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Saturday, 5 April 2014

Strength... The Final Push

No, I haven’t just become a mum or a midwife. I’m talking about that awful idea that’s taken up the last two years of my life, along with the lives of millions of others for the past too many years.

It’s the Leaving Cert.

T minus two months as of now. And I might be having a breakdown a bit nervous about it. I’ve just confirmed my university choice, and now it’s all about getting the grades!

Most of us have actually already started our exams—those who didn’t have modern language orals last week will be doing Irish soon, or are in the middle of writing up projects and field work, or wondering if they hit all the notes in their music practical.

The real exams begin on 4th June 2014, and no matter what you say, it’s important. You might need two million points to study medical biophysical chemicology or you might have a job waiting for you… but no matter how much emphasis you place on your grades and points, let’s be honest: we’ve all worked at this for two years, and by extension six, even seventeen or eighteen years. So it would kind of suck to think we 
hadn’t done the best we could.

When it came to these exams, I’d known what I wanted to get out of them since before the Junior cert! So I pretty much started from day one. Fifth year was full of study and hard work, and yes, lots of stress. I thrive under pressure and I put myself under a lot. I was well aware that this was a marathon, not a sprint. Cramming at the end would not be an option. In second year, I’d done nothing—because there’s just something about being fourteen—so I knew not to make the same mistakes twice.

As anticipated, my hard work is paying off. I got a good set of mock results. It wasn’t all in vain.
There was also the expected smug feeling as people who’d scorned all my note-taking and extra-work-doing last year frantically sifted through textbooks in the weeks before the mocks, while I flicked through my folders of notes and diagrams in a relative—very relative—state of calm.

The problem was, when everyone else was fired up to put on that final spurt, around February time, to get in as much work between here and June… I stopped. They had all switched on and I had switched off!
I think I burnt out. I don’t regret all my hard work, but it’s quite difficult now when I get home and all I want to do is sleep. I don’t want to say I worked too hard, but my body and brain feel pretty drained at the moment.

So how can I gather my strength for this final push of revision over the next few months? I need to improve on my mock results, and it would be such a shame to see all my work go to waste.
This time last year I was getting up at 6:30 to do an hour of study before school. I loved studying in the quiet morning, before my brain got tired from school… but this year I barely get up half an hour before leaving the house!

It would appear to be the same for many of my fellow sixth years. We enter the automatic doors to school with eyes half-closed, telling each other how long it’s been since we brushed our hair or wore makeup. We huddle together in a little group in the entrance hall, trying to close our ears to everything, and having competitive conversations about who got the least sleep last night.

I suppose it’s hard to explain to your body—those tired eyes, back aching from schoolbags and lab stools, shoulders hunched from too-small desks—that there are only two months left. I think keeping that in mind, those two months followed by a lovely break, would really help.

I guess having firmed my university, picked accommodation etc, gathers some focus. But I still can’t seem to settle to the hours I was putting in before! It seems unfair somehow for my “tús maith, leath na hoibre” attitude to have gone to waste.

C’mon guys, there are only two months left! Surely we can make some sacrifices? Surely we can get up a bit earlier, study a bit longer, practise a bit more?

Just for two months? For me???

I sure hope so. 

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