Thousands of families, including mine, are today celebrating Leaving Certificate results. Many are counting up points, and while the stress of waiting for results is now over, the emphasis now moves to next week's offers of College places.
Many students have already made their minds up about what courses they want to do in College, and they will get them. Many more will have to settle for 2nd, 3rd, or lower choices - this should never be seen as a failure. Neither is it a failure to not have achieved the result or number of points desired. There are so many options available for further study, and equally it has to be said, there is a plethora of advice of TV, radio, online, from Colleges - there is a danger of information overload. So choose carefully who you listen to.
Image source: tcd.ie.
I sat the Leaving Certificate exam in 1977 (two honours for 8 old-style points), and repeated it in 1978 (5 honours for 17 old-style points) achieving a place in Natural Science at Trinity. At the time they were "the most important exams in my life", but I quickly learned that my 1st year exams in Trinity then became "the most important exam in my life". A year later, my second year exams became "the most important exam in my life". In short, it is always the next exam that is the most important one.
So my message to Leaving certificate students today is to enjoy the day, but already it is time to move on to the next phase of your life. College is a fantastic experience and you will love it.