Opinion,  Opinion,  Recipes

Leaving Cert Results Day

Being ancient (according to my children) means that I remember this day in crystal moments, not as a full day. Driving my mother mad by not collecting my results until later on in the day. Crying bitter tears as I missed my number one choice on the CAO by 5 points. Going to another school with friends to get their results. Standing in a local pub with a drink in my hand that evening not knowing how to celebrate as I felt like I’d failed.

A time later I started college; my second choice course, a contingency. I knew early on that it wasn’t for me, that one of the subjects I’d selected wasn’t sitting right. It was like a shirt that was a bit too short, too tight, too uncomfortable. No matter how much I pulled it into place the shirt never sat right. I left; fled college and started working. To this day I have massive feelings of regret that I have never finished that degree. I’ve since completed many night courses and have an embarrassment of qualifications that I rarely use on my CV but no “magic” degree.

So now that I’m in my late-thirties (sob) would I choose the same path?

Perhaps it comes from being older or more mature that I think now that my pathway was the right one for me. At some point in the future I would love to return to that elusive college degree but I know that at the moment with small children it’s not a viable option. My journey through life has brought me to where I am today and I wouldn’t change my life for the world.

Well maybe a little less housework would be good!

One of the things that I’ve learned since I left school is that life doesn’t begin or end with those elusive CAO points or the course that you choose. Life skills that I picked up in childhood have given me a brilliant foundation to work with.

2014 saw the publication of my first book, which isn’t bad for somebody who never completed their formal third level education. The cookbook has over 100 recipes that I designed around living on a tight budget, and I took all the photographs myself. I never would have been able to do it if I hadn’t learned how to cook for a family as I was growing up.

Transition Year gave me typing and office skills along with great work experience. When I started working full-time, being able to speed-type, speed-read, and knowing my way around an office found me a great starter job. 10 years after I left school, I became the Irish PA of the Year, despite not having that degree.

If things don’t go your way today or over the next few weeks when the offers are made, accepted or rejected remember there are always other choices and options. Who knows where you will be in 10, 20 or even 30 years time.


I'm an Irish mother to 2 boys, born & bred in Dublin, Ireland. I like to cook simple & fresh food for the family, with the family on a budget.


  • Aidi Mac

    Fair play to you. Too many have the mindset that the “Degree” is the B all and end all. Doing what you love will make you happy and if its a true passion it will bring wealth. Irish people put too much importance on the “degree” and now we had too many over qualified people with not enough jobs. ( I had two people last week come in to me to ask for an apprenticeship, both with degrees in things completely unrelated to gold, silversmithing, art or metalwork)
    The Trades and apprenticeship schemes are just as noble a choice. (if the person has a passion for it)

  • Rachel O'Flanagan

    I totally messed up my LC- scraped into my 10th choice: best thing that ever happened to me. I didn’t know myself well enough to choose correctly at that age: my other choices would have been such a bad fit as you describe yours.
    “There’s a divinity that shapes our ends,
    Rough- hew them how we will” William Shakespeare

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