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Highest achievers?

 

The results of Ireland’s Leaving Certificate State Exam were released on the 13th of August.

This exam is the culmination of five years of study and it holds the key to the future of many students.

For months before the exams, which are held each year in June, two things happen.

1.  Some students don’t cast the upcoming exams a thought.

2.  Some students stress themselves to the point of mental and physical distress over sitting these exams.

For weeks before the results are released in August, two things happen.

1.    Some students don’t cast the upcoming  results a thought.

2.  Some students stress themselves out worrying about the outcome or points they will achieve.

And that is the story of life.

The students at 1. above, takes things in their stride, they do not struggle with their emotions or become anxious.

The students at 2. above, are predisposed to an anxious nature.  They struggle to handle their emotions and cope with stress.

And that is the human story or condition.  We are all different, in how we see the world and how we cope in the world.

The Leaving Certificate acknowledges the high achievers and rightly so!  It tabulates the results and rewards students accordingly.  It is a grading system.  It however, fails to grade students on how they function and cope emotionally or psychologically.

So please consider a few important things.

1.  Look past the A4 sheet of Academic Outcomes and see that each student, teenager, boy, girl, non-gender, behind the A4 grading system is individual, unique, different and consider how they truly feel. They may not be the highest achiever in maths or biology but they might be the highest achiever in resilience or mental health management.

2.  Don’t compare them to others.  It doesn’t matter what their friends or peers got.  Don’t expect them to get the same results. Do expect them to react or cope in very different ways and be there for them, if their world falls apart.  Be calm, be capable and let them see that by supporting each other this will all work out!

3.  If you are a teacher or parent and your student, son or daughter haven’t reached the exam stage yet, then make the most of it!  Tell them, right the way through school, how unique and different they are.  Watch out for and acknowledge their high achievements, whether it is academic or simply turning in for school.  Remind them that they have numerous talents, some of which will be uncovered academically and many, many more which will only surface when they study at the college of life!

Le grà,

Mindfully Marie xx

 

 

 

Bullying…”I am grateful for it all”…

My son is less than a month away from his exam results and in expectation of enough points for his chosen 3rd level programme, we completed the application form for his accommodation together last night.

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We discussed choices of accommodation.  We considered the different fees and charges and their due dates. As we worked down through the application form, I was surprised when he stopped and turned to me saying he was “excited!”.

You see, excited was not a word in his vocabulary for a long time. His happiness and excitement were taken from him by bullying.
His journey through primary and 2nd level education has been a very difficult time for him. To be honest it has been one of life’s greatest challenges for all of us, individually and as a family.

But when he turned to me last night and referring to it all, calmly said, “I am grateful for it all” then I knew that the upset, frustration, isolation, insomnia and every other barrier we faced was for a reason. It was all needed in order to bring him and us to the happy place we have reached today.

So, I’m sure you can imagine how great it was to hear him voice his excitement! I told him I was excited for him too and for the future he has ahead of him!

But I knew what he meant; he has learned a lot, we have all learned a lot thanks to the painful lessons of bullying.  We know that his bullies’ words and actions slowly wore down his resilience.   We now know that his happiness and excitement wasn’t taken from him by bullies. Instead, he thought he was powerless. He allowed his happiness and excitement to be taken by those bullies, we did too, we gave them power over us by letting their behaviour affect us.  We didn’t engage in self-care or nurture ourselves enough.

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But not anymore! Now we know how to listen to our feelings.  We can identify signs of stress. We can see those bullies for who they are!  We know their back-story and we’d take our story over their story any day!

We can move forward now from a place of confidence and hope. And we can also with conviction say these painful lessons were indeed the greatest teacher!

Much love,

Marie xx

P.s Isolation is one of the most difficult aspects of bullying, if this post resonates with you please share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

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