The completion of the Leaving Cert is a successful milestone in its own right and whatever the outcome, this is a day for congratulations, celebrating achievement and the success of completion. The Leaving Cert can go wrong for lots of reasons but it’s important at this time to keep the focus on looking forward to the next stage of the young person’s career or education. For those who are disappointed with the results, there is always the option of the appeals process, but there are plenty of alternatives also open to you.
The article below from Guidance Counsellor Esther Doyle looks at coping with a disappointing Leaving Cert by ... Making a New Plan
The Leaving Cert can be such an awful time for some people as they watch others celebrate their success while they feel such disappointment at their own performance. Well take heart, you are not alone and if you look around you will see your feelings mirrored in many others. You want to feel the joy and happiness your friends are experiencing but you just can’t, you plaster the fake smile to your face and congratulate them while inside you are in bits.
It is not easy to pull yourself back up from this disappointment but believe me you can do it. Don’t deny these feelings but channel them! Understand that this disappointment is a sign that you want to succeed and are motivated, otherwise you wouldn’t care about your results.
If you look at many famous and successful people they had many failures and disappointments along the way to success. The road they travelled was not without bumps but the one thing they all had in common was a determination to pick themselves up and keep trying until they reached their goals. Not everyone takes the direct route to their chosen career, some find creative and interesting ways to get there. In the words of entrepreneur, Richard Branson:
Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.
So the first thing to do is to allow the tears and feelings to flow and be kind to yourself, it is a big deal and you are allowed to feel sorry for yourself (for a little while).
Now, start by being honest with yourself. Consider it an analysis of your approach rather than a criticism of your ability. Ask yourself what happened to result in those grades/no grades. You probably know the truth behind your performance but you need to have an honest conversation with yourself.
- Did you apply yourself enough?
- Did you have a good routine?
- Did you have good study habits?
- Were you organised?
- Did you spend too much time with your friends? On Facebook? Twitter? Online?
- Did you only start studying seriously too late? Did you take levels that were too hard for you?
- Did you feel stressed out?
- Did you feel unwell?
- Did you eat and sleep well and take care of yourself?
- Did you want to do well in your Leaving Cert?
- Do you get any pleasure from academic success?
- Did you put yourself under too much pressure?
- Is study for you?
- Do you even want to go to college?
- Do you want to try again and repeat?
- How motivated are you to achieve academically?
It is important to analyse your previous approach to your studies in order to prevent it happening again in the next phase of your life if you are moving on to college, if you are considering repeating or considering another pathway.
So what are your options?
There are so many ways to get to your destination that are often overlooked.
While the Leaving Cert is an important end of school exam and does open doors to other options it may not be the only way to directly secure that college place or gain the training you require. If you are considering repeating make sure you really want to and are committed to the study necessary as you don’t want to feel like this again next year.
If you have passed your Leaving and are disappointed with your results consider some of the following different options:
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||FETAC (PLC) courses - huge variety of courses. Many facilitate access to universities and Institutes the following year. (Search here)
||Work– with on the job training such as the banks, airlines, retail
||Private colleges - entry requirements can be lower, fees can be claimed against tax
||Online/distance/open university education courses - including degrees (check out open university, DCU etc)
||SOLAS (FAS)- Register for training
||Sponsored degree - free with sponsordhip by employer (e.g. LIDL, includes salary, holidays, healthcare)
||Apprenticeship - e.g. ESB, motor, electrical - New ones on the way!
||Part-time study - evenings, weekends
||Defence forces - Consider joining the Gardaí, Army, or Navy - Details
||Private courses with professional recognition
||Modular study- building up to a full award /qualification over time
||Study abroad check out UCAS clearing, Eunicas - More information
||Entrepreneurship - Set up your own business - contact LEO - your local enterprise board - More information
||Become a blogger, freelance journalist, photographer, artist, musician, DJ
||Travel - Spend a year abroad working with a charity or teach English abroad
||Wait! - Consider returning to education at 23 as a mature student
||Diversify- Consider doing a degree now and applying for a post grad diploma or degree in your chosen field such as medicine, teaching, veterinary, psychology
||Get advice - Talk to your Guidance Counsellor
||Avail of supports - Ring the NPC helpline for guidance (or the other support lines)
Above all remember there are many ways to reach your career destination and while education is extremely valuable it is not for everyone and many of the people that the world will remember never attended or dropped out of university - people such as Steve Jobs (Apple), Coco Chanel (perfume/fashion), David Geffen (movies/music), our own Patrick and John Collison (Stripe), many artists, musicians and successful entrepreneurs.
Finally, in the words of B. F. Skinner, remember:
A failure is not always a mistake,
it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances.
The real mistake is to stop trying.
So never stop trying, keep dreaming your dreams, keep your head up, make a new career plan and follow your heart. In a few years you will forget all about this Leaving Cert as your life goes in an exciting direction and it could be you we write about here!