Sixth year: Is it the end or just the leaving?

I’m approaching the end.

That sounds far more morbid than I intended. What I mean to say is, I’ve started my Leaving Cert year. Maybe this is just one of those things that are going to sound morbid no matter how you phrase it.

I have wished for sixth year to arrive since the good old age of 13, impatiently waiting to leave school, getting more and more frustrated with each passing year. Now that it’s here, I’m terrified.

However this is all pretty much self-induced.

My teachers at school seem to be pretty happy with the standards of the classes, we get a lot of work done in relatively short periods of time, and I’m already starting to get familiar with the layouts of papers.

Sixth year: Is it the end or just the leaving?

My parents don’t seem to be as worried about the whole affair as I had expected. They’ve encouraged me to study as best I can my entire academic life, and, obviously, they want me to do well, but their main concern recently is that I don’t wear myself out. Honestly, the greatest sense of pressure I have felt has come from myself.

The exam that determines a huge part of my life, which is infinitely important to me, is a measly nine months away. I am all of a sudden acutely aware of every single thing I have to do between now and June. Eleven hours of art exams? Grand! Just give me a minute; I appear to have gone into cardiac arrest.

I am stressed beyond belief about every minute detail, but at the same time, I’m also immensely happy. For a long time, life has been feeling pretty stagnant. I’d make it through a year of school only to be faced with another one. Now, it feels like I’m actually getting somewhere.

Sixth year: Is it the end or just the leaving?

The way in which the education system in Ireland works bothered me more when I was in Junior Cycle. I still don’t think that doing ten or eleven subjects in such heavy detail is a fair task. I mean, of course having the variety is great, but it’s only great for like a week, and then you have to know everything about the various subjects, and suddenly you’re a whole lot less enthusiastic.

It’s a bothersome thought, that I have done almost 13 years of school, and I still have no idea how to do taxes, or fix a car engine, or set up an internet modem. That big great education I got has let me know that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, but I’ve learned very little that I could apply to my life, either right now or in the future. I try not to dwell on it too much, especially now. I’m already twelve-thirteenths of the way there.

My goal for this year is to be insanely happy with my results, whatever they may be. I want to be so proud of that godforsaken piece of paper. Hopefully the stress will be worth it, for all of us.


As UK legend John Surman gets ready to play at Cork’s jazz fest, he tells Philip Watson about his well-travelled career and why he’s so angry about Brexit.Jazz legend John Surman on a well travelled career and why he's angry about Brexit

Dr Naomi Lavelle answers a weekly science question.Fish live in water all their lives but does that mean that they never get thirsty or do they even drink at all? To answer these questions we need to look at where the fish live.Appliance of Science: Do fish ever get thirsty?

More From The Irish Examiner