How to cope with Leaving Certificate results day

Ahead of Leaving Certificate results day tomorrow, Bishopstown teacher and author, ALAN WHITE, offers students and parents advice on how to manage stress and anxiety
How to cope with Leaving Certificate results day

"Regardless of what happens on results day, you are starting an exciting new chapter in your life..."

LEAVING Cert results day is almost here, students, parents and teachers alike, all await the day, and how to manage stress and anxiety around results is on everyone’s mind. Here are some tips to help you at this exciting time.

1. The first step is not to make it your entire focus.

Distract yourself on the run up to the results with family outings, activities with friends or exercise. Don’t put your life on hold. This is especially important the night before the results. Plan something positive to do and try not to ruminate on all the possible outcomes.

Remember, thinking over and over again about all the different scenarios that could happen will only increase stress levels for both students and parents.

2. Decide where you will open your results.

If you are not comfortable opening them publically in school, then make a plan to open them with a few close friends or go home and open them in a comfortable environment. There is also the option of viewing the results online. Opening them in school may mean you are under pressure to share your results and you may want to process the results before discussing them.

3. Stay calm — even if the worst happens

Ifyou are less successful than you anticipated, it can feel like the end of the world. Try to stay as calm as possible and review the situation. Perhaps passing all subjects is not essential to your course.

If you did not get the points you hoped for, maybe you will still be offered the course in the second or third round offers.

Talk to your schools guidance counsellor to assess your situation and consider viewing your exam scripts and seeing if it is worth asking for a recheck of your marks.

If you do not get any of the courses you wanted, then repeating might be an option.

Remember, there are many factors as to why you might not have gotten the results you wanted and it’s important not to define yourself by this setback. Instead, focus on the areas where you did well and review areas where you could make improvements in the future.

Repeating is often referred to as “a second bite at the cherry”, so view it as an option you are lucky to have access to. In the same way that you shouldn’t let success go to your head, you shouldn’t let failure go to your heart.

4. Don’t feel under pressure to drink

However you decide to celebrate, alcohol might be involved. Your personal wellbeing is very important at this time and it can be very difficult to think clearly after a night drinking. If you are celebrating, don’t feel under pressure to drink and if you are commiserating, chances are, alcohol will make you feel worse.

5. Give yourself time to process

If you didn’t get the results you hoped for it’s important to allow time to process your options, but also as soon as possible to begin making a plan.

Maybe you could take a year out to work or travel. Maybe try a course that you hadn’t considered before. Sometimes our lives go in a different direction than we had hoped for, and sometimes this works out for the better.

6. Parental Pressure

Hopefully there will be joy and excitement the day of the exam results, but if your child is less successful than anticipated, it’s important that parents adopt a caring, calm and supportive role for their child. It can be difficult to mask our own concerns for our children, as we only want what is best for them.

However it can be hard on the student to deal with their own emotions and they may feel like they have also let their parents down

If this is the case it’s important to focus on what the young person did well and separate the person from the results, letting them know that you are proud of them, there to support and that you will help them make a plan as to what to do next will greatly help.

At this time, it may be helpful to speak to someone who can be objective such as a teacher or guidance counsellor to help review all the different options that are available. However, don’t allow your son or daughter to be pushed into a course that they are not passionate about. Settling on a course, just because you got it leads to a high drop out rate and may lead to bigger problems down the line.

7. Now for the best case scenario

You open your results and you get the results you wanted and the course of your dreams. You are full of joy, but also anxious about the next step. That may be a new college or university, new people, a new city or even thoughts of, “am I good enough? Remember everything is easier one step at a time.

This is a good time to do some research and make a plan. Are there orientation days for first years? Can you visit the campus to familiarise yourself with it? It’s important to research what clubs and societies are available as these are a great way to both pursue interests and get to know new people. It’s also important to keep up with old friends who are also feeling the same way and will be a great source of support.

Regardless of what happens on results day, you are starting an exciting new chapter in your life and remember that the path to success is never straight, but that is what also makes life interesting, as we only grow through difficulty and challenge. A quote that has always helped me during times of uncertainty is “Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I and I took the one less travelled by. And that has made all the difference.” (Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken).

Whatever happens, the best of luck to everyone receiving their results and keep in mind that you are so much more than the results of your exams.

* Alan White is a second level teacher at Bishopstown Community School and wellbeing Author. He also facilitates wellbeing workshops for companies and organisations. For more information contact changesbyalanwhite@gmail.com or linkedin Alan White

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