It’s been 4 years since I graduated and left the institute of higher learning I called home. The place where I gained valuable knowledge about the fundamentals of my chosen career, made life-long friendships, and slammed 30 beers on the weekends. Since then, I’ve fostered a select few of those relationships, cut back on drinking (marginally), and can count on one hand the number of books I have used since then.
In the upcoming fall, I plan to sit for an exam that will decide if I get licensed as a professional in my field. The license would mean more money, more responsibility, and open up a ton of opportunities for me. There is just one problem: I have to pass the exam first. It is an 8-hour marathon worse than any SAT and worse than its predecessor I passed back in college.
Recently I purchased the study materials for it in an attempt to just study at my own pace, but I’ve quickly learned that this whole school thing is not for me anymore. Never in a million years could I go back to learning in a structured environment. Every time I think I am going to study, I think of all the stuff that needs to get done around the house, the golf I could be playing, the water I could be swimming in, the beers I could be drinking, and then the next thing I know the books haven’t even been cracked and I’m waking up regretting not being responsible with my time.
First of all, I definitely should not have picked the SUMMER to be my exam prep period. All time worse decision I’ve made other than last week when I didn’t get guac on my Chipotle bowl. The exam is offered in October and April. Instead of waiting a few months, I will be sitting inside June-September every week night while my buddies are busting out a quick 9 after work or grabbing some beers on a patio somewhere. Piss poor planning on my part. If I registered to April’s exam, I would have had a built-in excuse for not doing shit all winter when someone asks me to do something – “Colder than a witches tit out there and I gotta study, sorry.”
Secondly, trying to pick up a book full of practice problems involving concepts I haven’t seen, let alone used, since freshmen year of college is fucking impossible. They say you need four years of progressive experience in your field before you’re allowed to sit for the exam, which makes sense on paper but that’s a pretty tough deal. I use the same formulas, same concepts, and read the same code books for every single project I work on. Yet, this test will have a half-dozen questions, of varying degrees of difficulty, in over a dozen areas. On the template for the exam, I counted one section with 6 questions I’ll have a solid understanding of given my field of work. Not liking these odds. Haven’t touched an exam in four years and now I am expected to pass the hardest one I’ve ever taken? Tight.
If only this bullshit was structured like the BAR or a CPA where you can take that shit as soon as you graduate. Hell, I’d even be willing to give up a couple of my weekends to attend a conference with a test at the end for the certification because then the knowledge would be fresh in my head. A Master’s someday wasn’t more than a twinkle in my eye and a PhD wasn’t even in the picture, but this process has taught me one thing so far – I’m not cut out for going back to school..
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