I have spent the last year trying to delete U2's Songs of Innocence from my iPad. Damned if I'm going to kick off my Leaving Cert with a question on Bono. I swiftly moved on to a comprehension about elderly people who don't spam my music files.
As I moved through the paper it started to suit me. We were asked to imagine ourselves as head of the student council. I was head of the student council! We had to write a letter about organising a graduation party. I was on solid ground. On our graduation day we pranked the teachers with a very loud flash-mobbed together dance to Silento's Watch me Whip, Watch Me Nae Nae in the main hall. I had so much to write about I didn't finish the exam.
So much to say
The essays were great too, but again I had so much to say I could hardly get it all down. I wrote a speech about the pressing issues of our time. I ranged across everything from celebrity culture to peer pressure to body image, but my main theme was digital alienation. It’s not just older people who get locked out of the online conversation. I know plenty of younger people who are isolated because they can’t afford the hardware. Everyone assumes that everyone else has all the latest technology but they don’t. I believe it is a defining struggle of our age and is leading to inequality.
With the wrongs of the world put right, I left the exam hall and navigated the nervous anxiety of the school corridors. Everyone is on the edge – laughing hysterically one minute, crying in corners the next. My friend and I left the school and went to her house for a debrief. We talked about what might come up in home ec. Definitely not eggs, we agreed. It was a grand exam, apart from the eggs.
I was surprised at the array of produce that made it into the exam hall. Bushels of fruit, full packs of biscuits, large flasks of coffee, even mugs. My little tube of fruit pastilles was gone before the invigilator had finished the first of 137 laps. Tomorrow I’m bringing a picnic, maybe one of those disposable barbecues.
When I got home I got lots of hugs. I’m in no doubt about the level of pride currently invested in me by my parents. I hope it outlasts this Leaving Cert.
Thomas Hardy is my poet of choice for Paper 2. If he comes up it might give me just the quick energy I need to propel me through the greatest challenge of Leaving Cert Irish.
Funny the things you wish for when you’re doing the Leaving. All the normal stuff like winning the Lotto becomes useless because no amount of money will get you through these exams. I am wishing that a poorly digested fruit pastille makes its way into my brain and dislodges an innate capacity to speak fluent Irish. Some hope.
is one of our Leaving Cert diarists from
Adamstown Community College