Life After Leaving Cert

Between Youtube, Twitter and Tumblr, everyone was dying to know how I’d gotten on in my Leaving Cert after such a publicised year online for me. I, however, was dying of heartbreak. For weeks I wouldn’t tell anyone how many points I’d gotten and I’d lost all hope for my future career. I was angry about my results and absolutely devastated when I got my offer, but everything worked out for me in the long run, and that’s why I’m making this post. For people in the future who, like me, got their results and started screaming and punching walls. Yes, I’m serious.

When my Leaving Cert finished, I was as happy as could be. I finally had my life back, and spent my Summer making up for all those nights out I’d missed over the past few months. However, as August 13th rolled up I began to get nervous. I started adding up my points in a realistic manner and decided that the lowest I could POSSIBLY get, judging by how I thought my exams went, was 425. Well God, I got a shock when I seen those results. The big day came and I pretty much ran to school at 9am to see how I’d gotten on. I was excited but anxious, I’d publicised my year so much that I was afraid of disappointing everyone. Not to mention that because of all the work I was doing, a lot of people expected me to hit 500 (yeah right). I decided to open my results in the bathroom, so that I wouldn’t have to deal with “WHAT DID YOU GET? HOW DID YOU DO? ARE YOU HAPPY?!” from every available angle.

I locked myself in the bathroom stall and took a deep breath, my hands trembling as I opened the envelope. When I opened it, my heart sank. Before adding up my points, I already knew that I wasn’t going to hit the 475 I’d worked so hard for. With a C1 in English, Irish and Geography, a B3 in Maths and Biology, a B1 in Home Ec and a D1 in French I’d hit my lowest possible points. 425. With tears in my eyes I ran out of the bathroom stall and straight into the car before any of my friends could ask me questions. Through angry sobs I somehow managed to mutter to my parents that I’d only gotten 425 and they didn’t know what to do. I was heartbroken, and all my hard work had gone down the drain.

After a manic episode of screaming “I’M GOING TO HAVE TO REPEAT!” I managed to calm down and think about things rationally. I was only 10 points off the Midwifery requirements for last year, there was still hope for me. Little did I know they’d go up another 10 points, damn CAO. After what seemed like a year, the 18th of August finally arrived. To take my mind off it, in true Irish fashion, I went out and got drunk the night before. Arriving home at 3am absolutely twisted, I decided to wait up for my offer after my best friend had passed out on the sofa. I’d accepted the fact that I might be getting Journalism, and as my back up plan all along, that was fine with me. But I was still hoping and praying for midwifery. At exactly 6am, I received my offer, and nearly died. The worst of the worst had happened. I didn’t even get Journalism. I, Michaela Deane, had gotten my 8th choice. This news had sealed the deal and I was definitely going to have to repeat, no way did I want to do New Media and English. Once again running down to my parents in floods of tears, I spent the whole morning crying.

Not even getting Journalism made me realise how much I wanted it, I had myself convinced that I’d get it and now I’d gotten yet another huge shock. Nobody knew how to console me, and there was nothing else I could do but cry about my bleak looking future. It was 3 o’clock, and exhausted from lack of sleep, I jumped when my phone started to buzz. The phone call I received that day was the little bit of hope I needed that got me into college. I’d entered a competition to win a scholarship, where an essay on climate change and a portfolio all about yourself were what was required. While a lot of people chose to write about their sob story, I wrote about how I’d spent this last year trying to help others out through social media. It was the organisers of the competition on the phone, who let me know that my entry had really stood out because of what I’d done over the last year and I’d won. I was ecstatic, however, there was a slight problem. To get my scholarship, I had to go to college this year, there was no way of deferring it. So I decided, if I can win a scholarship with my writing, I can make a career out of it.

Two weeks later I had moved to Limerick, and fell in love with the place. It was my dream college, and I made so many new friends. I was enjoying my course and was so glad that I hadn’t chosen to repeat. At the beginning of October, I got a text from my Aunt. She wanted to know how I’d gotten on in my rechecks, something I’d completely forgotten about. I rang my Mum to ask her to collect my results in the school and a couple of minutes later I got a text; “You went up to the B3 in English!” Now I know this wasn’t anything big. It was only 5 points and made no difference to my chances of getting Midwifery. But it meant something else, I had the requirements for the Journalism and New Media course here in UL! I was almost crying with happiness when I got my offer from the CAO, and although it was a stressful week of transferring fees, talking to course directors and sending about 5,000 emails, I know it will be worth it. I start the course next week and I’m over the moon. It looks amazing and I’m going to be in a career that I wanted at the end of the day after all! Catching up on work for the last 5 weeks will be difficult but I’m sure it’s achievable. With my determination, I know I can do it.

So for future leaving certs who don’t get what they want at the end of the day, just remember that there’s always hope. There’s a back door into everything, and maybe that 1st (or 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th in my case) choice just wasn’t for you. Scream, shout, punch walls, get it all out of your system. Those feelings are only temporary and I promise it all works out in the end!

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One thought on “Life After Leaving Cert

  1. I know this post is nearly a year old but I’m in the same situation myself now, trying to transfer courses and I just wanted to ask did you find it really difficult to catch up on all the work from the first 5 weeks in UL when you transferred? Were there many complications? I’ve been told I can start in UL on Monday but I’m so clueless as to everything I have to do- finding my class timetable, registering for modules etc.

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