Mike Ross recalls blind panic of forgetting to turn final exam page during Leaving Cert
Today marks the start of the Irish Leaving Certificate - a set of exams that regular strikes fear into individuals the nation wide.
Students across the country handed in their answer sheets for English Paper 1 this morning and either fervently talked and fretted about it or walked from the examinations hall and washed it from their consciousness.
It is 17 years since Ireland prop Mike Ross sat his Leaving Cert exams, but his recollections are as fresh as an appropriately crisp simile.
He tells SportsJOE, 'You live in a bit of a bubble, around exam time, and find it hard to see the world outside. You are told, and often tell yourself, that this is the biggest exam you will ever take; that your results will define the rest of your life.
'As important as they are, I have found that some folks that did terribly at them [the Leaving Cert] have gone on to great things.'
Ross continues, 'My memories are that the weather always seemed to improve the moment you stepped inside the exam hall, and writing until my hands fell off.'
The Leinster forward's best subjects were English [where he received an A grade] and Biology [B+]. He recalls struggling with the Irish papers but recovering to pick up decent points through the three science subjects he chose - the aforementioned Biology, Chemistry and Applied Maths, which incorporated Physics.
'I was down to do Honours in Applied Maths but had one look at the paper when I went in. I didn't like them one bit so I took the Ordinary paper. It was a calculated risk but it paid off as I got an A.'
Describing himself as thorough, Ross was one of those cursed upon individuals that would often raise his arm for extra answer sheets. 'I would never stick around until the end for the sake of it,' he says, 'but I wanted to avoid the blind panic that usually came - or it did with past exams - from forgetting to flip the last page of an exam only to find more questions.'
Ross was interviewed as part of the #daddyandme awareness campaign for Anam Cara, a national voluntary support organisation set up by bereaved parents to support newly bereaved parents throughout Ireland.