This week was leaving cert results time and yesterday over 55,500 students anxiously collected them. It got me thinking about my leaving cert experience, and yes, I can remember back that far (it was only in the mid 80’s 😉 ). It’s easy for us ‘wise’ adults, who have many years life experience under our belts, to impart encouraging advise to today’s recipients but when you are 17 or 18 years old, you just think it’s the end of the world if you don’t get the points you need, don’t you?

Art college was where I wanted to go after secondary school and back then I needed 2 honors (real honors, as in honors in a higher level subjects), 3 passes and a very good portfolio. It took me three years to get into NCAD, partly because of the standard of my portfolio and partly because of the illusive second ‘real’ honor.

I can still remember that disappointed sick feeling when I realised I didn’t get the results for art college the first time, so I took a longer way around to get in and spent two terrific years in Ballyfermot Senior College on the way (now known as the Ballyfermot College of Further Education). See, there is always more than one road (me being philosophical 😉 )

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t fail my leaving cert the first time and I was more than capable of getting better results, it’s just, well …. I guess I could have studied a bit harder. Back in the olden days you could choose to re-sit one or two subjects the following years later to improve your grades and that’s what I did.

So, what was I doing instead of studying hard I hear you ask, well writing letters (that’s another days blog) and doodling of course (I was easily distracted). I just loved to doodle, if I wasn’t drawing in my copy books it was on the edges of pages in my school books, on my pencil case or on the front of my folder.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not condone messing and doodling when you should be studying, but I think we can all understand that it is hard to study for any exam and it’s easy to get distracted. 😉

Below are some of my doodles and drawings from school that I found in a keepsake box at my parents house.

Doodling/drawing other students during study period in school

Doodling/ drawing other students during study period in school (circa 1985)

Or was I doodling during an exam?

Was I really doodling during an exam here, I can’t remember? (circa 1985)

Framed Caricatures make unique gifts. Contact Carmel at for more information.