The Class of 2019.

June 21st 2019 was the last day of my third leaving certificate examination experience. I’ve only physically studied for it and sat it, the once; way back as a sixteen year old in 1985. Number 1 son, did the actual sitting of my 2nd experience of it, back in 2017. Number 1 daughter sat the dreaded thing this summer.

Each experience of it has been so different. My overriding vague memories of my own Leaving Cert, are of carrying a strong sense of wishing I had a done a bit more study, with me into each each exam. I realise that as a type, I straddled the profiles of both The Gambler and The Crammer.

It’s so long ago, that I belong to the generation where points were awarded in single digit form for A’S B’S C’s etc., and the grade bands were much wider than today. An ‘A’ being equal to 5 points and being awarded for anything scored between 85 -100%. My goal was to try get an ‘honour’ in each subject, which was a C grade 55%- 70% or higher. I cannot remember my results but there were no A’s and no E’s. I missed out on my first choice course at university by 1 point. I have no doubt, if teachers were writing on the Leaving Certificate Result sheet; their previous report entries would have been replicated, and comments like ” Could do better” would have featured a bit.

Doing the Leaving Certificate vicariously through my children has been infinitely harder than doing my own. No 1 son had to endure a seriously hormonal imbalanced Mammy in full blown panic mode. The ” not being in control” nearly drove me crazy. I blogged about it previously in a blog titled New Beginnings. I will attach link at the end of this blog

No 1 daughter’s Leaving Certificate was a very different experience. I did in fact make numerous cups of tea and suggest taking study breaks. I also had the knowledge that No 1 daughter had worked consistently over the past couple of years. Her notes and folders told me she had a far more effective and competent system of reference and method of study than I had ever devised. I also had learned that cajoling , nagging and threatening were not very effective tools.

I have a sneaking suspicion though that No.1 daughter may have taken the absence of these as a measure of a disinterest on my part. This was certainly not the case. I also have the sneaking suspicion that there may have been days when she would have welcomed a kick in the proverbial to get her going. But then again maybe not.

There is also no doubt that my grief altered my ability to deliver parental service as normal. It can be difficult to feel connected and maintain the connection to everyday life in spite of wanting that connection. Added to that is the fact that my perspective on the LC and my life view in general has changed significantly since my brother John died. Equally, third time around the LC block, it would be a sad indictment if I approached it the same every time. I’m acting on insights and knowledge gained that I like to think are leading to fine tuning and tweaking of the delivery my parental support role. I do know that when LC comes around for NO.2 son in 2021 which also just happens to be Junior Cert year for No.3 son, I like them will have most of my work done in the previous year!

So on June 21st 2019, No 1 daughter discarded her uniform onto the floor of her pit, I mean bedroom for the last time. Her AV8’s cast aside, though in fairness they owed her nothing; a shoe Granny would have been happy to buy. She was so delighted to be finished with a second level system which in her own words is just all about learning a huge volume of information and very little about understanding and education. It was over a week later when the friends gathered for the ” burning of the notes” bonfire and with glee banished subjects from their lives forever.

All we have to do now is wait on the results which will come next month. Then we will be thrown into a mad flurry of activity as points will be calculated, offers made and choices will be grappled with. Not to mention accommodation to be found which at this moment in time feels like a task of gladiatorial proportions. In truth though I will be as proud of NO 1 daughter the day before her results come out as the day they come out. I will fret and worry about her leaving home no matter where or what she chooses to study. I will without question make her clean her room before she goes. Link to blog post New Beginnings Sept 2017.


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