In a weird way, I was lucky to have had a little bit of a different leaving cert experience than most others have. I say “in a weird way” because it wasn’t exactly lucky that I was depressed during my leaving cert. However, it did allow me to have a very different perspective on the exams than my classmates. You see, I had told my mam a few months before my leaving cert that I wasn’t going to be able to do it. And I truly believed it. I was anxious and depressed and didn’t feel like I had the strength to go through with the exams. Although somehow, just by taking it day by day, I ended up getting through to the end of school and actually sitting my leaving cert. The lucky part of all of this was that I hadn’t given what points I needed a second thought. I had just gone in with the mindset that I had already done amazingly by even showing up and that I would just try my best and see how I got on. I was truly so proud of myself the day that I walked out of my last exam. And I was just as proud the day I got my results. I hadn’t nearly gotten enough points for what I needed, but it didn’t matter. There is always another way.

It’s only natural to put huge pressure on ourselves to get the points we need for the course we want to do. As humans, we are always going to want to take the most straightforward path. We want to get our points, go to college, graduate and begin our careers all before the age of 25. If you had told 18-year-old me that she wouldn’t be in her first year of college until she was 25, she wouldn’t have believed you. There is not one part of me that would change that though. I would have done a social studies degree if I had gotten my points at the time, and I would have robbed myself of everything I have experienced that brought me to the conclusion that I wanted to do psychology. Frankly, even if I had started that social studies degree, there is no guarantee that I would have completed it, based on many things that happened to me over the course of my early 20’s. There is no telling how different my life would be if I had gotten my points, all I know is I wouldn’t be me as I am right now. And you, no matter what happens with your results, will find your path to exactly the place you are supposed to be.

I know it’s cliché to say “what’s for you won’t pass you” … but it’s true. After 6 years of preparing for the leaving cert and then not getting the points you need, it can feel like all your plans have come crashing down. Take a deep breath. There are so many options for you. You could do a PLC course, which will then count as points and can get you into your course that way. Maybe you’ll do the PLC course and realise that degree wasn’t for you in the first place. Maybe you will discover a new hobby or passion that takes you in a completely different direction that you might not even need a degree for. Maybe you will venture straight into the working world, or travel around the actual world before you settle into college as a mature student. A quote that sticks out in my mind when thinking about this is “it’s not rejection, its redirection.” Regardless of whether you get your points or not, you are destined for great things, and you will achieve them no matter what if you set your mind to it.
Life is full of ups and downs and it leads us down paths we never expected to go. I know that can sound incredibly scary, but it’s part of the beauty of life. No matter what happens with your results, you are still the wonderful, smart, creative, driven and kind person you always were. And that, cannot be measured in points.

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