Leaving Cert diary: Art college, and freedom, beckons

Natalia Staroscinksa says: ‘The good weather makes it easier to get up in the morning’

Natalia Staroscinska moved to Ireland from Poland when she was seven, and now also speaks Irish and French.

Natalia Staroscinska moved to Ireland from Poland when she was seven, and now also speaks Irish and French.


My whole year has been framed by one result. That result is not my Leaving Cert result. It’s the result of a drawing test I did for the Institute of Art, Design & Technology in Dún Laoghaire. I got 600 points, full marks.

Since then, I haven’t been able to stop smiling. I’m so chuffed, so privileged and still floating on a cloud. I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. At the moment, I love landscapes and nature, but what I draw depends on my mood. Indeed, what anyone draws is a reflection of how they feel. It’s an outlet for my emotions and a way to relax.

I also have a fascination with tattoos. I got my first tattoo on my 18th birthday. I waited, because I didn’t want to go behind my parent’s back and it had to be an adult decision that I was mature and responsible enough to make. It’s a mandala, which is a rather complex Hindu symbol that represents the universe. I’d like to do an apprenticeship to become a tattoo artist.

But for now, my mind is still on the exams. So far, so good – except for ordinary level maths, paper one. That’s been the story of this year’s exams really. Some classmates are still quite shaken by it; thankfully, paper two wasn’t such a horrible, slimy catastrophe.

Biology was good though, as all the areas I had studied and concentrated on came up. French today was fine; I was delighted to be able to answer all the questions. There are always topical issues on the paper, and this year’s was about homelessness. Our teacher had us well prepared.

Picking up French wasn’t too hard. My family are originally from Poland, and I came here when I was seven, without a word of English. A few years later, I was learning Irish; I was too young to get the exemption. I didn’t really mind, because once you’ve picked up fluency in a second language, every language that you learn after that becomes easier.

I’ve two left: art history and chemistry. I’m hoping to enjoy some of the sunshine. That said, the good weather does make it easier to wake up in the morning. It puts me in a good mood on the walk to school, and gives me something to look forward to after the exams.

I haven’t made a concrete plan for the summer but I’ll go the gym and spend time with my friends. I’m looking forward to the Holi festival of Colours in the Iveagh Gardens on June 27th. There will be many post-Leaving Cert celebrations between now and then. Freedom beckons.

Natalia Staroscinksa is one of the Irish Times ExamWatch Leaving Cert diarists from Adamstown Community College