Sunday, 20 August 2017

how i feel about leaving certificate results 2017


I'm sitting on my bed, staring at a pile of notes that have been on my bedroom floor since I finished my last exam six or seven weeks ago. I wasn't sure whether I'd recycle or cremate them, but it's been so long now that I don't know whether I want to do away with them at all. In a box on my desk, I have Irish and German flashcards. I still remember what most of them mean - it hasn't been that long - but still I feel strangely about parting with them. Essentially, I liked most of my subjects and don't want to forget all that I learned, or really stop learning them.

I was so terrified to open my results on Wednesday. I'd been anticipating the moment for the entire two years of the leaving cert course, getting particularly anxious in the week leading up to the event. I kept coming up with ideas of how terribly it would go. I dreamed that I had barely passed ordinary level maths, and got low grades in all the subjects I liked. In a way that helped because I knew that it would never be quite as bad as that.

Nevertheless, the morning came and we all strolled up to the school to collect my brown envelope. I wanted to open it away from my family, just so that I could know first, and open it as slowly as I wanted.  I was more relieved than anything to see that I had gotten good grades, top grades in some cases. I couldn't say I was happy with my results, but it was too soon. All of my months of hard work and, as the exams came closer, no play, had just been summed up for me in one single number. It felt kind of underwhelming, like I wanted more than a number, (the numbers in the new system range from 1-8, no more As and Bs), maybe a letter grade or a percentage or "very good".

I took out my CAO points calculator and inputted my grades. The grades are secondary to the points which gave me a rough idea of whether I'd be getting into my first choice for university. In Ireland, most college courses want you to get a number of points, but it changes every year because it's based on supply and demand rather than suitability for the programme. Which is stupid, if I'm honest, because you can get higher grades in English, Irish and Home Ec and still go on to study maths if all you got was 50% depending on your chosen university. I got points which should enable me to do my chosen course, but I'll find out tomorrow at 6a.m. when the offers come out. wish me luck.

I brought my results and calculator back to my parents, who were waiting for me a few meters away. I burst into tears once I'd shown them, prompting my dad to exclaim "don't cry! people will think you've done badly!" but I couldn't stop yet. Relief really is the only word that fits. I mean, I got really good grades, but I still have a hard time convincing myself of that.

Only 1.2% of everyone in the country who sat the art leaving cert got the top grade, a H1 (formerly A1, >90%). A lot of people in my class were disappointed not to have achieved a higher grade, which I totally understand because I was surrounded by girls whose talents I was envious of, and who put in long stressful hours at all points throughout the year. I didn't expect to get the top grade, seeing as so few people get them, so I wasn't surprised not to. However I must admit that it still bothers me that some people were robbed of higher grades due to the examiners' standards being too high.  It's like they expect us all to be artists whose work is saleable rather than students who have been studying art at a non-professional level.

Perhaps the problem is the change in the grading system. The fact that they've changed it makes any 2s (80-89%) seem like they're worth less than previously A2s or B1s. An A2 being 85-89%. Making the grades purely numbers based makes the grading feel more harsh to me, a strong feeling of "second best" rather than "a slightly lower grade".

Anyway, not long now. It's 18 hours until I'm sure of my fate, and I think everything will feel a lot better then. I tend to my hard on myself anyway, and coming from a family of smarties and a friend circle full of amazing intelligent girls probably doesn't help. I know a lot of people are proud of me, and I should be too. I'm both under and over-whelmed it seems!

Thank you so much for reading, I owe you the usual bloggers apology for being MIA for a few days.

Anna x

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