Leaving Cert: Parent’s guide to surviving D-Day
Getting exam results may be a big deal for students, but will no one think of the mums and dads?
It’s results day – or R-Day, as I like to call it. For some reason my daughter prefers D-Day. I’m not sure what the ‘D’ stands for, but judging by the mood over the past two weeks, I’m pretty sure it’s not dentistry. Photograph: Getty/Thinkstock
They survived the Leaving Cert. They survived Magaluf. They have left school and are now normal human beings (more or less). So why are they moping around like miserable little kids? Has Dwayne left One Direction? Did you not leave enough money in your wallet for your daughter to “borrow”?
Oh, wait: it’s results day – or R-Day, as I like to call it. For some reason my daughter prefers D-Day. I’m not sure what the ‘D’ stands for, but judging by the mood over the past two weeks, I’m pretty sure it’s not dentistry. Doom, disaster and destruction seem more likely.
In the space of a few seconds the rest of my daughter’s life will be decided. If the results go her way, she will soon have a successful career as a celebrity lawyer and vet in Hollywood with her own television show.
If they don’t, she will be languishing in a Turkish prison on drug-smuggling charges by Friday. There’s a lot riding on those grades.
“What was your first choice again?” I asked my daughter on Tuesday.
“Medicine,” she said, with a long sigh suggesting I should remember these things.
“But you faint at the sight of blood.”
“Daaaaaad! Just cos it’s like my first choice doesn’t mean I want to do it.”
“Of course not.”
“Plus, like, I won’t even get it,” she said and stormed out.
I shrugged helplessly. The cat stared at me, shook its head and followed her out of the room. I am, like, such a bad dad, I thought to myself. And not great with cats either.
I will be able to prove that again on Wednesday when the results come out. To protect against my not being “there” for my daughter when D-Moment arrives, I have prepared some handy pieces of advice:
They do really well: If they get 12 A1s and appear on the front page of The Irish Times on Thursday, congratulate them and say you never doubted that your genetic material would see them through.
Add that, with such results, they should develop an app they can sell for €30 billion, redesign the Large Hadron Collider or set up a bank that will be too big to fail.
They do okay: You’ll have to walk a fine line between being disappointed your child didn’t get 1,200 points and being thrilled they may actually go to college. Look serious but not relieved, happy but not flabbergasted.
You can say something like: “Well, I guess you won’t be studying applied cosmonautics in Moscow, but at least you can do pet-grooming with Japanese in Carlow or how to make money from YouTube without removing your clothes.”
They do badly: After telling them they are not your offspring and that you’re throwing them out of the house, it might be time for some sympathy.
Begin with “It’s not the end of the world” and go downhill from there. “You can always repeat. Or get a proper job. Or become a journalist.” Or try: “Don’t worry, look at Uncle Dave: he didn’t do that well in the Leaving Cert but before he got arrested, he was really living it up in Istanbul.”