Leaving Cert didn’t go the way you wanted?

roadsignsDear Leaving Cert Students of 2013. You have worked, you’re probably exhausted and your fingernails have no doubt been bitten down just that little bit too far. It is Leaving Cert Results Day, a day that I know as D-Day.

For many of you, today was a day to rejoice. The results were exactly what you wanted, and you know that you’ve been accepted to the college of your choice already. For others it’s a day of disappointment. You didn’t get the right results, and now you’re at a complete loss about what to do. You’re already imagining sitting it all again, but it’s painful to even think of doing such a thing.

For those of you that are unhappy with how you’ve done, I want you to take a moment. Put it in perspective, and remember that it was only an exam. Teachers will have told you it defines you; that it decides what path in life you would take. This is not true, needless to say. The Leaving Cert is a series of exams that you will only realise in hindsight were utterly abysmal. You have just finished your life’s biggest memory test, and here you are, feeling dejected and upset, and wondering where you go from here.

There are plenty of options for you. It is vital that you remember this. Getting into a university on the back of your Leaving Cert results is not the purpose of your life.

So, what can you do now?

  1. Consider a PLC Course: People will probably have told you at various points to avoid PLC courses. Many consider them to be sub-standard and don’t see the point in them. If you do a PLC course, you could come out after a year with a Level 5 qualification – and more importantly, it could be your ticket to getting into the university or Institute of Technology that you always dreamed of. Don’t listen to those who tell you you’re ‘too good for such things’. Don’t listen to your grandmother bickering about how Stephen from across the road is going to Trinity, just go with your instinct, and follow the path that you know you are to take.
  2. Take a year out: There is always the option of taking some time for yourself. If you have savings, consider going abroad for a while and working. If you don’t, see if you can get a job locally. If you don’t know where you want to go career-wise, this is a good way to figure it out. Working for a while teaches you a lot, and will also give you some money for going to college.
  3. Repeat the Leaving Cert: There is of course always the option of repeating. If you feel that this is what you want to do and this is what will get you to where you want to be, it is your best option. Go into it with an open mind, and don’t let yourself be dragged down by it. You’ve done it before, you can do it again.

Bear in mind that this is not the end of the road. Even if you didn’t get the results you wanted, the points for the course you want may dramatically decrease this year, and there are several CAO rounds to look forward to in which you might get offered the course you want. Just remember that you have so many options – you are a young person with an entire life stretching in front of you. Life is like that. Not everything works out the way it should. Sometimes it will leave you feeling dejected, lying in a heap. But when life leaves you like that, you stand up and move on. You battle up the hill and you make yourself triumphant. Only you can make your life what you want it to be.

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Choices

Thitwo-roads-diverged1s blog originally appeared at http://www.SirPatrickofIreland.wordpress.com

Choices creep up on you at the most inconsiderate times. You’ll often be sleeping, when they’ll grasp you and tear you from your slumber; or perhaps you’re at work, tapping your pen off the desk, questioning what you’re all about. But either way, choices will haunt you at some point in your life.

Choices are completely terrifying for being precisely what they are. They involve the conscious decision to eliminate various paths in life. They involve choosing one path, when, let’s be honest, you have no idea whatsoever which path is the right one.

Choices have terrified me in this selfish little way of theirs. They alert you to your impending doom at some point. It’s nagging – this nagging little creature tugging at a fragile part of your mind. And you know, in that moment, that you are going to give up so much. You are going to follow a path. How do you ever know which one to choose?

I remember this time last year, being torn in the shortening nights as my thoughts ran away with all of my potential futures. I was at school, rapidly approaching my final exams which would, in many respects, determine which road would be travelled. There was this haunting awareness in me, one particular night, that something I was not ready for was going to hit me. It could hurt me; potentially, it could polish the final cobblestone in my path. But then again, it could also see my whole road repossessed for failure to pay back the loan.

I had to choose a college course. Simple enough – it involved walking blindly into a university where I would study a course I really had no idea whether I would like or not.

As you can imagine, I was confused. I could choose to follow my gut instinct – to study English and History – or my logic, which told me to study Journalism. Undoubtedly both would leave me jobless in a country that has left me and my generation behind – yet I still had to make that choice. I had to just go for one; just decide which one was less stupid, really.

At the end of the day, every choice falls down to the simple question of what you place more trust in: your gut instinct or your logic. Both are undoubtedly important, but ironically, in this too, you must make a choice, and decide which you will mute, and which you will hear.

Try not to fear choices. Remain content that you can never follow more than one path in life. Keep remembering your reasons for loving your choice; remember that even if it was a bad choice, it is still important for your life journey, and your personal human experience.  Robert Frost spoke of The Road Not Taken. He, like most people, wondered what a different future he could have had by making a different decision. It is impossible not to wonder about the other road; however you need to always remember that your road was right for you at that moment in time, and you should always be glad that you took it for that reason alone.