You realize how hard it really was barely when you stop… and allow yourself to smell the roses. And allow yourself to feel.
With passing also the Audit and Assurance exam, I completed my Advanced Diploma in Accounting and Business, which is a degree equivalent in study time, effort and knowledge with a Bachelor Degree in the UK System: 9 exams (one I had exempted) plus one Ethics module. I passed all these exams from the first attempt, while studying all by myself, with no tutors or classes held by a study provider.
Another Degree, 100% in English, all alone, my first exams ever in English, with no English studied in school, 15 years later after the one in Commerce, Tourism and Services in my natal country.
How I really did it? Well, for the first 4 exams I studied in the evenings and weekends, after a full-time job, while playing Hearthstone. I didn’t even have a printed book, I had the study material only online. And having that game running with a timer, kept me alert and focused, otherwise I would fall asleep or even start daytime dreaming, while pretending to study.
And the last 4 exams I did them during maternity leave. By reading from my phone while breastfeeding and between changing diapers, by rehearsing the topics in my mind in the dark while putting baby to sleep at night, by begging and negotiating with my partner for few hours of baby-time in the weekends, by literally falling asleep over the book or over the computer at just 10 in the evening. By levels of stress you cannot imagine and I don’t wish to anyone. All by myself alone, each with a 700+ pages Study Book and an Exam Kit just as big, with the pencil, eraser and pocket calculator, being driven by all the emotional unfulfillment that I lived in the past 10+ years, trying to prove to myself that I CAN do it.
Last year in August when I had the exam for the Czech Language, for Permanent Residency (it was not mandatory in my case, but I wanted to do it, so I can have a motivation to study more), while waiting between the written test and the oral test, a part of me was wishing to fail it.
Why? Because when you succeed all the time nobody sees how hard it really is for you, they just see success and expect even more success. When I left from there at 4 in the afternoon with the “approved” paper in my hand, starving and wondering how I haven’t fainted yet without lunch, the last thing I was thinking was how proud I am… I was just feeling guilty and ashamed that I left baby at home with her dad, while he had also a full-time work day and now I am eating all alone at our favourite restaurant while waiting for the bus to take me back home.
When I wrote on Linkedin that I’m very proud about my part-qualified ACCA diploma, and describing some of the stuff I stumbled upon along the way, I was actually not feeling anything at all. There were no more feelings left in me. I got over 900 likes to that post and over 50 connection requests, majority from other ACCA students. I couldn’t feel anything.
Yes, I know I still have 4 exams until getting my full ACCA Qualification and I wanted to do also Strategic Business Leader in June, the first one from the equivalent of Master Degree level. I was very diligent, I had a lot of drive, I read almost all study book and made my own notes, in just one month. I had so much drive and, barely now I realize, so much naivety.
When I started to study the specimen exams and the previous exams for this paper, I decided to also type everything down from the answers, to learn the correct spelling for more words, and I had a shock with how much I actually have to write in this 4h exam and how much I have left to study to feel confident about passing.
Suddenly the idea of doing this exam was causing me claustrophobia. I was literally feeling like drowning and I couldn’t gasp for air. There are times when acknowledging the effort implied by a big step like this is bringing me higher energy, excitement and the necessary drive to jump on the other side, but this time I had to face the fact that the hole is just too big. Suddenly I lost all confidence on all the English I know and I had the impression that everything I know is wrong and everyone will be judging me only by my mistakes. By all the mistakes I did during all my life. And no achievement what so ever, as great and hard as it is, can erase those.
So yeah… I take a break for now. I had even booked the exam 2 days before the deadline, just to cancel it in the very last day…
Aside from moving baby into her own (still unfinished) room and closing breastfeeding (proudly celebrating 10 days now papani-free), changes which also caused me a lot of stress, I am planning to make even more significant ones in the days/month to come.
Just for my future reference, I am currently facing the transit of Saturn square my natal Ascendant + Venus + Saturn and Sun + Mercury + Venus + Uranus conjunct Descendant.