Exam Time

Leaving Certificate. The Be-all and End-all?

At this stage, getting ready to enter my fourth and final year of college, I thought that the leaving cert would be quite faint in my memory – always dismal but barely there.

It’s not until the typically sunny June looms over us and the sea of uniforms entering the school gates is still ever present that I am reminded of its existence.

It’s common knowledge that the education system in Ireland leaves much to be desired.

There’s no wonder that with continuous stress inferred on students, there is the constant fear that without a decent leaving certificate, you’ve pretty much doomed yourself to an unsuccessful future.

One cannot deny the persistence of the schools from early on in education that the leaving certificate is the pivotal reckoning of a student’s success despite lacking true ability in thoroughly examining the set curriculum, with more emphasis on rote learning as opposed to meaningful understanding of the content.

If anything, I’m curious as to how anyone thought that learning off essays was a good means of deciding whether someone was mentally fit and capable to teach a class of thirty junior infants or to diagnose and treat patients in a hospital.

It is important, to not be ignorant to how important the leaving certificate can be for many, especially when sitting in the college library surrounded by just a handful of those who were undoubtedly, heavily reliant on the LC as a means of pursuing their dream careers. For me personally, I can say that I am grateful for the opportunity the LC gave me to study a course that I enjoy with promising job prospects once I leave.

Is the leaving cert actually the be-all and end-all? And the only truthful answer I can give is yes. And no.

It is refreshing to see how open people have become about how there are other paths in life besides that of the strict regime of the leaving certificate program, since it clearly is not a satisfactory means of suiting all students who pass through the outdated system. In a society where fame and fortune can be found from Instagram posts, the world really is your oyster.

For those wishing to proceed with their life-long desires of becoming doctors or teachers and the likes, yes, the leaving cert may be the be all and end all. But there is more consideration to the idea that success can still be attained outside of an educational institution.

There is little point in sitting in a lecture hall resenting your decision to take the path the leaving certificate brought you on just because someone doubted your ability to stray from the supposed idealism of taking the direct route instead of exploring your options on the way.