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Brendan Kennelly for Leaving Cert English: Begin

"Begin" by Brendan KennellyYou may also like: 2019 Guide to Leaving Cert English. Full notes on Brendan Kennelly will be made available to everyone who has the 2019 guide, free of charge, as soon as they are ready.

Summary: a philosophical reflection on starting something new again and again communicated through the description of a morning walk across the Grand Canal in Dublin.

Style features:
anaphora (1) (highlighted in bold) adds a sense of determination as does the repetition of the word “begin” throughout the poemenjambment highlights the never ending need to begin again imperative tone, “begin again” is an encouraging command to never give up alliteration e.g. “dying in dark / determination” enhances the imageryreference to familiar places, “Pembroke Road” near the Aviva Stadium in Dublin 4, make the poem more accessibleimagery appeals to multiple senses: “summoning birds”, “sight of the light”, “roar of morning traffic”, “crying birds in the sudden rain”, “branches…

Should I use the CAO change of mind facility?

Here are six good reasons to change your mind :

1. You realised that you only put down a certain course because you thought that you'd never get the points for the one you really want:

"I won't get Law, so I will put down Business and maybe Commerce".

Imagine you wanted to ask someone out, but thought that there is a possibility they won't be interested. You don't just ask out the person sitting next to them, right!?* The same logic applies here - only it's a lot less awkward.

There is a serious cost to choosing something that you don't actually want. Three of four years is a long time to be committing to something you don't really like.

Getting out of a course you don't really want involves a lot of administrative work, it is expensive (you will have to pay fees for the first year of the degree you really want). If you were worried about societal pressure - well, it's only going to get worse ("What? Really? He's dropping out?"). 

Some people put it this way: it's a "Hell yeah", or a "No". It's not always quite as clear as that when you're 17 or 18 years of age, but try to not put down things knowing that your heart isn't in it.

There is absolutely no real disadvantage to having the high points course up first. You may just get it! Lots of people who get their dream course go around for the following six months saying "I wasn't counting on getting this", so don't throw away your ticket. The only (sort of) disadvantage is that if you don't get it in the end, you will know that you didn't get your first choice - but that's a level of vanity that's hard to live with anyway!

It's different if you have some other masterplan and are using course A as an alternative route to a more desired course B. Even still, the above points may apply.

CAO change of mind facility

2. You realised there is an error in your choices (wrong institution, wrong course, etc)

Double check everything. Don't get your Mam, your brother or the cat to do it. There will be absolutely no exceptions made by the CAO later.

3. You realised that you only put down a course because someone else was putting pressure on you or you were following a fad: 

"Anna is doing <whatever course>, so I will do it too." 

Some people think that the course you do in college determines how the rest of your life goes. Others righteously reject that notion. The truth is that it doesn't determine the rest of your life, but it certainly has a massive effect on the next three, four or even five years. So choose well. You will be the one peeling yourself out of bed when it's still dark to go to lectures, not your aunt - and let Anna on to do her thing.

good reasons to use change of mind CAO facility

4. You found out more about the courses you've put down and no longer want to pursue one or more of them

A close friend of the author changed her mind and excluded RCSI from her list because the way that RCSI treat EU vs non-EU status was different to how Trinity and UCD did it, at least at the time. It's very important to get this right because while not getting the points will void your selection, other things such as the exact subjects you did, EU status, etc will not - and you won't be able to go to the CAO and ask them to change.

Another friend changed from veterinary to medicine at the last minute as he realised that while he likes cats and dogs (and people), he didn't like farms and the smell of cow product. Wise decision to change.

Having said that, just because you heard Mary down the road say that Johnny is having an awful time with his assignments in <whatever course>, doesn't mean you have to pay attention to information of questionable quality. 

5. You found out about another course that you would rather do

There are virtually countless options, so if you only found out about it this late, that's ok. Make sure you research it well. No impulse buys please.

6. You found out more about the courses you've put down and decided you want to change the order of preference

This is a little tricky and frankly there is a lot of guess work involved even if you have researched everything really well. Who knows how you will like a course until you actually do it? Here, you just have to trust your judgement. By and large, most colleges allow people to move between courses in the first few weeks subject to numbers and meeting the criteria, but that's not something you should count on.

Some final points to consider:

  • It's a good idea to talk to other people before you finalise your choices - just for a sanity check.
  • There is no fee for changing your mind.
  • You can change your mind up until 17:15 on the 1st July [always check directly with the CAO]
  • You may list new courses, except the restricted ones.
  • Once you've changed your mind, the previous version is invalidated. It's like changing your will!

* unless you are in Copper's. If you are, they are fair game.

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