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Checklist for CAO Change of Mind

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Many of you are still working your way through the Leaving Cert exams but with the CAO Change of Mind deadline approaching on July 1, it is really important that you take some time to look at the details of your CAO application, particularly your course choices.

This is the last opportunity for you to make changes before the final deadline at 5.15pm on the day. It has been a challenging two years, with lots of uncertainty and so much has been out of your control. What is within your control now is how you finalise your CAO choices to ensure that you give yourself the best chance of securing a place on a course you want in September. Leaving Cert results will be issued on September 3 with CAO Round 1 Offers out on September 7. To use the Change of Mind facility you simply log on to www.cao.ie, click on ‘My Application’ and log in with your CAO number, date of birth and account password.

CHECKLIST

As you review your CAO choices in the coming weeks, use the following checklist as a guide:

* Have you checked your Statement of Application email from CAO and verified that all your details are correct including personal, educational and exemption details?

* Have you included courses on both sides of the CAO (Level 8 and Level 7/6). This gives you the best chance of getting two offers when the Round 1 Offers come out - the top choice that you qualify for on each list. You will then have to choose which one you prefer.

* Have you filled in as many of the 20 choices as you can? You have the option to fill up 10 on both sides, giving you 20 possible options for college in the new academic year. By filling all 20 choices you give yourself 20 chances of getting a college place.

* Have you checked the Alert Lists on www.cao.ie? Lots of new courses have been added in several colleges since the CAO Handbook was published last September, some very recently. You can add these courses in by checking the course code on the Alert List.

* Have you taken out courses that you are no longer interested in? Lots of students rush the application ahead of the February 1 deadline with the intention of coming back to look at the course choices more closely. It is not unusual for students to completely change their minds between February and July 1.

* Have you researched the detail of any course that you are including on your CAO application – take particular note of entry requirements and modules. By doing so you are giving yourself the best chance of choosing courses that you are able for, that suit you and that you are interested in.

* Have you listed your courses in Order of Preference? This is the golden rule of CAO. No one knows what the points will be for 2021 until the day the Round 1 offers come out and equally you won’t know your results of exams and/or accredited grades until September 3. My advice is don’t try to second guess either of them and before 5.15pm on July 1, make sure that your course choices are listed in Order of Preference!

* Have you applied the HEAR and/or DARE schemes or completed the HPAT exam? If so you will know the outcome of your applications on June 29 and the result of the HPAT exam is expected around the same time. This may influence your decisions around your choices.

You have had a challenging senior cycle, all the more reason to look ahead to a brighter future. Take time to review your CAO course choices, research your options outside of CAO and make an informed decision about the best next step after the Leaving Cert!

In next week’s column I will be answering your questions about CAO Change of Mind and offer stage so please send them to info@mycareerplan.ie or DM me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook on @mycareerplan1.

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors and Careers Advisor at www.mycareerplan.ie.

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Bamboo is hardy and easy to grow

By Debby Looney, our weekly gardening expert Is there such a thing as a plant which ticks every single box? I don’t think so. But a plant which is one of the most versatile I can think of is certainly bamboo. There is a bamboo for every need, and every type of garden, really, their […]

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By Debby Looney, our weekly gardening expert

Is there such a thing as a plant which ticks every single box? I don’t think so. But a plant which is one of the most versatile I can think of is certainly bamboo.

There is a bamboo for every need, and every type of garden, really, their only drawback is that they do not flower. On the other hand, they are hardy, easy to grow, evergreen, stay true to their size, provide sound, colour and movement, and are so unique they do not compete with other plants. The fact that they do not flower is, for me, one of their strengths, as they provide a beautiful backdrop for flowers in the summer and fill the emptiness in the winter without one having to worry about clashing colours!

CHOOSE CAREFULLY

Bamboo root systems are quite shallow, so while they do grow almost anywhere, they do best in fertile, moist, but not waterlogged, soil, which has been dug over. They benefit greatly from an annual mulch, and prefer to be sheltered from extreme wind. That said, I have a bamboo in a pot which dries out regularly, is forgotten about and gets the full force of the wind, but is still alive. Not growing, perhaps, but not dead either!
The important thing with bamboo is to choose carefully and do the research. There are a thousand plus varieties and some will naturalise and crowd out other plants. If you are in doubt, line a very large hole with strong plastic, into which you cut some drainage holes, this should keep your plant in check.

HARDY

The easiest and one of the largest bamboo is Pseudosasa japonica. It is classed as a runner, and needs space. I do a yearly trim around the rhizomes and this keeps it tidy. It has mid green, olive coloured culms, (stems of a bamboo), and dark green foliage growing to over 5m. It is incredibly hardy. A very popular bamboo is Phyllostachys nigra, the black bamboo – so called for its beautiful dark culms. It grows well in a large pot, but if it is planted in the ground it will reach 5m also. Another very hardy one to try is Phyllostachys aurea, the golden bamboo. Its canes are very recognisable, having a swelling below each node.
Medium sized bamboos, about 2m, are ideal for containers, or as screens. Fargesia dracocephala is a very hardy plant, which copes well with a level of neglect. It has dense, dark foliage which makes it ideal as a hedge. Fargesia ‘Jumbo’ is a firm favourite and with its arching habit it is very graceful.

EASIEST TO GROW

Yet another use for bamboo is groundcover and to this end Indocalamus tessellatus is possibly the easiest to grow and reaches a maximun of 1m tall. It will happily cover as much ground as you will give it. It is a bit of a slow starter if the soil is heavy, but once it gets going weeds don’t stand a chance! Another excellent choice is Sasa veitchii which is very dense and fast growing. Its leaves turn pale brown around the edges in winter, giving it a variegated appearance.
Lastly, there are a few unusual types to look out for. Shibatea kumasaca is a groundcover plant, which can be clipped into formal hedges and shapes as it makes small dense clumps. Chimonobambusa quadrangularis is a 3m tall specimen with square stems – it grows in distinct clumps and its leaves are very glossy, and, well, shaggy looking! Hibanobambusa ‘Shiroshima’ is a beautiful variegated plant, with vibrant yellow and green streaked leaves. It is extremely hardy.

So, whether you need a privacy screen, groundcover, specimen plant or pot plant, there is a bamboo out there for you!

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Lifestyle

Five tips for stress management

By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness We all have stress, whether at work, at home, with family or with friends. Sometimes specific things or circumstances can make us feel incredibly stressed out. Stress is a normal part of life, but the most important thing is responding to and managing it. So the next time that […]

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By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness

We all have stress, whether at work, at home, with family or with friends. Sometimes specific things or circumstances can make us feel incredibly stressed out.

Stress is a normal part of life, but the most important thing is responding to and managing it. So the next time that you are feeling stressed, try these five techniques for managing it:

1. Exercise regularly

Swift movement can help improve sleep and combat stress. Research shows that individuals who participated in moderate physical activity had half the perceived stress as those who did not participate. Physical activity may also cancel out some of the adverse effects of stress, including the impact on the immune system. Exercise causes the release of endorphins, so adding physical activity into your routine will also make you happier.

2. Practice parasympathetic activities such as meditation

Multiple studies have found that mindful meditation can reduce psychological stress and anxiety. Take five minutes to yourself in a quiet place to sit and breathe. Focus on the present moment. Don’t worry if your mind starts to wander to other thoughts. Simply acknowledge those thoughts and then let them go. Refocus and bring your attention back to the present moment.

3. Get adequate sleep 

Stress during the day affects the quality of our sleep at night. Even worse, insufficient sleep can affect both brain function and mood. Limit electronic device usage like smartphones and computers in the evening. Don’t consume caffeine late in the day, after 3 or 4pm. Try to get in the habit of waking up and going to bed consistently to ensure adequate nightly sleep. Finally, get moving during the day! Research suggests that physical activity can improve sleep and combat stress.

4. Eat a high-quality whole foods-based diet

When we are stressed, our central nervous system releases cortisol. Research has shown that high cortisol levels combined with high sugar consumption may cause fat to be deposited around our internal organs. This is called visceral fat, and it is associated with cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Choose high-quality whole foods which will provide you with a variety of nutrients and health benefits. Aim to consume a diet full of colourful fruits and veggies daily!

5. Transform negative thoughts

Our thoughts influence our emotions, and our feelings affect our behaviours. Reframing your thoughts around the causes of stress can help you better control your emotions, which helps reduce perceived stress. Redirect negative energy and ideas into positive ones. Evaluate your expectations and learn to accept the situations that are outside of your control.

If you need to connect with a coach to help guide you, schedule a free consultation with us today by visiting our website www.activate.ie.

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