This week, around 14,000 students from across Northern Ireland will be pinning all of their hopes on the most important moment in the academic calendar: ‘A-Level results day.’
It’s the date that is feared and anticipated in equal measure as many students anxiously wait to hear how they’ve performed.
For one Derry student Niall Keenan, this summer will be a very challenging time as there will be more than one major moment in his life; waiting for A-Level results and preparing for the Electric Ireland All-Ireland GAA Football Minor Championship semi-final against Kerry on Sunday 23rd August at Croke Park.
Leading an intense lifestyle and following a tough training regime, Niall Keenan, a Derry Minor strikes the right work; life; balance as he prepares for a career in Chemical Engineering alongside the unique opportunity to represent his County at the Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Semi-Final.
Niall comments on keeping motivated and staying calm ahead of the major upcoming game and results day. He said, “I’ve always been interested in STEM subjects at school and studying Chemistry, Maths and Physics at A-Level has inspired me to consider a career in engineering. It’s hard to believe that I will be getting my A-Level results on Thursday, but I’ve worked hard and hopefully I’ll get the grades required to study Chemical Engineering at Queen’s University Belfast.
“It has been a tough year balancing school work and revision for exams alongside a strict football training regime of two to three sessions per week. My advice to others who will be facing the same in coming months is to plan ahead; the key to succeeding is time management and sticking to a schedule to alleviate stress. Playing at Minor level is a huge commitment but being part of a close knit team with many other colleagues who are also studying for A-Levels or GCSEs was reassuring and it was a comfort to know that you weren’t going through exams alone.
“Knowing what you had to do each evening after school meant that there was no time for procrastinating, but at weekends it was important to find time for training, studying and also making time to catch up with friends.
Niall continues, “The buzz and atmosphere at the quarter final against Longford was incredible so I am really looking forward to the semi-final which will be my first opportunity to step out onto the pitch at Croke Park.
“It’s a major occasion for all of the Minor players but the Derry Minor team is feeling confident, we’re ready to take on Kerry and fans can follow the action via #ThisIsMajor. It’s a huge honour to represent Derry at inter-county level and over the next two weeks I will be focusing on not only taking the next step in my academic career but also keeping my head in the game.”