Exam Watch Diary: fighting fatigue and staying positive

Sarah Keane, one of our Exam Watchers, on getting beyond the point of no return

Sarah Keane, is a Leaving Certificate student at Dunshaughlin Community College, Co Meath. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Sarah Keane, is a Leaving Certificate student at Dunshaughlin Community College, Co Meath. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill


Must. Doodle. Or watch Britain’s Got Talent. Or stare at a wall. Any mindless activity will do. Doing the Irish Times exam diary sounded like a great laugh a month ago. Now it’s just more words, the endless string of letters and spaces that stretch out in all directions from where I now stand. Geography was interminable. A brief respite punctuated by an awful sandwich and a delicious postmortem (sorry, other way around) and then more wretched words on that horrible, horrible maths exam. I know people are tweeting to say how lovely it was but that’s only making me feel worse.

Problem solving
I didn’t know where to begin. I didn’t know which way to hold it. I wasn’t expecting a picnic but did it have to be cauldron full of spiders and worms?

What was that question about the concert stadium? A function for determining ticket sales? All those little squares? I couldn’t make head nor tail of it. Apparently the object of this new Project Maths course is to encourage problem solving; well the only solution I could come up with was to walk out of the exam and go and buy tickets to Justin Timberlake. But he’s sold out! I can’t catch a break.

Geography is my favourite subject though, and despite how tough today was I still love it. Studying geography is like sitting back and thumbing through a copy of National Geographic or watching natural history programmes on TV. Relaxing. Not like history. It’s funny really because at the beginning of fifth year history was my favourite subject and I only took geography resentfully because biology was full. If I could turn back the clock I would dump history with its dates and locations and take tech drawing, which I would actually be good at. And then there’d be enough in the class for a five-a-side ladies’ technical drawing soccer team.

This is turning into a bit of a moanfest, isn’t it? Okay, how about I leave the past behind and focus on the future. This weekend, for example. Oh, hang on a minute, I deliberately set aside church-state relations in Italy and promised to cover it this weekend. And Cumann Na Gael. That’s the weekend sewn up so. No long walks on the beach for me.

Spirits sagging
I know what’s going on here, I’m midway through the Leaving Cert and my spirits are sagging, and like Lady Macbeth I’ve a bit of a way to go and I’m too far gone to go back. It’s hard to look past maths 2 and history but when they’re finished I only have German and art history left and they are two subjects that I love and that I am well prepared for.

There’s something positive to focus on! After Wednesday things should start to brighten up! Which will most likely coincide with a break in the weather. Sorry, can’t help myself.