Things you don't get CAO points for.
I managed to leave school not knowing huge amounts of things about myself. I waited for a piece of paper to tell me if I was good enough in life. I had spent years studying a lot of random facts and a lot of them I have never EVER used in life. My being particularly useless at maths in school hasn't held me back in the slightest.
At the time however I existed in a space that elevated your status in life if you were good at higher level maths. (It hasn't changed hugely). Apart from the yearly dream around the time of the Leaving Cert , where I'm repeating higher level and I've forgotten to revise, I've survived the being crap at maths affliction relatively well.
I was happy to be measured in points. It didn't matter if I was good at sports, (I wasn't), If I was creative, if I was kind, if I was a loyal friend, if I was innovative, resilient, a good driver, a good typist, punctual, a good communicator. If I could make things, fix things, solve problems, play an instrument, sing,paint, decorate, garden , sew or cook. If I could lock myself away in a room and study intently things that I didn't always believe in, then I would be ready for life.
If I wasn't great at doing that, I came away feeling quite inadequate.
I left school thinking I was crappy enough at languages. I realise now that I'm not and that I not only enjoy learning new languages, but I'm not too bad at it either. So tip for any of you out there who do really badly in a language in the Leaving Cert. It still doesn't mean you are bad at them. It means you couldn't find the ability or the motivation to sit down and learn facts about grammar and tenses, about a language you had never seen in action that's used in a country that you have never visited.
Imagine that you get to walk down Las Ramblas in Barcelona and that you are staying in a beautiful apartment, the weather is beautiful , the smell of food coming from the street markets and the noise of Spanish music in the background. You stop to sip a refreshing drink and you look at the street signs around you. You hear people babble around you and you yearn to know what they are saying and what all the signs mean. You are told that you can get tickets to a match in the nou camp if you can put together two sentences in Spanish to ask for them. Now that's how you learn a language. You experience it, you live it. You can still do that regardless of how the Spanish exam went.
I have a strange belief about Education. I believe now that we don't label ourselves about our ability to do stuff. We can learn a bit of coding and not be good at maths. We can design an image and not be a graphic designer. We can write an article and not be a journalist. We can give an inspiring talk, without anyone ever teaching us how to do it. We can learn to run and not be sporty. We can learn whatever we want to, we don't have to be an expert.
What we can't learn so easily and what life just makes us learn the hard way, are the following things.
Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school. Albert Einstein
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