Leaving Cert Woes

QWe have a seventeen year old daughter who is studying for her Leaving Cert at the moment. Everything was going fine until last week when she announced that, not only did she want to change her preference for her course at college but she also wanted to take a year out before starting college as she is fed up studying and wants some free time before getting back into it.

My husband and I are very angry with her as we feel we know what’s best for her – you can’t put an old head on young shoulders. Any suggestions?

AFirstly, being ‘angry’ with her is hardly conducive to relaxed studying now is it so, I’m afraid you are going to have to button it for the time being – at least until the exams are over.

Not having been a great fan of the academic side of schooling, preferring at all times to use it as a social outlet, I’m not sure I’m the best person to ask! However, speaking from experience with my own daughter who did all of the above, let me tell you, changing courses was the best thing she ever did. Remember, this is what your daughter may work at for the next fifty years so it had better be something she really enjoys because, if she enjoys her work then she’ll excel at it and as the saying goes, if you enjoy your chosen career, you’ll never work a day in your life!

About that year out…my daughter took the year off only to find that instead of hanging out with friends and having fun, she was on her own because all her friends had started college or found jobs. Long hours were spent lying around the house not knowing what to do with herself and getting angry with boredom. At this stage she hadn’t intended changing courses but as the weeks went by she found herself watching cookery and baking programmes on television to pass the time and within a couple of months the seed was sown – there was no stopping her.

She had planned to study Equine Science but now it was all about food science and amazing cakes. This was at the height of the recession when horses and ponies were being left behind at bloodstock sales when they hadn’t sold so in a way, this was manna from Heaven – horses were a lovely luxury but everyone HAS to eat and delicious cakes are an inexpensive little luxury! Another thing to remember is, once she is accepted into college it is a lot easier to change courses later on and get credit for time already spent if she decides to go back to your original choice.

So in short, if she takes the year off she must do something constructive with her time whether it’s work experience in her chosen subject or some sort of charity work. Explain that you are not about to bank roll her year out – bed and food fine but she must find her own pocket money by working and no lying around in bed all day. Suddenly the whole idea may not seem quite so attractive – good luck.

Remember, this is what your daughter may work at for the next fifty years so it had better be something she really enjoys Tina Kouarianos

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