Gemma Good, Carrigallen Vocational School, Class of 2020.

Leaving Certs 2021 left to ‘pick up the pieces’?

It’s hard to believe it’s been over seven months since I've set foot in a classroom. If someone had of told me that March 16 was going to be my last day of school, I would never have believed it, writes Gemma Good.

However, here I am nearly two months into a university despite never sitting the Leaving Certificate. A lot of people have been asking how I feel about how the Leaving Cert played out this year. I have mixed feelings - the general consensus among the Class of 2020.

“I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to sit the exams but I was fairly worried that I didn’t have as much control over my results,” said Kelvin McNally, who attended the Royal School Cavan.

Ciara Smith, a former student of Loreto College Cavan, said that she felt “disappointed and more worried” upon hearing that the Leaving Certificate was cancelled. She was “very anxious” that she would not get enough points for her first choice course.

The huge build-up of pressure prior to the Leaving Cert is undeniable, no matter how much you claim to care, or care less about it.

For the 2020 Leaving Certs, the mocks were past, the anxiety was ever present, the orals were looming and then, nothing. Will we always be viewed as the year that got everything handed to us?

On the other hand, what about the class of 2021? Are they being left to pick up the pieces and play a game of catch-up?

Megan Lavin, a Carrigallen Vocational School student, explains that this year’s Leaving Certs “don’t know what’s going to happen yet".

The Leitrim girl accepts there have been changes to the exams but says this “isn’t enough” considering the length of time missed in the classroom due to the pandemic.

It appears the question of fairness regarding the Leaving Certificate remains, with added stress and anxiety caused by Covid.

Looking back at my time studying for the Leaving Cert, I have the following advice for students; forget the competition of the points race, help each other, and remember that no grade on a page will ever define who you are.