Advice to help students and parents deal with anxiety leading up to the Leaving Cert results 

It’s been a very difficult year for Leaving Cert pupils and their resilience is something to be proud of, says ALAN WHITE, who shares some tips ahead of the results day tomorrow
Advice to help students and parents deal with anxiety leading up to the Leaving Cert results 

If a young person is thinking negatively about a situation such as the upcoming results, this can become all-consuming and it can be difficult to regain perspective. Picture: Stock

THE Leaving Cert class of 2021 have faced unprecedented disruption and challenges, missing out on a large part of both 5 th and 6 th year. The resilience that students have shown during this stressful time has been amazing and something that they and their families should be proud of.

Thankfully, this year students had the option to choose to sit the exam, opt for predicted grades or both.

Most students chose to sit both the exams and take predicted grades which means that they will receive whatever grade is higher. Despite this relief, the wait for the Leaving Cert results can be a very tense time for both students and their parents. Stress is inevitable for most, however there are some strategies that can help alleviate this stress.

Don’t make the results your only focus.

Ruminating on all the possible scenarios that might occur when the results come out can cause a huge amount of stress.

It’s normal to think about the best and worst case scenarios, however when we focus only on this, our minds begin to often fixate on possible negative outcomes. This can raise stress and anxiety levels and will disrupt our ability to focus on and enjoy all of the other things we like to do.

It’s important to plan a routine in the days leading up to the results. This might seem overly simplistic, but when we are stressed we tend to overlook activities that we would naturally take part in when we are feeling positive, by planning a routine which includes exercise and meeting up with friends, it will take the focus off the results. Even if it’s just for a short time, it can make a huge difference to our overall wellbeing.

Talk about concerns

A lot of young people withdraw when they are feeling stressed or anxious.

Parents might notice that they are spending more time alone and friends might notice that they are not around as much. It can be difficult to speak about what is bothering us as it can make us feel vulnerable when we want to appear strong.

If a young person is thinking negatively about a situation such as the upcoming results, this can become all-consuming and it can be difficult to regain perspective.

Speaking to a trusted adult or friend about what they are worried about and the feelings they are experiencing can allow a different perspective to develop and allow them to see things more realistically.

Parents Role

Along with students, it can be a very worrying time for parents too. Parents want the best for their children and the uncertainty leading up to the results along with managing their child’s concerns can be stressful and tiring.

As parents we often feel the need to step in and solve difficulties our children might be experiencing, however taking a step back while letting your child know you are there for them if needed can allow the young person the space to try and work out what they need help with.

The most important thing a parent can do during this stressful time is remind them that they are more than their results and that you will support them whatever the outcome is.

Adopting an encouraging and supportive role, will help reduce the stress of waiting for the results.

The day of the results

On results day it’s important to have a plan in place especially when someone is very nervous. For many students they choose to open their results and share whatever they get with friends and family immediately, however when someone is particularly stressed it is often a good idea to go to a quiet place to check their results, this allows time to assess what they received, calculate points and process the results they achieved.

Whether its good news or disappointment, these first few moments after receiving results can be full of emotion and it’s a good idea to have a parent or other trusted adult close by to help or celebrate.

The next step

Almost as stressful as waiting for Leaving Cert results is the wait for CAO offers, knowing what points a preferred course was in previous years is a good indicator but not a guarantee of a place. Again this is a period of uncertainty and worry for many. It’s important to look at all of your options when third level places are offered and to remember that there are many routes into specific careers so if someone doesn’t get their first choice subsequent choices might help them get the qualification they want.

Whether its celebration or disappointment on results day 2021, one thing for certain is that given the resilience this class has shown over the course of their Leaving Cert cycle, whatever challenges they face in the future they have the capacity to overcome.


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 visit linkedin Alan White or facebook Changes Wellbeing

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