Leaving Cert vs. Leaving

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Okay, obviously you want to do your best at the leaving cert. The way to do that is to keep your stress levels reasonable. It’s too late to cram. The studying is over. Now it is time to perform. Eat healthy, drink water not energy drinks and get plenty of rest. Most importantly, remember that those numbers do not dictate your entire future.  Some people have a great aptitude for taking exams. They not only remember information well, they have strategies for showcasing their knowledge on an exam paper. But others struggle with exams for a whole range of reasons despite knowing and understanding the material. Exams aren’t a fair assessment of all students. But it’s what we’ve got here, and it is how college places are allocated in Ireland.

Good thing Ireland isn’t your only option for college.

You might have your heart set on a specific course in Ireland, or you might be overwhelmed by choices. Or perhaps nothing you’ve seen is really speaking to you. But your horizons are wider than you might realize. The world is your oyster. Well, at least much of Europe could possibly be your oyster even if you don’t speak the local language. Universities around Europe offer courses in English, and they don’t share our national obsession with your leaving cert scores.

Expand Your Horizons, Decrease Your Stress

Remember, the leaving cert only wields as much power in your life as you give it. It doesn’t determine where you are ultimately going in life, only how you get there. You can re-sit it if you aren’t happy with your results. You can find another course in Ireland that gets you where you want to be with the points you get. Or you can find a university course outside Ireland that accesses your application on a wider range of criteria that allows you to play on your strengths.

Studying abroad is an option that will give you much more than a qualification in your desired field. It will make you more competitive as a graduate seeking work because employers will see that you are flexible and resourceful. A year or a few years abroad will give you an in-depth understanding of another culture. It will expose you to situations and ideas you wouldn’t have encountered if you stayed home. And that will teach you some deep truths about yourself. It will stretch you. You’ll discover new strengths and new talents as well as new foods, new music and new social norms. But most importantly, you’ll discover yourself and learn about what you really want – beyond a degree.

Keep that in mind, and keep the leaving cert in perspective. Yes it is important, but no, it does not make or break you.

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