Well, this is it. I live in Ireland and it is now almost 0430. The reason why I'm up? I can't sleep. At 0600 I will find out where I go to college and what course I will be doing.
For those of you who don't know what this means. This means I'll be getting my CAO thing online. CAO is, how do I put it, the government organises all the applications into college into one body, the CAO. All Irish colleges are in the CAO programme. What this means is that it makes us, the students who finished secondary school (High-School) easier to apply for the courses we want in colleges. We don't apply just for college, but for the course as well. Each course has requirements that must be fulfilled before your elgible for that said course in that college. Sometimes the same course in different colleges have different requirements. These requirements are fulfilled through our final exam in Secondary School...the dreaded Summer Exams!
For my classes I did Higher History, Higher Home Economics, Higher English, Higher Biology, Ordinary French, Ordinary Math, and an optional class called Link Modules (basically known as L.C.V.P). I did not do Irish because I'm an American and I moved into the country in First Year of Secondary School, too late to begin learning it so I was exempt.
The reason behind doing the optional class is because I did not do Irish. The Leaving Cert goes by points. Classes taken in Higher get more points then Ordinary, with L.C.V.P being a Common class. To put it in a better way, an A1 in Ordinary level is roughly the same as a D3, the lowest grade you can get with points, on a Higher level. The difference is not only in points, but also in exam. Normally the Ordinary level exams are easier then the Higher level exams. The most points you can get in your Leaving Cert is 600, counting only your top 6 classes you did. Since I don't do Irish and if I didn't do L.C.V.P, then I would only have 6 classes then 7. That means I'm without a safety net if I mess up on a class.
Requirements are not only in points, but in grade as well. In some cases, classes you take as well. Quite a number of courses require you to do at least one science class and learn one other language besides English and Irish (my exemption was recognised by the CAO, so the Irish clause for any course does not apply to me).
For the course I want, and the college I want, I need a minimum of 305 points, the maximum points you needed is 495. I also needed at least a good grade on allot of Ordinary level classes, a B3 in Math, and a minimum of 2 Higher level classes being a grade D3 or better. The average points students have when accepted to the course I want is 345.
The CAO allows you to apply for a number of courses in a number of colleges, so your never have to stick to any college in your appliance for the CAO. It works like this. You put what you want and where you want as your first choice, then your second best choice as number to etc. When the CAO offers are out, they will only give you the top two on your list if the colleges accepted you, so don't place the course with the college you want to go to the most on the bottom of the list!
You get the results from your summer exam late in the summer. Got mine last monday. I fulfilled all the requirements needed for my college and course I most want to go to, and then some. I got a C1 in English, a C2 in History, a C3 in Biology, a C3 in Home Ec (I think, or it could be a C2), an honours in LCVP (50 points in the bag), D3 in French (PASSED! WOOP!), and the most important class, and one of my toughest, a B1 in Math!
Thank God I did LCVP! My French would've net me 10 or 15 points, leaving me just on the minimum points needed to get in the course I wanted. But since I did LCVP, it took over the worst grade and instead used the LCVP's 50 points! Making it a grand smack total of 355 points and every qualification fulfilled! LCVP is an easier version of Business studies, for those of you who don't know what that is or are too lazy looking it up.
It was a lot of hard work though to get it. I started sudying after Christmas and studied harder after Easter. My dad constantly driled me with Math and gave me previous Math Leaving Cert questions to do and answer them under exam conditions, which means limited time. He drilled me with all of my classes. I also went through grinds for Math, English and Biology during the weekend while holding on to a part-time job weekend job. I believe it was 2 weeks or so before the exams started I asked for a break at work from my boss not to add hours next to my name on the rostar until my exams were over, which she had no problem with the request. (If your reading this Melany I want to say thank you and I wish you the best of luck in your future! It has been a pleasure working with you!)
For those of you wondering, "What course is he, that medium, slim build, handsome, blond hair blue eyed (I know, perfect race. I get that allot) American-Belgian, 19 yr old man want to take?" Well, I want to go to Carlow IT in Ireland for the Computer Games Development course. This course has been recommeneded by all the colleges in the Republic to be the best in Games Development. Which is perfect, as I also live in the Republic. This course also has the full support and backing of Microsoft. Microsoft helped shape and build this course so that the students who graduate from this course knows exactly what to do, and do it well, in the Games Industry. It's a Bachelor Honours Degree, mainly focusing on Programming but making sure we can also do audio and graphics. This also means I'm not stuck to just the Games Industry. This course goes from Algorithm, to Audio, from audio to graphics, and from there to physics and AI programming. Not only that, but the course gives the students a 6 month work placement in the Games Industry for work experience.
This is why I'm up so late. I'm excited and can't get sleep. I've watched "The Sum Of All Fears" and now I'm going to watch "Lord of the Rings" to pass the time. This degree gives me the chance to realise my dream. Not just my dream job, but my dream. To make video games. To help create and shape what I enjoy playing. Also, embaressingly enough, making money out of it too. But it's what I want to do for the rest of my life. And looking ahead in the future, if I live long enough to reach retirement, would be a sad day, because it would be the day where the job ends. I have every right to be nervous too, as there are only 40 places on this course.
So here is to me, and to almost everyone in Ireland that had to go through the dreaded Leaving Cert, for getting what we want to do, and our future hard work in college and in work.
It is now 0508 on my clock.
To see this course, just follow the link