A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work. -Colin Powell
In 2011, I did not know what true determination meant. I purchased software that did not suit my needs. I studied when it was convenient for me. I went into the exam utterly unprepared, and the score reflected it. I was devastated. I had invested all that time and money, only to achieve a failing score.
I decided I needed more experience and essentially gave up. Unexpectedly, after my first failed attempt, my career finally started moving in the direction I desired.
In 2014, I was able to land an internal auditor position at the company I had been working for since 2011. Traveling for work was exciting. I got to meet different types of people. I racked up tons of travel points from different hotel and flight chains which I used for personal travel. One of my life goals is to visit all 50 states, and this job was helping me to achieve that goal! I even got to travel to Europe twice! The best thing about the new position was that management encouraged, yep, you guessed it, team members to have their CPA. With renewed vigor, I restarted my CPA journey.
Although motivated, I was still not achieving passing scores on my practice exams.
Feeling disheartened, I looked for encouragement on the internet and through YouTube discovered Roger CPA Review. After watching his lecture on capital leases versus operating leases, I was astonished that not only was I still AWAKE, but entertained and informed. I finally understood this topic and could not get that chant out of my mind, “TT, BPO, 75, or 90!” After binge watching all of the FAR related videos on Roger’s channel, I was thoroughly convinced that I needed to switch materials.
Switching materials provided me with a clean slate. I created a study schedule based on the nine month program. Unlike the previous failed attempts, I studied and reviewed daily. I took practice exams several times a week. Although I started to finally see improvements in my study life, I realized other areas of my life began to suffer; namely, my health and my marriage. Traveling definitely had its perks, but there were some downsides. I started to rapidly gain weight from eating out daily and neglecting my healthy habits. I had to wake up at 3AM to catch 5AM flights or spend my weekends flying to international destinations. I was spending less and less time with my husband, because home time meant prepping for next week’s travel and catching up on studies.
After failing FAR for the third time with a 70, I was close to a meltdown. I had to take a hard, long look at myself and reassess my situation. I felt like I was back in college, knowing that giving up on the CPA was not an option. I needed to make a change.
When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves.-Viktor E. Frankl
I joined some CPA candidate forums and realized I wasn’t the only one taking multiple exams and feeling overwhelmed. I realized I just needed to achieve balance. I needed to make sure I was eating healthy so that I was energized enough to study after work. I needed to exercise so that I had an outlet for my stress. I needed to make time for my husband so that I ensured our marriage and home life was strong and happy. I even needed to make time for friends and family so that I didn’t feel socially deprived. Balance seemed to be the key to my success, because shortly after those changes I passed FAR and AUD (on my first try)!
Maintaining my balance regarding the remaining two parts is still a challenge.
I imagine it is a skill I will work on for the rest of my life. But I am grateful for the opportunity to master this skill as I continue on my life journey. I feel that my future is very bright, because obtaining my CPA will not only demonstrate my knowledge about the accounting profession, but will be a testament to my determination. If you are studying for your CPA, I encourage you to never give up! It is difficult, but not impossible. Roger says in his lectures, “If you STUDY, you will PASS!” I am now a firm believer that hard work pays off. I cannot wait to add another proud moment to my life. The moment when I will be able to add those three letters after my name - CPA!
CPA Journey of the Week Series