew I could have done better. Overall, I'm very confident that I will reach my target. I hope I won't regret saying this later.

I'm hoping to go to Trinity College and do Business, Economics and Social Studies (BESS). If that fails then it's multimedia in DCU.

I decided to change my first choice on the CAO and the recession definitely had a role in that. I'm interested in both economics and multimedia, but in the end I decided to go for economics, partly because I feel it offers better career prospects. I would never put down a course purely because of good career prospects, though. Students who do that run a high risk of losing interest, or having none to begin with, and dropping out.

I have had a very quiet summer so far - I'm reading all the books I didn't have time to read before, taking photographs of Irish towns and Irish scenery (I'm a photography enthusiast), and working whenever I get the chance to.

I'm currently looking for accommodation for September, planning on going on one or two concerts, climbing the Comeraghs as well as going to the Debs before the summer is over.


Songs that remind me of schoolJoey Ramone - What A Wonderful World, The Riptide Movement - Keep On, Keepin' On,  P.I. Tchaikovsky - 1812 Overture

Best school memoryOur school trip to Paris in fifth year was great, especially our day in Disneyland Paris. In sixth year it probably has to be the motivational career guidance speeches by our guidance counsellor, which resembled stand-up comedy more than anything else.

Worst school memoryI'd say getting back my mock exam results. Some results were a disaster and I felt that all the countless hours of study spent in the library didn't pay off. My plan of getting enough mock points for my first choice course didn't come to fruition so I raised my target by another fifty points and worked towards it consistently for the rest of the year.

Favourite bookI have a few but The Great Gatsby is definitely the one that made the most impact on me this year

Best apps/websitesThe trusty examinations.ie is indispensable for all the exam papers and marking schemes. LC Forum on Boards.ie. There is a fantastic community of Leaving Cert students there who will always help you with your study or share your LC-related woes with you.

If you could go on a night out with five famous people, who would you choose and where would you go?Haven't a clue! I'd rather go with someone I actually know! :)

Profile 4: Jennifer McCormack From: Dublin Former school: St Dominic's College, Cabra

THE LEAVING CERT? It was okay. Just okay. Some subjects like biology, I expected them to be easy and I found them really hard, but then some I expected to be really hard and I found them easy.

German was a nice surprise for example. The area I really focussed on when I was studying came up so I was delighted. I did higher level maths and I found that exam hard. I don't know what to expect on results day. I can't decide how I feel about it.

I want to do deaf studies in Trinity. It's a really interesting course - there's sign language, teaching, communication, all sorts of stuff. I'm just interested in it really. There's a school for deaf students near mine and I'd just like to know more. I don't have a long-term plan or anything but perhaps teaching might be a good option.

I was looking at some computer courses but this is much more my thing. Plan B is social care in DIT. We'll see what happens.

I'm really enjoying the summer. It's so weird not having to study. I don't know what to do with myself. I'm doing some work experience with the Irish Internet Association - mainly helping to organise events and things. I'll be going to London in August. The plan is to head off after the results and get back in time for the first round offers. No major plans although I'm sure I'll fit a bit of shopping in. I haven't been doing any mad partying - just lots of relaxing and taking it easy. The novelty of that is great.

I seriously can't wait for college. Roll on September. (Fingers crossed of course.)


Songs that remind me of schoolWe are young - Fun; KC and the Sunshine Band - Give it up and Yolanda Adams - I believe (from the Honey soundtrack). They all remind me of graduating.

Best school memoryGraduation.

Worst school memoryThe beginning of the Leaving Cert year was a bit over the top. There was so much pressure from teachers. It began to ease off towards exam time but at the beginning of the year they made it seem like the end of the world.

Favourite filmSchool of Rock

Favourite bookAnything by Ross O'Carroll-Kelly

Best apps/websitesThe usual - Facebook, Twitter, Studyhub.

If you could go on a night out with five famous people, who would you choose and where would you go?John, Paul, George, Ringo . . and Zayne from One Direction! We'd go for a Chinese takeaway.