Limbo of waiting for Leaving Cert results is almost over

A Parent’s Diary: ‘We are awaiting decisions about the future that are out of our hands’

On Tuesday the Leaving Cert students have the option of receiving their results online in the morning or going into school to get their results from their teachers. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

On Tuesday the Leaving Cert students have the option of receiving their results online in the morning or going into school to get their results from their teachers. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

 

I’m looking at the time between my son sitting his Leaving Cert and waiting for his results through the lens of one of my favourite complicated concepts: “Liminality”.

It’s a word loved by tweedy academics because of its ambiguity and obscurity. It describes an in-between time, a threshold, a space that is neither here nor there, betwixt and between, when things are in flux or young people are experiencing a rite of passage into adulthood.

These summer days are a liminal period for me and my son; they have their rites of passage and celebrations. Our summer holidays were different, his marked by a Leaving Cert holiday during which he was delighted to stay in a villa in Portugal with a big group of friends, leaving me at home reflecting on the imaginary Love Island villa.

We are waiting for decisions about the future that are out of our hands. Things are neither here nor there. Will he leave home if he gets into a course in another city? What path will the CAO system put him on for his life? Will he be disappointed if he doesn’t get into one of his preferred choices?

The ritual of receiving results used to be one that took place at school. A few years ago my eldest son and his friends went into school together and queued up individually to receive their results and valuable words of encouragement, support and advice from their teachers.

Comfort

Their elation or disappointment was expressed or suppressed in the company of others. When your results aren’t as good as you hoped (as I have experienced) there is comfort in being surrounded by people who are also disappointed. If you do well there is a lesson to be learned about being sensitive towards other students in your class who haven’t.

On Tuesday the Leaving Cert students have the option of receiving their results online in the morning or going into school to get their results from their teachers. I don’t know what my son is going to do as he hasn’t decided yet. He sees pros and cons to the online results system and thinks it’s fine if students are a bit concerned and don’t want to go into school to get their results. He said that they can all meet up later to debrief in their own way.

I am hoping that many of the students in my son’s class will experience this step with their friends in school

I think publishing the results online early in the day will mean that many of his classmates might not bother going into school and will miss the communal experience of getting their results together.

Certain path

This is a day when a certain path will open before them. One that is defined but not definite, and though their results are very important they shouldn’t be overstated. It is only one of many steps on their paths that will lead them forward to growth and change.

I am hoping that many of the students in my son’s class will experience this step with their friends in school, or if not that they will spend time together later in the day rather than alone, online in front of a computer screen.

There is much to be said for sharing experiences and little to recommend isolation, especially now we know how positive it is for society and our health to make connections with people in the real world rather than in the liminal online world.