Student diary: ‘Eavan Boland – thankfully – came up. Others who staked it all on Plath lost’

Two days into the exam, Lauren Conway is getting into her study groove

It was the discussion of the Leaving Cert: which poets will appear on the paper?

Like a lot of my classmates, I was really nervous about this. While I was very relieved that Eavan Boland came up, some of my classmates had staked it all on Plath – and lost. They weren't so happy.

I'm deep into the study groove by now. I've a non-identical twin sister who is also going through it at the same time. She goes to Salerno, the all-girls school next door; I decided when in sixth class that I really wanted to be in a co-ed school, so we went our separate ways.

Now we are a source of support for each other but we also study separately – otherwise we would just keep talking and distracting each other.


We share a room and we’ve an arrangement where she gets to study there and I wander down to my neighbour’s house.

They are so kind and lovely to let me study there and it’s always nice and quiet: nobody shouting about dishwasher tablets or who broke the Hoover. It means that, when the day is done, I can go home and feel the space and time is really my own.

Downtime important

It's not all study, because downtime is really important. I was really enjoying a particular art book from the 1970s by John Berger, Ways of Seeing, although it is a bit heavy during the exams so I have put it aside for a while.

To switch off for a while, I watch It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and just try to get down to the prom in Salthill for a head-clearing stroll.

My head, however, is still full of English. Shakespearian quotes reverberate. The question on Hamlet asked us to examine it as a disturbing psychological thriller, and I think most students were quite happy with this question.

One aspect of the English paper that I’m not so crazy about is the comparative text question.

I love English and I love literature but I feel that asking a student to focus on three different texts at the same time is a little bit strained and limits how deep we can go.

It’s odd to think it will all be over next Friday when I sit the German exam.

I suspect it might be anti-climactic but I am looking forward to the summer: I’m going to get a job, organise a gig and then before I know it, I will – hopefully – be in art college in Dublin.