10 Leaving Cert memories that stay with you forever

The dreaded exam hall
The dreaded exam hall

For 58,865 students, the final leg of secondary school life begins tomorrow, and you will remember aspects of it for the rest of your days.

1. The Weather

Okay, the forecast for this week isn't great but we all know that the Leaving Cert trumps all known meterological instruments when it comes to predicting the weather. Without fail the exams bring glorious weather to the entore country and the year we did it it was definitely at least 30 degrees. At least...

2. Pens

Carried in a see-through bag (handy preparation for modern air travel in fairness) we had enough biros to restock Raed's of Nassau Street for a month. Nowadays we can't find a pen when we need one but during our Leaving Cert exams we had backups to the power of ten.

3. Breakfast

Usually dragging ourselves out of bed at the last minute meant breakfast was a rare treat in our school going days. The run for the bus may have involved a slice of toast but that was it. However, come breakfast time during the Leaving our parents fed us as if we were about to take on a marathon. Nothing was too much trouble and the five-star service was a real treat. 

Sadly, on the day after the last exam, the service stopped and has yet to be resumed no matter how many times we ask. Apparantly facing into the NCT doesn't count.

4. Cramp

Nowadays the only thing we write by hand is our Lotto ticket and the odd betting slip. But the pain many pages of Leaving Cert answers caused our writing hand will never be forgotten. Sadly we were not smart enough to get into physiotherapy but they must make a fortune in the aftermath of the big exams.

5. People leaving exams early

These fell into two camps. The first were the 'I don't give a f*** people', who walked at the earliest opportunity, which was about 30 minutes in. 

The second were those who flew through exams and had the luxury of leaving the test early, with a satisfied grin on their faces as they handed over their exam booklet to the invigilator.

We were neither brave/foolish enough for the first group or sharp enough to be the latter but their faces remain etched on our brain to this day.

6. Seeing the poet/formula/question you really wanted on the paper

A feeling we have yet to recreate in any other aspect of life, including the birth of children and your county winning the All-Ireland.

7. Seeing the poet/formula/question you really want NOT be on the paper

A feeling, thankfully, we have yet to recreate in any other aspect of life. We can only imagine a punch to the stomach from Conor McGregor feels sort of like this.

8. Seeing a fellow student asking for MORE exam paper

The feeling of inescapable dread when the brains of the class asks for extra writing space and you've only only managed to fill two pages. 

9. Finishing and leaving early in your last exam because you're a bad ass and couldn't be bothered with it anymore

The sense of relief and rebellion leaving your last exam after half-assing it.

10. The sweet release

The moment you finally finish your last exam and allow the enormity of the situation to wash over you; realising that from now on you will never have to wear a v-neck jumper or ask someone permission to use the toilet again. The feeling of total freedom as you cast away the shackles of, as Ian O'Doherty put it, "The sausage making factory that is the Irish education system". Off to your career, college or travel, leaving those who can't behind.