*Let it be known, before you read this blog post, that I personally have absolutely no intention or inclination to ever study anything again in my whole entire life – this doesn’t mean that I don’t want to learn or that I don’t want to become more knowledgeable! Let it also be known that this blog post is in no way meant to slate anybody who feels the opposite, who has the drive to study further and who has serious aspirations to obtain more certificates, degrees or diplomas – each man to himself!!*

Let me start off by putting you in the picture of my relationship with studying. At school (from primary school all the way up to matric), I was always trying to achieve the best marks. My studying method totally sucked, something that affected me more so in varsity than it did at school, but I got by quite well during my schooling years. I never quite reached the A class but I thought two A’s and four B’s as my matric result quite impressive and I actually still do! Come varsity and I totally sunk. This had absolutely nothing to do with my lifestyle or my increased freedom (I was that girl who hardly ever partied and was content just to sit in my room reading or chatting to friends when we didn’t have lectures [read: nerd]) and probably everything to do with my studying method. I’ve always studied “parrot fashion”. I can tell you what page something comes from, what section of the page it’s on and what picture corresponds to it. I can tell you where it’s referenced again, who explained it to me and when the first time I’d ever heard about it was. I cannot, however, for the life of me (or so it was in varsity) understand it fully and I’m 100% convinced that this was largely why I battled so much in varsity. Add to the fact that reading a textbook cannot be done as fast as reading a novel can (funny how that works hey!)…the combination of these saw me studying for long hours – often pulling “all nighters” (for those of you who have never pulled an all nighter, here’s a warning, DON’T!!) – and barely scraping through my tests and exams. In fact, prior to going to varsity, I’d never ever failed a test. Okay, wait…once in standard 2, I did fail a test but that was only because we were learning negatives in maths which totally went over my head. So, instead of saying 5 minus 9 is negative 4 as an example, I just swapped the numbers around and made it 9 minus 5 giving me positive answers for all the questions – fail!! At any rate, my first test in varsity was maths (MAM102 for those who went to UCT and struggled through this course as much as I did, I felt your pain too) for which I achieved an impressive 48% result. No, I’m not being sarcastic. I really did feel that 48% was impressive at the time because even though it was a fail, I was seriously expecting half of that, that’s how much I battled with the course. Test 2, 3 and 4 didn’t disappoint me however in matching my marks to my expectations – 21%, 20% and 20% again – at least I was consistent?! Yup, that’s how I rolled with maths. I barely scraped through the year and varsity from then on was a serious uphill battle right up until the end. In fact, at the end of my fourth year (after switching from a Business Science degree to a BCom – yup, Maths killed me that much!)…my fourth year not being my last, believe it or not!, I recall my dad telling me that maybe I should just throw in the towel and forget about it but no, I forged along and after 5years, I finally managed to obtain my degree. I did an accounting degree hoping to keep my options option to go the CA route but after 5years of pure torture, I decided that I was in no way prepared to study any further and so I got my work on and years later, I still haven’t studied anything further.

Which brings me to my current state. Mum of a toddler, another baby on the way, still no desire to study. Hubby is trying to encourage me as he has studied a few things since varsity and is planning to study something else next year but I really have absolutely no aspirations in this department and after not having studied for such a long time, I can’t even begin to comprehend the mind shift that it would take to study for even one test and how I’d make time with two kids to even open a book!

A colleague of mine received his CFA results yesterday. He passed level 1 last year and wrote level 2 this year. The results came out worldwide yesterday and so after having heard nothing from him yesterday evening, I decided to send him a message this morning assuming that he’d failed. Let’s be honest – if he’d have passed, he’d surely have been spreading his good news like wild fire??!!! So he replied saying that he’d failed but it wasn’t the fail so much that had upset him. What upset him was that he’d got between 65 and 70% and he’d STILL failed. Now, those of you who know about CFA will know that there’s no pass result set in stone, it depends on the overall results and every year, whoever the markers are decide on the actual pass rate. You’re never given back your actual result (you’re just told the “band” that you fell into) and you’re never told what the pass mark actually is. The pass rate this year was 42% overall which perhaps goes to show how tough this course really is! I know that it’s notorious, especially level 2, for being a real toughie.

At any rate, this got me thinking while I was on my way into work about all this studying stuff and how important it really is in the big wide world. I mean, yes, the certificate for passing something like level 2 will stand you in real good stead (especially if you work in the financial industry) and will probably guarantee you a salary hike, but what’s all in a certificate? And what’s this thing about having to pass with an exceptionally high pass rate. I for one can assure you that had the pass marks at varsity been above 70% or if we weren’t aware of the pass rate before writing, I’d never have obtained my degree. In fact, I probably would have pulled out in year 1 without even blinking an eyelid. I recall always going into my exam (and I know that every.single.person I knew did the same thing) full well knowing what mark I needed to pass. Probably not the best approach but at least I had a feel for whether I have a good chance of passing or not once I’d left the exam room!

I guess that studying is just one of those things where it’s different strokes for different folks. As I’ve already said, I for one have no aspirations to study anything further. I am definitely not very career focused (I’m not aspiring to be the next CEO here) and hey, I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with that. I also have no desire to be a stay at home mum. In fact, I cannot imagine never working another day in my life and I think that even if we were in the fortunate position where I was able to be at home every day, I’d probably still choose to work but to study further – nah, it’s just not for me!!


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