In January, it was confidently asserted by some students that there would be no Leaving Certificate examinations in June because of the high incidence of Coronavirus. As life returned to normal, and restrictions were lifted, such hopes faded.
The next straw at which some grasped was that the prospect of war. If Ireland became involved in a conflict, would they receive predicted grades instead of having to sit examinations? The odd hope that a country that remained neutral in the Second World War would intervene to support Ukraine has faded much more quickly than the virus.
Was it always thus? Were there always students who like myself imagined the possibility of extreme circumstances that would prevent us having to endure some experience that we did not like? How absurd were some of the scenarios that we imagined>
I remember many moments when an unexpected intervention of any sort would have been welcomed.
Perhaps there would be a chance that the night before the first day of the new school year, the building would be struck by lightning and would be burned to the ground.
Perhaps the night before the exams were due to begin, war would be declared. (This was a more realistic possibility in England, albeit that the more recent wars involving the deployment of British forces tended to be local conflicts in faraway places).
Perhaps the night before having to do whatever it was that I wished so much to avoid, I might fall asleep and not wake up until after it was all over.
If all else failed, perhaps I could hope for an alien invasion. The trouble was that stories of aliens terrified me when I was a child. I hated Doctor Who with its daleks and cybermen. I hated stories of ‘flying saucers’. I once spent an evening avoiding a television version of War of the Worlds (and I think I might have been thirteen at the time)
To be honest, as the years have passed, the aliens have become an increasingly attractive option to sort out the affairs of the world generally. If they have arrived here, their technology and knowledge is infinitely in advance of anything available on this planet, and surely they would be more inspiring than those who order the affairs of our world?
Without the prospect of a virus or a war, and without the hope of an alien invasion, the Leaving Certificate examinations look as though they are going ahead.