Do you remember sitting the Leaving Certificate? All week, at the first mention of the exams starting, I’ve heard people sharing their memories. It seems that no one can quite forget the experience of finishing school, sitting in the examination hall, the smell of the paper, watching the opening of the envelope, handing out the papers and then being told that it was time to begin. Turning over the exam paper, looking at it with hope and expectation, would the one thing you were depending on come up? Dividing the time by the number of questions, making a little schedule so that you’d have something written for every question. The teacher’s voice in your head, “don’t spend too long on one question, move on, leave space to go back and write something you’ve just remembered”. The invigilators walking up and down, the sound of writing, so many biros working in unison, little sighs and shuffles, the heat in the room, the speed with which time passed. And then the deeper feelings of ‘Yes, nailed it!” or the frustration of feeling the questions didn’t match up with what you hoped for, “if only I’d re-read such and such’s notes.” And then the bell, “time’s up students, put your pens down please.” And a moment later caught up in the tide of classmates jostling out of the room, full of chat about the good and bad in the paper, and heading home, your folks reading the face coming in the door, “I’m sure you did your best, come on and have some tea!” And then back to the bedroom, quick change of notes, (better keep the others, just in case of a repeat) and sitting down to another night of cramming, hoping to squeeze out English and make room for Maths, and on and on and on, day after day until at last, Latin, the final exam, finished and free. Everyone says there will never be a harder exam again in your whole life, and you know looking back, I think they were right! May God bless all our students in exams halls.