Friday, 12 August 2016

Points Don't Define You

If you don't know already the Leaving Cert Exam results are coming out this coming Wednesday, the 17th of August. I have had a lot of friends sending me Snapchats saying how nervous and scared they are for their results and I have been sharing my advice and thoughts with them so I decided to share all of the things I said to them with ye.

I have been planning this blogpost for a while now and its like I have so much to say that I have no idea how to say it or where to start. As the days go by the more and more countdown tweets appear on your timeline and people start wishing you luck because this piece of paper you are going to look at apparently defines your future.The points you get and the grades you receive don't tell you how successful you are, how smart you are or if you are going to achieve your dream career or not.
The piece of paper you will receive in an envelope doesn't define you, your personality or your future. The exams that we spent two years preparing for are a memory test, basically how much can you remember from two years and write it all down in two hours. The exams didn't test your ability to face real life situations, they didn't decide how intelligent you are, they were a memory game that measured how good you are at overloading your brain with useless information. 
They told us that the Leaving Cert will be the hardest exam you will ever have to sit. The gruelling hours we spent poured over books trying to make sense of confusing subjects that we might not ever use again in our lives. We spent two years being surrounded by people who payed thousands of money to attend grinds to get 625 points. I thought grinds were supposed to help you if you were struggling in a subject, not if you wanted the maximum points. 

Our society believes that the higher the points the higher the intelligence. What about the creative people who are world class musicians and artists and will be famous some day but can't understand science because they weren't built to learn physics. They were born to express themselves through art because they have a creative brain. 
How about the people who understand computers so well and can navigate through coding a software and will be developing apps and new technology devices in the future? They weren't made to be able to waffle on about poetry for three hours or be able to quote Shakespeare and have any clue what they're talking about. 

And how about the people who are just all round incredible human beings but their intelligence can't be translated academically? The people who can communicate with others, that can help in any situation?
The ones who studied into the early hours of the morning, who were sleep deprived and survived on coffee could believe that the day of results is 'D Day'. They might know a whole history book from back to front but they don't understand the importance of unwinding after a long day. They might not understand that laughing with friends is so much more important to what you get in next week's maths test. They couldn't enjoy and savour the last moments of secondary school before graduating because they were too worried about the 'life or death' exams that were coming up. Not all knowledge can be found in a book. 

I'm not saying that school isn't important, because it is. But what's more important is living life and your health, both physical and mental. 
These results might decide what you're doing next year but it doesn't decide how determined you can be to end up where you want to be. There's a back door into everything, there's even a side door and sometimes an open window to squeeze through. The numbers you get after converting your grades into points don't decide what careers you can and can't do. Because you can do freaking anything once you put your mind to it. 
These results and points don't matter, they don't define you and how incredible, valued and amazing you are. They don't tell you what career you'll have ten years down the line and they certainly don't define how smart and intelligent you are.   

Don't be nervous about receiving a piece of paper next week because it doesn't mean anything,
Ailbhe x 

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