Monday, July 03, 2006

Exam Pressures - RM column June 15

[Apologies in that this column is way out of date but it was published on June 18 and I am only get around to posting it here.]

AS some 115,000 young people sit their Junior and Leaving Cert and the sun is shining (well it is at the time of writing) exam fever is well and truly in the air.

Thankfully the Young Wan’s big and first State exams are a year away. While I do not wish to lessen the importance of class tests there is no doubt the full stress of exams has not hit the Young Wan who remains completely un-phased by it all.

Well maybe that’s just on the surface and underneath she is a bag of nerves, but I don’t really think so.

I think before her Junior Certificate next year I might audition for Big Brother to try and get away for the guts of it.

Ah but seriously I have had a job trying to get her to study and we had moments, well I say moments, it was more like Mum turning into the Incredible Hulk going bananas.

I spent the weekend telling her to get to her books and there was one stall tactic after another, and it has been this way for weeks and weeks and weeks.

At one stage over the weekend I went into her rooom and she was lying flat on her back, on the floor, book covering her face, head resting on her bed-sofa out for the count. Completely out. I was way too stressed out to even think of taking a picture but it would have been a good one.

So I roared 'Young Wan' (well I didn't I of course used her name but I did roar - I'm a mummy hear me roar) and she woke up comically only I was not in the mood for it.

As she sprung up, her legs flew up, so did the book and she shouted dazed 'what' before looking around her like she was seeing heavenly visions. Unfortunately for herself the reality was me and I was far from heavenly-looking.

I do not know which was worse the fact that no studying was being done or the fact that for the rest of the day she looked at me liked I had asked her to kill her granny.

So we have had words, did I say we? I mean I had words. Most of which concerned the fact that I was actually just asking her to try to prepare for her exams, that is my job, get over it.

So now plans are being hatched for next year and how I am going to get her into a studying routine where she will not feel under pressure so much so that she actually does nothing. Yes some people handle pressure that way, by running away.

And I am dreading next year and that’s only the Junior Cert. But the Leaving Cert is a worry for two years time, not now; I have enough on my plate as it is.

It is hard enough to do all these State exams for yourself first time around as a youngster without the worry of being a Mum and wishing you could them for your child, particularly when they are as inclined to study as I am to date Kevin Myers.

What can you do? Nothing except encourage them to study, make sure they eat and sleep well and try to make life as easy for them during these periods as possible.

But as a Mummy, here's my last word on exams AAAAaaaaarRRRrrrrrrrrrgGGGgggghHHhhh. And of course the best of luck to all of you who are sitting exams.

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