Student diary: Aoife O’Neill (17)

‘Leaving Cert papers in Irish and biology were intense. That said, Irish has gone well so far’

 A Leaving Cert examination hall. “Biology was good – I was happy that all the topics I had studied came up,” says Aoife O’Neill.  Photograph: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

A Leaving Cert examination hall. “Biology was good – I was happy that all the topics I had studied came up,” says Aoife O’Neill. Photograph: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

 

The Leaving Cert is stressful, but the lead-in was more difficult than the actual exams. I was full of anticipation. I was expecting it to be way harder than it was.

I was putting in full days of study – out the back in the sun, of course.

Throughout it all, I’ve been dancing, though only on the outside. Inside, it was all worry and stress, though I think I’ve managed to dance that out now.

I’ve been dancing since I was four and have taken part in competitions in Spain, England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. I go to the competitions with a big group of people around my age, boys and girls.

I love it. And dancing or dance teaching is what I want to do with the rest of my life.

I have been provisionally accepted on to a dance course in Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa, a local college of further education. Then, if I do well, I could go on to the dance degree at a university in Leicester.

There hasn’t been as much time to dance lately, because I need at least five passes, so those grades really matter to me.

Today was quite intense: there was a lot of work in Irish paper 2 and in the biology paper.

That said, Irish has gone well so far. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly great at it, but I have loved the language ever since I was small. I like speaking it, I love the way it sounds. I was happy with the poems and the prose that came up on paper 2 – they were exactly what I had hoped would come up and exactly what I had studied. I did a little dance of joy in my seat.

A bit tough

There are only seven of us in the construction class, including two girls. People ask why I did construction and I answer honestly: it seems like an easy subject to pass, if you do the work.

Dancing begins again on Saturday, when I’m straight back into competition. There hasn’t been much chance to practise lately, but I think I’ll be okay.