This time last year TY ended and so I thought had my life. I wasn’t even worried about a social life, I didn’t have one to begin with, but I was certain 5th year meant the end of all things good. Nobody really helped me in my worry either. “Oh 5th year that’s the hardest year of your life. You’re really going to have to work hard this year now. 5th year? That’s tough.” To say I was worried was an understatement. I was sh*tting it. I was literally counting down the final days of summer so worried about what was to come.
It was all for nothing. 5th year is an important year and it can prove difficult to most of us but going into 5th year doesn’t mean your life is going to end and it’s certainly not worth wasting your summer fretting over. Having just finished 5th year (and having survived) I’m going to share with you some things that helped make the year easier on my self.
Try not to focus on the Leaving Cert all the time
You’re not doing yourself any favours if you spend every day entirely focused on the Leaving Cert. Allocate some time to research colleges and things like that but don’t waste your time constantly looking towards the Leaving Cert. Take each day or week as it comes and do your best in the present; thinking too far into the future will undoubtedly stress you the f**k out.
The first month is the most difficult
Going back to school is difficult regardless of what year you are in. Getting used to a new course in every subject and new expectations from teachers will take some getting used to, but after the initial first few weeks you will find things become so much easier. Allow yourself time to adjust, but I can promise you it does become easier.
Keep on top of work
This applies across the board, but I know people who put off doing projects and taking notes and end up with a very stressful final month. Keep on track of notes, homework and projects or you’ll have a painful summer of catching up ahead of you.
Have a cut off point
This is something I only started doing this year and it has actually helped me so much. In third year I could be awake until 11 or 12 o’clock doing homework most nights a week and it just left me drained and tired. Taking my friend’s advice I gave myself a cut off point of 9.30pm this year. Once it got to 9.30 I stopped, regardless of whether or not I was finished. Anything that needed finishing could be done the following morning or the next day. Unless it was 100% necessary I did not stay working past this point. Doing this doesn’t make you lazy or careless, you’re just taking care of yourself. Because of doing this I had much more energy this year than I had in 3rd year. Your health is more important than a piece of homework.
Learn what has to be learned, when it has to be learned
You will thank yourself when the summer tests come around. A year of not learning any Chemistry made for a very stressful final few weeks of learning for me. Whereas I had no problems studying Biology because I had learned that throughout the year. Just learn your stuff, you’ll thank yourself later.
Find yourself a hobby or something to distract you
Your life cannot revolve around school 24/7. You need a hobby or something to keep you occupied for a few hours a week. Trust me it will be a welcomed distraction if school does become stressful for you.
It’s not the be all and end all
Yeah, the Leaving is important but don’t ruin yourself over it. Your mental and physical health is so much more important. There’s no point in being a great student if you only get two-three hours sleep a night and can’t find any happiness in what you do. As the old saying goes, “your health is your wealth.” Take care of yourself.