The Leaving Certificate period is definitely a tense time, no doubt about it. Its stressful and tense for those that are sitting the exam as well as for those who are supporting them. Tensions rise and tempers fray. The biggest challenge that I have found throughout the run up to the Leaving Certificate has been to what extent I am going to sit back and let my son make his own decisions and to what extent I am going to wade in and say “uh uh that s not the way things are gonna be”. In the back of your mind you are thinking about the immense disappointment that awaits if things turn out so much more badly than they anticipated (and the associated grief and hassle for the rest of the family of course), but on the other hand you know you have to trust them to make their own decisions and own the consequences. I found this particularly hard. I worked in academia and trained people on passing exams. I used to set final university exams and I know how they need to be answered and revised for.
Investing in Trust
The hard task of parenting here is to invest in trust. To trust that your child is anchored to the wisdom of the Universe and that they are evolving in exactly the way that they need to. The task here is to curb your rescuing tendencies! Its hard!
Investing in Yourself
As a parent you will be tested, you will be asked to produce things at the last minute, you will be asked to make unusual things to eat at odd times, to drive to far flung shops and you that will be the butt of their frustration their anger and their disappointment. The key here is to find a harmonious way of engaging with this and not allowing your tension to overflow and unbalance them. The best way to do this is to invest in yourself. To build a strong foundation from which you can nourish and support your young person.
Finding your support during the Leaving Cert as a parent
Different people will do this in different ways, whether its coffee with a friend, whether it s a run on the beach or a yoga class or maybe its a treatment such as acupuncture or osteopathy or a massage or perhaps its a treat to show that you are caring for and valuing yourself. In order to support others you must be in a position to support yourself. So if your child is doing the leaving cert find a way to support yourself. I found that my child’s behaviour changed due to the pressure of the Leaving Cert. It started to change during the intense time of the orals and practical exams in March and April which were also times that he had to attend for the interviews and auditions associated with restricted courses. I found myself parked on Sandymount Strand one afternoon having what can only be described as a panic attack and I realised that there was no one there to talk to and no one else whose business this was aside from me. It was a fairly cathartic moment and I decided that because I could see this experience was going to be incredibly difficult for my son I was going to have to seriously support myself, and I finally took out my phone and made that appointment for the acupuncturist that I had been meaning to make for the last three years. I have budgeted so that I am prioritising my self care over items that I might think I need or want such trips out or meals out or clothes or shoes! But of course clothes shoes and meals out may be the ticket for someone else. There is no one size fits all. just make sure you know what you need and you get it!
12 hours to go to the Leaving Cert 2019
So we are just 12 hours from the Leaving Certificate now. Today we all received a big email from the school’s exam coordinator detailing all the information you could possibly want to know about the logistics of sitting the Leaving Cert, they include the things everyone knows such as; NO CHEATING as well as unusual things such as no clear water bottles. Not sure if this goes against the school’s no plastic policy or whether there is some bizarre way you can cheat with a water bottle. Or maybe the school anticipates a riot between rival football team supporters in the main exam hall.
No water bottles in the exam
Then there is the instruction about uniform. You may or may not wear your uniform, but if you don’t you must dress appropriately for the occasion. Not sure what appropriate dress code for the Leaving Certificate is and more to the point inappropriate dress code! I d assume evening or beach wear would be definitely out!
Get a good night’s sleep
Then we are facing into the first night of sleep. That night when you know that the next morning the Leaving Certificate awaits you. Everyone says “get a good night’s sleep”. Pretty impossible really for most ids knowing what lies ahead. I have invested in a very large box of chamomille tea and also in a box of lemon verbana and lemon balm tea! I was also lucky enough to have wonderful friends who between them got a herbal mix for supporting a good night sleep to our door. Thank you Dil and Helen!
Tomorrow the adventure starts!
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Exams Completed: 0 Exams Left to go: 11
Subjects Completed: 0 Subjects Left to go: 8