Leaving the Leaving Cert behind
It can be hard to know what to do with all your free time.
This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the past two years, my whole life has been based around the Leaving Cert, and if you've just finished it, then it's likely that your life's been pretty much the same. Now that it's over, it's understandable to feel a bit maladjusted to normal society. I know that I've been finding it difficult to get used to not spending weekends studying and not being able to use homework as an excuse not to do things, so I thought that I'd put together a little list of things I've been doing to break out of the bubble of the big LC.
Throughout 6th year, I was mainly kept busy by the constant worrying about my future, and though that hasn't really changed, there has been a tonne of academic responsibility lifted off my shoulders. As a result, I found myself with a lot of free time. I think it's so important to keep busy after doing the Leaving, and personally I found making lists of TV shows to watch and books to read really helpful for those days when your friends aren't around and you just feel like lazing out on the couch all day (For example, I've finished Orange is the New Black, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - a Netflix subscription really helps!).
Live in the now
You've done the work, and you can't change anything now, so there's no point in worrying about a semi-colon you didn't put in on your English exam or a missed decimal point in Maths. It's time to just focus on the present, as the only thing that dwelling on results is going to bring is more stress - and this summer is a strictly no stress zone!
Nurture your friendships
If you're like me, then towards the end of the school year you may have neglected some of your friendships. Now's the time to start regrouping with your friends, keeping busy and living in the present by getting together and having a bit of fun, even if it's just being lazy and watching TV together. Post LC life can be a pretty tough time, but having a solid and close knit bunch of friends really eases the stress and pain that can crop up, especially with results day looming.
Find new hobbies
I put a lot of my personal development on hold during 6th year, but since finishing school I've been actively trying to pursue new interests, like painting, which I find incredibly relaxing after a long day of... well, relaxing. Knitting, running, and picking up a new instrument are just a few things in a long list of exciting new hobbies that are waiting for you out there! Give one a try, you might be surprised at how much you'll enjoy it.
Make the most of it
You've finished secondary school! No more uniforms! No more maths! (Well, unless you're planning on doing something maths related in college) No more whatever subject(s) you hated! Maybe you're planning on getting a job, going to college or doing a PLC, but regardless, now is the time that your life is finally starting to begin. Adulthood awaits, now go out there and have a great time - because after the hell that was the Leaving Cert, god knows you've earned it.