After I took my FAR exam I didn’t take any time off. I jumped into restudying REG the next day. I wasn’t sure how to restudy…I had 5 weeks. Do I watch all 40 hours of lecture again? That would probably take me 2-2.5 weeks leaving me a max of 3 weeks for MCQ’s and studying. I didn’t think that was enough time, so I decided to rewatch the tax lectures, and just plan on reviewing the business law stuff.
First things first, I bought Wiley Test Bank.
Second things second, I gave up coffee (!!!) and deactivated my Facebook.
Giving up coffee stunk. People always asked, “why would you give up coffee NOW?” But my reason was simple really. I was burnt out by the time I got home from work, so I would make coffee to get through the evening, then I wouldn’t be able to sleep, so I would get a terrible night sleep, waking up tired and needing coffee. Vicious cycle I tell you! It took about 2 weeks to get off caffeine, but it ultimately was worth it. I would have one grande half-caf Americano each Sunday morning during my regular power study session. That was it. I probably drank 48oz of green or white tea each day as a replacement. (even as I write this I have my handy dandy tea cup right next to me). The one benefit is that when I did have caffeine my brain would go high time and I got a ton done. Good arsenal for exam day!
Overall, studying was better the second time around, concepts I was 50/50 on before, became extremely understandable. Overall I had a much better grasp of the material, compared to the first time around. I still knew Regulation was going to be tough. REG is totally tricky with all the silly little miscellaneous tax rules, but I had much more confidence the second time around.
I made my own flashcards and this helped a ton. A few days before my test, (my mom and dad had the kids), and Mike and I walked every night for about 90 minutes and he quizzed me on flashcards. He of course had no idea what he was asking me, but it is a great review to have to explain the answer to someone, out loud, thinking on your feet. I really think it helped.
And then 2 days before my Regulation retake, my FAR score showed up in my inbox. I was still debating whether or not I should look at it, or wait until after REG. However, having it sit there in my inbox was way too tempting. Mike was home and said he’d check for me. When he didn’t get back to me I knew…
It was pouring rain. I ran through the parking lot to my car after work. Sitting there in the rain, I opened the email. FAR: 72 FAIL.
The next morning my work friend showed up with candy for me (she knows me too well!) and a nice card reminding me this wouldn’t last forever. She had been through it. She had to retake one exam twice and another 3 times. She knew. Friends are good. I forced myself to write down my feelings from that day. Here’s what I had:
I’m pissed off. I’ve poured my heart and soul into studying and have come up just short 2 times in a row. Twice. I want to throw something. I want to slap anyone who says ‘you’re not done yet?’ I want to scream. My brain is tired, my body is worn out. I am exhausted both physically and mentally. I spend hours upon hours each week sacrificing time with my husband and kids, my house is a mess, projects around the house lay undone, I don’t remember what it’s like to live without a constant cloud of stress hanging over my body.
But then I stand up. I think about my options, and I know stopping isn’t one of them. That might be the thing that pisses me off the most. I just can’t stop. I have to do this. I have to sacrifice deeper, study harder, and pour more time and energy into this.
I’m doing it for them. For my family. For myself. No one said it was supposed to be easy. In fact I knew, I knew, the opposite was true. I knew that this was going to be the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. I knew that I’d have to cut deep, to dig down, to give every ounce of energy I have for this goal. I underestimated the impact it would have on others. I underestimated the sacrifice.
But I know. I know that if I stop pushing, then I’m afraid of finishing. My heart is still in it. If the passion is still there, I’m not stopping.
I’ve succumbed to the fact that people think I’m crazy, putting myself through such torture, and they are right. There is a little bit crazy in there. But somewhere along the line maybe everyone has confused comfort with happiness. I am more engaged with the pain and misery sets in. I can do this.
And with that, one of my favorite quotes:
Most people never get there. They're afraid or unwilling to demand enough of themselves and take the easy road, the path of least resistance. But struggling and suffering, as I now saw it, were the essence of a life worth living. If you're not pushing yourself beyond the comfort zone, if you're not constantly demanding more from yourself--expanding and learning as you go--your choosing a numb existence. Your denying yourself an extraordinary trip.”
Wow. Nothing like some serious pushing of myself. I tear up as I read that though. I was so open and raw. I had 2 days to pull it together for REG.
I did. The test was demanding, as it should be, but I felt good about it. And 11 days later. I got the sweet, sweet, news that I passed. Here is what I wrote on that sweet day:
It seem appropriate to write down my feelings after receiving a passing score, just like I did when I received a failing FAR score. I just found out yesterday that I passed Regulation, it was my second face off. I am thrilled, no, I am ecstatic. You cry when you fail and you cry when you pass, that’s just how it goes.
I think the thing that I am most in awe of is this feeling of shock, like I am somehow managing to do this. I am working full time, being a wife, a mother to 2 preschoolers, and somehow staying on top of this studying thing. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely don’t want to make it sound easy, it’s so so hard, but I’m doing it. I’m doing it suddenly I can hardly believe what I am capable of. That is what I’m most proud of. I’m most proud of the fact that I ‘show up’ every day. When people (specifically those who understand the demand associated with these tests) ask me how I do it, I tell them, I.Show.Up. I SHOW UP DANG IT! All those lunch hours, nights, and weekends, when THE ONLY THING I want to do is sleep, or watch TV, or do absolutely anything brainless, paid off because I took out those books and I gave it my all.
I have given up so much for these tests. Time with my husband and kids, I’ve given up friends, no birthday parties, picnics, weekend get-togethers. I’ve given up Facebook, Pinterest, blogging, internet, TV, movies. I’ve given up coffee. I’ve been skirting by doing what absolutely is necessary. Is it worth it? It absolutely is.
I have begun to understand that sometimes, the pursuit of your goal is more important than the goal itself. Immersing yourself so deeply, and with heartfelt intensity, continually improving, and never giving up, is fulfillment. That is success.
3 down, one more to go.