The Struggle That Is Studying As A Post Graduate

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CPA Exam

The sun is out on another beautiful Saturday afternoon and there isn’t a cloud in the sky on this picturesque summer day. All across the city, people are flocking to the beach, partaking in some day drinking at a patio bar, or simply enjoying this nice weather that only graces the Midwest for about three months a year tops. So where can I be found on this gorgeous day? Indoors, obviously. Because I’ve decided to start studying for the CPA exam.

Stupidly, I’ve decided to take on this endeavor during the summer when the weather is really nice and everyone else on Earth is outside doing something. That decision was made by the same brilliant mind that decided to put off taking this exam for two years after graduation instead of starting to prepare for it during my last semester of college when I had ample time on my hands to do so. In order to keep myself from completely losing my mind (and all the information I’m trying to retain along with it), I make a concerted effort to avoid sitting by any windows while studying.

I either find a cubicle desk at the library or go into a designated “Study room” in order to isolate myself from everything. As psychopathic as it sounds, I study more efficiently when my surroundings closely resemble a mental ward. Even the slightest glance at the outside world causes an overwhelming case of FOMO that completely derails my concentration.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m studying for the CPA exam, which is an absolute bitch of a test. Often times I find myself oscillating between understanding the material really well and struggling terribly with it on any given day. On this particular day, the material seems impossible to understand and I am completely bombing my sets of practice questions. Between this and only getting a 65 on the first section I took (for the CPA you need to score at least a 75 to pass each section of the exam, and there are four sections you have to take) my confidence has reached a new low and my frustrations are skyrocketing.

Self-doubt begins to creep on. “Am I really this dumb? How in the world did I manage to graduate with two accounting degrees from Illinois? Or get and hold a job? If this is any indication, I must be terrible at accounting?” When you’re studying for an exam like this, the Scaries aren’t exclusive to Sundays. They come at you at any time and they are relentless. Someone send help.

Sometimes I’ll take little breaks or get distracted for a while and peruse my various social media feeds. It helps break up the monotony and helps prevent me from turning into Jack from The Shining. For this break, I’ll take a look at some Snapchat stories. Let’s see, here’s one of people getting drunk on a rooftop. Here’s another one with selfies at a baseball game. And here is one full of Snaps taken on a boat with girls in bikinis sailing around Lake Michigan. I think that’s enough Snapchat for now. Any more and I’ll start bashing the corner of my textbook into my skull until I bleed out. Hey, I should try that! Maybe that’ll help transfer some of the material into my brain, like an osmosis effect.

I tell myself this will all be worth it. That this short-term sacrifice will benefit me immensely in the long run. I have plenty of people in my life, including my parents, who are a testament to that. But damn, it’s hard. A weekend studying is most emphatically NOT how I want spend my free time after a week of work. I realize that no one is forcing me to do this and I can just stop if I wanted to, but I can’t allow myself to do that.

I’m fully aware that nothing good ever comes easy. Part of me just wants to punt this responsibility to Future Chris and let him deal with the consequences so I can go out now and do whatever I want. However, the other part of me is prevailing in knowing that Future Chris needs this now so that he has more opportunities to better his life and the lives of those who will hopefully be around him.

Shoutout to everyone else in this situation right now. Whether you’re studying to become a Certified Public Accountant like me, preparing for the Bar, or taking on any other sort of professional examination, you’re not alone. We’re all struggling and it fucking sucks, but we can do it.

You’re smart and hard-working enough to have gotten to whatever point you’re at now, and you’re sure as hell capable of getting through your struggle to succeed and accomplish your goals. Now go out there, decline any event invitations you have, tell all your friends you can’t hang out, and hit those books hard! Oh, god, that’s so depressing. Please send help.

Image via Shutterstock

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