Monday, 7 October 2013

LIFE OVERSEAS: The university beckons

 BURDEN NO MORE: After months of anxiety over her examination results, the writer is all set for the next phase of her life

IT can be more of a challenge to wait for examination results than sitting it itself.
Last June, I sat my Leaving Certificate examination, a pre-university test. The results, however, were announced on Aug 14 and the university offers were only available on Aug 19.
Many tertiary institutions in Ireland begin orientation for fresh undergraduates in the first or second week of last month. This meant that I had less than four weeks to accept my university offer, arrange accommodation and make other preparations.
I faced a barrage of questions. Will my results meet entry requirements? What if I qualify for a course but competition is stiff? What about living arrangements if I study far away from home?
All these queries were left unanswered for three months. I was not alone as many of my Malaysian friends faced a similar problem as they waited for their Universities and Colleges Admissions Service results on Aug 13. Their quandary included booking last-minute flights and student visa applications.
Nightmares began to emerge and I even dreamt that I failed my English paper. Whenever I met fellow examinees, we joked about our results and wished each other luck. One of them said that she would not contact me if she failed Mathematics.
On doomsday and sleep deprived, I walked to school and gathered with other students in a hall. Students hugged each other and some were already in tears before the results were released.
The principal and two teachers handed out envelopes with the results. I headed towards a corner after receiving mine. With trembling hands and a rapidly beating heart, I saw my results and began to cry tears of joy. The Leaving Certificate results are based on six best subjects and 600 points are the maximum score excluding the 25 bonus points if the student passed higher level Mathematics. Miraculously, by God’s grace, I received 595 points.
My results left me dumbfounded as I had only hoped for the 500 mark. My classmate Róisín Healy also scored 595 points. Many of my classmates were elated as they had met admission requirements for the programme of their choice. A student requested his teacher to recalculate his points as he did not believe his amazing results.
All the burdens on our shoulders finally lifted as we knew our future. Some of us went to a cafe to celebrate over coffee and cakes. Our mobile phones rang non-stop and text messages flooded in from relatives and friends eager to know the results.
The past two years of study have finally borne fruit.
We are excited as we step into the next phase.

The writer loves to try all things but is a Malaysian at heart.

Read more: LIFE OVERSEAS: The university beckons - You - New Straits Times

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