So, one of my closest friends is about to face into the upcoming hall of the Leaving Cert 2016. My second semester of college is also coming to an end and I’ll be sitting exams in a few weeks. I’m beginning to stress out a little. However, I’m just really aware of the fact and extremely thankful that it’s not the Leaving Cert I’ll be writing.
The stress of the upcoming exams has had me thinking a lot about my time in secondary school. About my experience of the L.C and in general how I managed the huge, unavoidable stress that was being a teenager.
It’s definitely safe to say that I would absolutely never go back to school, not if you paid me! It’s only since leaving, have I realised how much happier I am. Studying what I am interested in, rather than rote learning a ridiculous amount of, in my opinion, largely pointless information that I will realistically never use again and had no interest in what so ever, has made all the difference.
The social side to school was fantastic, I do miss seeing everyone everyday and having no choice but to stay in contact with people, however, of course, I was delighted to get away from the odd person, as I’m positive everyone was. I think that I have stayed in contact with those who I suppose I was closest to in school. For those who I wasn’t particularly close to, Facebook proves to be a great resource in helping to keep me up to date on the important things that happen in everyone’s lives. 👀
Secondary school was ‘an emotional roller-coaster’ to say the least. There were great highs and really low lows, and everything in between. My mental health spiralled a bit out of control from early on in first year and I continued to struggle all the way until after the leaving cert. Of course, looking back, the main exam years, 3rd, 5th and 6th were by far the worst! Although I strongly disagree with the principle behind our education system in Ireland, I have to admit that I really liked my Secondary School (most of the time). While there were a few teachers that I genuinely think woke up in the morning to make our already mediocre lives, a whole lot more miserable, I got on really well with most of them, as I think most of the people in my old year did. I got close to, and heavily relied on 3 teachers in particular during my 6 years and without them, I’m not actually sure if I would have made it to the end of sixth year, never mind get into college.
I think most people have one or two teachers that they were close to. It seems to make a huge difference, just to have one adult as such, to be able to trust and chat to. I think Secondary school is in general, an extremely stressful time and having someone you know you can go to if things get a little too much is a super help and a great comfort. It genuinely makes such a difference to come into school and know that if you, at any point need a chat or even just a friendly, reassuring smile, that particular teacher/s will almost certainly be there to help.
Mainly because of the struggle I was going through with my mental health, I found 6th year particularly challenging. I struggled to stay focused on the upcoming exams and even mostly lost interest in my academic work. If it wasn’t for a few close friends and the teachers I was close to, keeping an eye on me and encouraging me to stay on track, I’m not sure if I would have completed school.
I was also super close with one of the school guidance counsellors, Jimmy. He proved to be my biggest support all the way through secondary school and was absolutely always there to save the day. He did an unbelievable amount for me and I think I’ll always be grateful to him for everything he’s done. He was truly a superstar! ❤️
I think that my mental health issues absolutely affected my Leaving Cert results. I know that if I had put my mind to it, I could have done a lot better in my exams but, I ended up getting the course I wanted and I have never been happier. I think that I was also mostly just disinterested in the school curriculum and therefore lacked any motivation to try hard in the subjects I disliked. By the end of school, I loved Maths, Art and Home ec. and I didn’t mind the odd English or Spanish class, except for my spanish teacher, I hated her. She was a wench.
After talking to a lot of people, It seems that one of the keys to getting through school is to find at least one adult you can trust and get along with, and lean on them. I think that there is still a lot of stigma around going to the school guidance counsellors, which there shouldn’t be! I believe it’s necessary for everyone to have a chat and let off some steam every so often. So many people, in my old school anyway, go to the counsellor so why is it such a big deal? I’m nothing less than proud to say I went to the counsellor and he was a fantastic help to me and I wouldn’t have made it through my school years without him. By the end of 6th year, I told him absolutely everything and he always just seemed to put a smile on my face, even when I was already smiling.
I know I’ve said it before, but I believe that talking is the one thing that can get anyone through anything! I believe that talking is essential to getting through this crazy life. And put it this way, if you feel bad about leaning on someone too much, the school guidance counsellors are paid to listen. Although, I know that’s not really an enticing way to look at it. If you need a chat, don’t be scared or embarrassed to talk. Everyone needs a helping hand at some stage and school is a pretty stressful time for everyone, one way or another!
Also, try to keep in mind that you’re never alone, everyone’s in the same boat as you in regards exam time. Knowing that I wasn’t the only one having a breakdown once a week always provided some comfort!
But for now, remember to take some time out for yourself and to have a breather every now and again.
Kim. X 🌼