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The end is in sight for Leaving Certs

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

Well done to every single student in the Class of 2021! You have managed to navigate most of your senior cycle in the backdrop of a global pandemic, including undertaking over six months of online learning.

You have shown yourselves to be resilient, adaptive and committed to just getting on with things in spite of lots of challenges personally and educationally. Your families, teachers and society as a whole are proud of you so I hope you feel proud of yourselves.

After what may have seemed a long journey through times of uncertainty, difficult decisions around exams and accredited grades, the pressure of completing assignments, projects and assessments later than normal in Sixth Year, while also trying to study and revise - you are almost there now.

As you approach the final hurdle of the exams, keep in mind that while the Leaving Cert is an important exam and big milestone, it will not define you for the rest of your life. It may be hard to imagine that right now as you grapple with trying to balance last minute revision with the exam stress and anxiety that comes in as part of the Leaving Cert experience. Try to use that stress to drive you on rather than immobilise you.

After many years of supporting students before, during and after exams, I can tell you that regardless of what happens in each exam, you will have lots of options available to you and an interesting journey ahead. The following tips might help in the final days coming up to the exams and as you navigate your way through them.

TIPS FOR THE EXAMS

Stick to a good routine with a healthy balance in terms of revision, rest, fresh air, sleep and diet. Don’t be tempted to work late at night as it is usually unproductive and impacts on your concentration the following day.

Keep your social interactions with others to a minimum during the exams and encourage family members to do the same so as limit the chance of contracting COVID.

Have a schedule of the exams with the dates/time highlighted hanging up where it is obvious and visible at home and take a photo to save on your phone.

Set two alarms for the mornings of exams and allow lots of extra time. You will need to be in your assigned seat in the exam centre at least 30 minutes before the start of the exam on day one and 15 minutes before all other exams.

Don’t forget your face covering as they are required, so have a couple spare with any utensils needed for the exam.

Hydration is really important during the exams to help with concentration during longer papers, so make sure you have plenty water.
The first thing to do when you look at the paper is to read the instructions carefully, your teacher will have gone through these many times with you. Mark all the questions you are going to do and right out a quick time plan for yourself.

If you feel you are becoming really anxious, focus on controlling your breath to bring a sense of calm. Breathe in through your nose for two seconds, hold your breath for one, breathe out through your mouth for four seconds. Repeat for one minute.

Focus on exactly what you are being asked. The most common feedback from examiners is that students give a lot of irrelevant information so keep glancing back at the question to keep yourself on task to target the marks.

Try to avoid too much discussion after each paper. ‘Post-mortems’ of the exams are rarely helpful and can add to stress levels so once each exam is done, take a break and then move on to preparing for the next one.

In my eyes you are already achievers, survivors and future leaders for the brighter days that lie ahead. Go n-éirí libh ar fad, the very best of luck to each and every one of you!

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant. For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. 

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Fossa’s marathon man competes in Vienna

By Sean Moriarty They are a familiar sight on training sessions out the Fossa way, but last weekend two Killarney marathon runners made themselves known in Vienna, Austria. Tony Harty (Fossa) and Seamus Murphy (Milltown and Glencar) train together and travel together to international marathons all over the world. On Sunday they contested the Vienna Marathon […]

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By Sean Moriarty

They are a familiar sight on training sessions out the Fossa way, but last weekend two Killarney marathon runners made themselves known in Vienna, Austria.

Tony Harty (Fossa) and Seamus Murphy (Milltown and Glencar) train together and travel together to international marathons all over the world.

On Sunday they contested the Vienna Marathon with Tony recording a personal-best time of 2hrs and 45mins. He finished second in the Over 45 category and 27th overall, while Tony completed the course in 3hrs and 3mins.

“You won’t see one of us without the other,” said Tony.

Niall Thompson of Killorglin was also competing in the event.

Tony is a member of the well-known Harty family of Waterford. His two brothers Phillip and William and sister Rebecca all raced for Ireland.

Tony took up running later than his siblings and contested his first marathon in 2015 when was 39-years-old.

Now 45 he cannot stop running and takes in at least two overseas marathons every year as well as Irish and local events.

“It is all part of the experience,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. Both he and Seamus have previously contested marathons in Barcelona, Valencia and Rotterdam and he intends to return to Spain in early December for another crack at the Valencia event.

He prepared for Sunday’s race by winning overall at the Churchtown 5-mile race in Cork last month and the Antrim Half-Marathon a few weeks ago.

“Vienna was very hot, up to 26 degrees, and lots of people were suffering,” he added. “Vienna was supposed to run in April but it got deferred. We prefer running in cooler conditions. Valencia will be around 10 degrees in December which is ideal.”

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Jordan’s new role with St Paul’s

By Sean Moriarty Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club. Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level. The High Jumper then switched […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Killarney’s Paralympic hero Jordan Lee is to take on a new role with Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club.

Jordan began his sporting career with the local basketball club where he created history by becoming the first amputee athlete to represent their country at international level.

The High Jumper then switched to track and field and qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics where he made history by becoming the first Kerry athlete to act as a flag bearer for an opening ceremony and lead an Irish team into an Olympic Stadium.

Now back home and preparing for the next Olympics in Paris, he has returned to his first love and will join the backroom staff at the local Division One basketball club ahead of their National League campaign which begins next month.

His father Jarlath Lee is head coach with St Paul’s.

“Jordan is joining us as our strength and conditioning coach,” Jarlath told the Killarney Advertiser.

INTERNATIONALS

Meanwhile, Scott’s Lakers St Paul’s Killarney Basketball Club National League team will have a distinctive feel to it this year after securing the services of three overseas players it for the season ahead.

The club’s biggest signing is Canadian professional Ben Miller. It was originally hoped that the former two-time Manitoba Player of the Year would play for the local side last season but the pandemic got in the way and the National League was never played. However, he did play two training games this time last year before returning to Canada until travel restrictions lifted.

“He is a good guy, very approachable and very good with the young members,” Jarlath said.

The club has also signed Bulgarian International Emilian Grudov.

The 20-year-old has already represented his home country at U16, 18 and 20 level.

“He is young, athletic and very good offensively,” added Lee.

The returning Lithuanian Dianius Varanaukus completes the club international line up for the 2020/21 season.

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