Dealing with that post-Leaving Cert freedom

Rianne has finished the LC and is preparing for what’s to come

Written by Rianne Keaveney


Last Tuesday, I finished my final two Leaving Certificate exams. Today, it still hasn’t sunk in. I don’t know what to do with myself! It’s not the typical ‘school holidays’ type of freedom…this time, it’s different. Never again will I put on my school uniform; never will I collect my books from my locker, or stare at the ticking clock, waiting for the class to be over.

It’s funny. You think that you can’t wait to get out. You think, when my exams are finished, then I’ll be happy. Really, it is the end of an era. You spend the best part of 14 years in a school environment, and suddenly, in the blink of an eye, it is all over, just like that. It’s sudden, and no matter how much you want it to come, it is still a shock to the system.

Some people welcome this change with open arms, and feel ready to take on the world. It is an exciting time, new experiences wait. However, for others, it can seem, daunting. Some people may not know what to do come September, others may be unsure about leaving home. Especially those attending a college without the friends they carried through secondary school. This is enough to make anybody nervous. You are, after all, going to be the new student, all over again, if you have chosen to go to pursue your education.

Instead of feeling frightened, apprehensive and worried, try and feel excited, positive and open. You’re ready for this, no matter how scary it seems. Here are some tips to help you beat the, what I call, ‘self-doubt blues’:

Watch your thoughts

The one thing we forget is that thoughts are not real. They are simply imagined, a passing thing. Just because you think it, doesn’t mean it will happen. Yes, you will make friends, and you WILL know how to cook yourself dinner. This will all come with time. So the next time you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, try and look at the bigger picture. Simply breathe them away.

Use your time wisely

Of course, if you are spending your summer working, you will not have as much free time. However, it is still important that you take time to organise yourself, to avoid getting stressed when the results, and eventually college, comes around. Collect things you think will be useful, such as cooking utensils, toiletries and some new stationary. You may think it is ridiculously early to be thinking about this, but trust me, you’ll be glad when the time comes, and the rest of your friends are running around trying to find a saucepan!

Positive affirmations

They may seem a bit stupid at first, and you may worry that you look slightly odd talking to yourself, but honestly, they work. They take time, and effort, but speaking short phrases or uplifting sentences to yourself everyday can improve your mood.

Look after yourself

By all means, go to that festival, go out with your friends, swim in the sea (weather permitting!) or go on a shopping spree. Do whatever it is that makes you happy. After all, you have spent the past two years working hard, and you deserve some time to enjoy yourself. However, make sure you are getting enough sleep, exercising everyday, and eating the right foods. This will help to ensure you are in your best shape, mentally and physically, when college comes around. It’s important to mind your body, it’s what carries you through your life, and so caring for it is vital.

Believe in yourself

There will be so many people questioning your choices, your ideas and views. So many. But don’t let them change your mind. Follow your intuition. Deep down, you know what is the right path for you. And also, know that you are capable of far more than you think you are.

I’d like to wish you all the best of luck with everything you do. I’m sure you are sick and tired of good lucks, and are just eager to move on. But remember the help and support you received along the way. Be thankful for the hard work you put in, and for the people who helped to get you here. And most importantly, you can do this. Embrace this new kind of freedom.

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