Rosanna Davison: ‘I’m a bit of a nerd and quite enjoy study and exams’

My Leaving: Former Miss World went on to study sociology at UCD

Rosanna Davison: “The Leaving Cert doesn’t necessarily determine your future. There are so many routes to get to where you want to be.” Photograph: Alan Betson

Rosanna Davison: “The Leaving Cert doesn’t necessarily determine your future. There are so many routes to get to where you want to be.” Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Rosanna Davison ( 35) is a former Miss World and nutritionist. From Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, she sat the Leaving Cert in Rathdown school in Glenageary, Dublin, in 2002.

Your most vivid Leaving Cert memory?
I’m a bit of a nerd and quite enjoy study and exams, but the feeling of finishing the final exam really stands out to me for how bizarre it felt. I expected to feel this huge sense of elation and relief, but I just felt drained and exhausted. Instead of celebrating, I watched a movie and enjoyed a much-needed 12-hour sleep. I had been so focussed on the exams, I didn’t know what to do with myself once they were over.

Your most difficult subject?
I really didn’t enjoy maths and couldn’t see how most of what we learned could be applicable to everyday life. I was much more into English, biology, art and sports.

Did your results impact on your future career?
No, although my career could have gone in a very different direction. I did a degree in UCD in sociology and history of art, and following that, I was offered a PhD scholarship in sociological research from UCD. If I had accepted it, I would be Dr Davison by now! I was flattered to have been offered it, but it wasn’t the career direction I wanted to take.

Is the Leaving Cert fair?
Not in ways. I just completed a full-time MSc degree in personalised nutrition from Middlesex University earlier this year. It was based on continuous assessment with a research dissertation submitted at the end, and I feel that I got more value out of that type of learning than through exams, plus I retained a lot more information instead of cramming the night before.

I would love to see different types of learning options introduced into the Leaving Cert curriculum to make it fair for everybody.

What subject would you add to the Leaving Cert?
I would love to see nutritional biochemistry added to the curriculum. Particularly in light of the obesity crisis in Ireland.

What advice would you give your Leaving Cert self?
I’m grateful that I took it seriously and worked hard, but I would advise myself to take more breaks and calm down, because the Leaving Cert doesn’t necessarily determine your future. There are so many routes to get to where you want to be.