Leaving Cert. results day can seem pretty daunting for every student, but no matter what's inside your envelope, there is a almost always a way of getting into the course you want, writes Jack McCann

Wednesday: Usually seen as a good day, the middle of the working or school week, only two more days until the weekend and that time when you can kick up your heels and relax. However Wednesday the 13th, sounds ominous already, isn’t a normal Wednesday for the thousands of students collecting their results from the many schools across the country.

As I write this, I feel very glad that I don’t have to wait the next 30 odd hours or so, anxiously or whatever emotions are racing through each Leaving Cert student at the moment, they’d be lying if they said they were completely grand about it. However, the idiom ‘you can’t judge a book by its cover’ suits the Leaving Cert results down to a tee.

No matter what is on that A4 piece of paper this morning, whether its 125 or 625 points, that number doesn’t represent you as a whole, you don’t get changed into just a name and a number after you get your results. As I’ve stated in a previous article, the Leaving Cert is important, however, it’s not the be all and end all.

Everybody is different. Just because you got 125 points doesn’t mean you didn’t try or study as hard as the lad who got 625 points, it may just be that, academically anyway, he or she was just more suited to the rigours of second level education. You yourself may have been more practically minded, you liked to learn by doing rather than reading till your eyes fall out. That is where the Leaving Cert causes problems; you only get one shot at ‘doing it’ right. There is repeating but that’s another article in itself.

For me personally, having got my results this time last year and seeing all the stories going around about them now, it brings back the memories. The night before, luckily, I was able to sleep; not a bother on me. I just tried to treat the following day like any normal Wednesday. The nerves did hit me eventually, when I was 10 minutes from the front gate school I suddenly realised it wasn’t a normal Wednesday at all. However, this realisation came to me not just because of getting my results, but also because it was the middle of August and I was walking into school with a bag.

Getting my results felt almost normal, as if I was being handed a letter to give to my parents or something. Once I was stood on the top steps at the front door to my school looking at the rest of my year heading in and out for their results, I became quite nervous as I remembered back to the exams, how awfully my English Paper 2 went, how I had no idea how the Biology went and how confident I had been leaving my Construction Studies exam pretty much 2 months previously.

I had decided to not open them straight away, I’d wait until I was outside the school grounds, however, in my haste to get going I forgot to pick up my sister’s envelope. I was picking hers up as she had been unavailable to do so herself due to work commitments. Going back to the school less than two minutes later, a) I felt stupid for forgetting and b) my level of nerves was ratcheting upward with every step. I pretty much scribbled a line as my signature beside my sister’s name as I was handed her envelope.

Finally, the moment came to unseal the envelope and see what I had gotten. I pulled the sheet out subject by subject. After some hurried calculations on my iPod, I quickly figured out that I had done quite well, much to my relief. I was also quietly confident that I was going to get my first choice. During this process I got a phone call from my mom, she wanted to know how I had done, I think I was the most unresponsive person she ever has had to call, I mumbled a lot as thoughts and numbers racked my brain.

Once home, and with the help of my second sister, I was able to confirm what I had gotten points wise and I was even more confident that I would get my first choice.

Twelve months on, and I have successfully passed my first year in UCD and I am happily looking forward to commencing second year in a few weeks.

I said it earlier and will say it again, everybody is different. Some people are good at rote learning and some aren’t. If you think it’s weird or odd that you feel extremely nervous already, don’t, it’s natural when it comes to something like this. Friends and family are important, keeping them in the loop with how you’re feeling may help.

Lastly, you also have to remember, that you won’t be defined by whatever points you get for the rest of your life, there are always options available to you. You’ll forget them soon enough.