Student diary: Cure for Leaving Cert stress? Ditch the phone

‘I figured friends would be texting with their stresses and it wouldn’t help my nerves’

Gaelcholáiste  Luimnigh Leaving Cert student Andre Colbert. Photograph:  Arthur Ellis

Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh Leaving Cert student Andre Colbert. Photograph: Arthur Ellis


I’ve been waiting for the stress to arrive, but it hasn’t. So, what exactly has kept my Leaving Cert panic at bay?

In the run-up to the exams I was studying from 9am-5pm; then I would stop and throw the books – and my phone – away.

I’d go for a walk with the dog and be completely out of contact. I made the decision to ditch the phone because I figured that friends would be texting with their stresses and worries, and it wouldn’t be good for my own nerves, particularly when I had made the decision to wind down in the evening. My mum has been so supportive as well, and it’s really helped.

Like most people, I’m so used to having the phone now, so I expected to be pining for it. But I didn’t miss it at all.

Maybe I’ll take more regular breaks from the pocket computer that tries to control us.

And I really did feel relaxed as a result. Okay, there was that brief surge of panic before I went to bed: “Is this really happening tomorrow? Oh God, this is actually happening tomorrow.”

That didn’t last, as I conked out the minute my head hit the pillow.

The afternoon was home economics, where we were surprised by a question on calcium instead of an anticipated one on protein. I really liked the question on food spoilage and, overall, it was a good paper.

But the morning began with English paper one. My initial reaction was that the paper was alright and could have gone a lot worse, although I was a bit surprised and annoyed that I was asked to write about a Shakespearian play I had studied, as we all felt that was a problem for tomorrow’s paper.

But I did the question anyway. I think I am well prepared for Macbeth; I’ve watched and rewatched the film and, for me at least, I’ve found it the most effective way to absorb the information.

Journal entry

My classmates and I really liked the reflective journal entry asking us to imagine that we were fleeing planet Earth on the last spaceship that evacuated the Earth as a result of humanity making the planet uninhabitable.

It was a question that really resonated with my age group, as we are all concerned about how our future could be impacted by climate change.

Then it was on to the original composition. Our English teacher, Niamh McGrath, was amazing at helping us understand which area of writing suited us best and, for me, that was the short story.

I made mine up on the spot, but all I remember now is writing about two people walking in a field, then a forest and then in a field again. Then there was a helicopter and, argh, time up. I had to drop my pen.