The moment of truth . . .
The Irish Times ExamWatch diarists describe the exhilaration and disappointment of finally getting their Leaving Cert results
Dunshaughlin diarists: from left Linda McCormack, Stuart Bridgett, Catherine Vance, Sarah Keane, Aaron gilmartin and Albert Wilkinson. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
‘How many points did you get?” “Did you hear about the fella who studied the biology course by himself in 12 weeks and got 9 A1s?” “Will you get your first college choice?”
The last sound of the Leaving Cert isn’t the final clink of the pen as it falls to the desk for the last time. Nor is it the sound of sighs of relief. The incessant chatter endures through the long, anxious summer. Often, the results don’t shut the noise down; they amplify it, as the wait for a college drags on for five interminable days.
And the CAO offers are so noisy and attention grabbing that they insist on dragging the already bedraggled college candidates out of their beds at 6am in the morning, when they become available online – unless, of course, the candidates wisely roll over and go back to sleep.
This morning, our diarists, all students of Dunshaughlin Community College in Co Meath, who followed the Leaving Cert papers for The Irish Times ExamWatch in June, wake up to the latest stage of the process. Anything less than their first preference would be a devastating and unforeseen shock for four of them. So how have our they fared, and what distracted them this summer?
“It’s been horrible, and so disappointing. I was nervous before opening the results, but hopeful. The school is closed for renovations, so we picked up our results from the nearby pitch and putt club. It felt like a long walk to my own doom, but yet I had to do it. My eyes immediately fell on my LCVP grade, and then I glanced at the rest of my results, and I knew it wasn’t enough. I burst into tears. Mum was there with me. I needed more to get into home economics teaching in St. Angela’s, Sligo. I needed, I think, around 470 or 480 points, but I got 440.
“I thought I had done better, particularly in English and history, which I will probably get rechecked once I see what CAO offer I get. I’m one of the students that now needs to “consider my options”. There’s CAO round one, and round two. I don’t think a PLC course would benefit me personally, and I don’t like my level six/seven courses. Repeating is a possibility, but it’s far from ideal.
“It’s really rough having to wait to learn my fate. Media and social media don’t help, with so much focus on all the brilliant results.
“Three As immediately jumped off the page and smacked me in the face. And then I was shaking, I couldn’t hold the sheet, so my father had to hang onto it while I got out the calculator and totted up my CAO points.
“I was so busy during the summer – some farm work, and a trip to Cork – that I didn’t have time to think about the results. Then, on the night before I got them, the nerves really hit.