Starting college during a pandemic

Ross, 18, a Jigsaw volunteer from Offaly, talks about starting college this year.

Like any young person, or any person at all in Ireland in 2020, it’s safe to say life has been anything but normal since March. Going from “schools are closed for two weeks”, to finding out that the culmination of 12 years of schoolwork, the Leaving Cert, was now cancelled, was an emotional rollercoaster.

The relief from finally getting a concrete answer gave room to thinking more about college and my concerns about third-level education in the world’s current state.


Ask Jigsaw: Worried about back to school

I’m worried about going back to school I’m going into leaving cert but I keep getting really spaced out and cant focus on what’s around me. I’m worried that it will happen in class or exams.


Hi Anonymous,

It’s been a really difficult few months school-wise. It can’t have been easy doing 5th year from home. It’s totally understandable that you’ve been finding it hard to focus on what’s around you. With normal routines out the window, it can be especially hard to concentrate or be productive  in your home environment. It’s a space we’d usually use to switch off, but suddenly have to use it to study also.

Ask Jigsaw: Bad news about my dog

We got bad news about my dog’s health today and I don’t know how I’m going to cope without him. I don’t know if this is the right place to type this but, I just felt like maybe, but he has helped me through so much I just don’t want to go through something tough without him. He’s like my therapy dog and I don’t want him to leave me


Hi there CRB2010,

Thanks for getting in touch. I’m so sorry to hear about your dog’s ill health. Pets become such a big part of the family so it’s understandable that you are feeling that way. It sounds like your dog really brings you a lot of comfort and has helped you through tough times which is lovely!


Ask Jigsaw: Difficult friendship

I had a friend and we were so close but all of a sudden he turned nasty towards me with no reason that I was aware of. It got to a stage were I got really really sad and had dangerous thoughts in my head but I managed to tell my family and they brought it to the schools attention.

 My family and Boyfriend hates this person after what happened and doesn’t want me anywhere near them. But I miss the friendship still and would like to be friends with this person again but I’m afraid will the same thing happen again and I’d also be risking my relationship with my boyfriend and risking my feelings and mental health getting damaged again.

I don’t know how to deal with these emotions… do u have any advice for this situation? Thanks

-Number 5

Hello Number 5,

Friendships are complex and there’s no right or wrong way to navigate them. So thank you for your honesty in sharing your situation.

Sometimes, the closer a person is to us, the easier it is for them to hurt us. It sounds like the unexpected nastiness of your friend confused you, and knocked your self-esteem. When someone we trust treats us badly, we can often start to question our own self-worth. We might start having negative or dangerous thoughts, as you’ve described.

I’m glad that your boyfriend and family were there to remind you that that the friend’s behaviour was not right. You deserve support to handle this.

Ask Jigsaw: Best friend left me

What should I do if my best friend left me and I don’t have anyone else to talk to and at home I don’t feel good enough to talk to someone about it. School starts soon and I don’t want to have no friends.


Hi Hannah,

I’m sorry that you feel like you are on your own with no one to talk to. Friendships make us feel connected and understood. So when they end, it’s normal to feel lonely or sad. It’s hard to accept but we have no control over our friends’ actions, so if they end the friendship, we can feel helpless.