A six year flashback of life as a CA aspirant
This blog hasn't been very active in a long while because I kept on postponing to write. The sudden gush of inspiration you feel when you get an idea to write suddenly wanes away whenever I try to make time for it. The next series of posts will be more personal (loosely edited) mostly revolving around things I have learnt over all these years.
I hope you like them :)
To those who are new to this blog, I am a Chartered Accountancy aspirant from India. I joined the course in 2016 right after high school.
As a CA aspirant I have always felt this HURRY, the hurry to go out and come back early to study, the hurry to finish chores to study, the hurry to not waste time in order to study.
I distinctly remember I started my coaching for CPT the next day when my school exams ended. I was overwhelmed with the hype around how difficult CA is and I didn't want to miss any milestones. Could I have used a break? For sure!
Now that I recall, I could have used a break so many times during the journey but as the mantra for CA goes - YOU DON'T STOP!
Now that I am done with all the three levels, it's getting difficult for me to adjust to normal life - life where you sleep for more than six hours, where you can make plans without a time deadline in your head, where you are enjoying things without any guilt. Isn't that a luxury?
CA bereft me of this luxury. I don't think I paid enough heed to it all throughout this journey that I could have used a break.
One thing that I will always thank my younger self is to make the decision to join a regular college. I don't think I would have been the same person if it wasn't for college. I had three friends in college - close ones - all throughout three years. Two of them were pursuing CA but left it to pursue other things after college. I have always sought to keep my group small with people I truly love and care I lot about. Getting the right reciprocation from the right set of friends did wonders. I had the most happiest times of my life in college.
Was it easy? OH HELL NO!
Getting used to working in larger teams while maintaining good grades, while focusing on CA, while making time to explore Delhi, while making time for friends, while making time for travel, while making time for attending classes, I genuinely don't know how did I do all of that.
But I know what made a huge difference was having people around. Ambitious women. Non-CA friends, who talk about philosophy, art and books half of the time. I miss that energy now. Energy that I had as an 18 year old.
Life changed when I got a rank in CA IPCC. Recognition changes so many things. But my mind wanted to be in a HURRY, so I chose to pursue CFA. Uptil now I have given a professional exam every year (except COVID), which is insane if I think about it.
Life changed for the better after college. Adulting hit me hard though! The most stressful time I have had is right after college, staying at a new place, managing 2+ hours of travel, making meals for myself, coming back from office at 8-9, having a shot of coffee and studying till 11.
Sleeping on my books.
All this while I did not pay much heed to working out or engaging in any physical activity because I thought I never had the time to. WHICH WAS SO LAME!
I changed my schedule, I started seeing myself as a responsible adult who wakes up early, studies, works out, cooks breakfast (take time to plate and shoot it, while my roommate kept shouting to not get late), reads newspaper in the metro, listens to podcasts, works hard in office, comes back cooks dinner and clean dishes.
I lived in a HURRY yet again. Making time to do laundry, while making time to clean, to get house chores done, to explore new things and read. I had the most splendid time doing all of this and I loved this HURRY. I was getting things done, improving on my running speed (running recklessly no matter how cold Delhi winters are), I loved the adrenaline.
I always knew food is my passion but I was filled with joy to finally get the time to spend time on styling, plating and trying new recipes, inviting friends over for weekend and learning quick meals for everyday meals.
Then COVID happened! Worked from home for >1.5 years in Statutory Audit while sulking at home about how boring my home town is and reading a book every week. That year changed me immensely. Saving on travel time and dedicating it to reading and working out, almost seemed like transforming into a new person.
Was there a day I wasn't studying? No. Never!
I liked keeping myself busy all this while to not sulk on COVID more hence I don't even regret it. I missed office badly. Then came a shimmering opportunity to start Industrial Training in Mumbai. A new team, new job profile and a new office. It was off to a great start.
I was surrounded by seasoned professionals, perfecting my PPT skills and researching hundreds of links everyday.I absolutely loved working in this profile unlike Audit. I was living in a shared accommodation with other office colleagues, a guest house filled with people. But it wasn't the same energy like before.
Being surrounded with people seemed fun but I hardly had time to interact with anyone. The long travel hours for work while watching a class in the bus (sleeping half of the time), running this blog, trying to steal time to work out, it was HECTIC. I lost a lot of weight. I barely had any time to sleep but I was living through peaks.
The peak of chilling on weekend, the peak of travelling, the peak of exploring Mumbai while feeling sad through all the troughs. Coming back to a huge apartment, living alone, it used to get sad and lonely but thankfully I had a few friends around. I kept doubting myself for all the decisions I was making, which class to take, how to finish subjects before leaves, how to plan CA Finals, whether CA is for me, everything!
I felt burdened and miserable. COVID hit again and the tenure ended with working from home. It was time to face the elephant in the room - CA Finals. I was pumped to start the prep but that waned away in a few days. I had a lot going on personally and so I decided to take therapy sessions every week. It did wonders for me. It opened so many doors to my behavioral patterns, how I kept silencing and criticizing my inner child always, how I never took the luxury of taking a break without feeling guilty.
CA Final preparation is more miserable than the exam period. It makes you question yourself everyday. For four months, I watched sunrise every morning. Trying to somehow fit practicing and revising everything on time. IT WAS TOO MUCH!
The course stopped making sense to me. At one point I was just reading hundreds of pages in a day only to cram enough to write in the exam. A degree which is supposed to make you smarter was making me dumber. Do you feel the same or have felt the same?
I was doing it because I wanted it to end. For the first time in my life, i did not feel like studying. For a pyscho who can study all day, it was a revelation for me. It was also validation that maybe I am not the right fit for this course.
I have worked hard every single day during these months, barely taking a break. I was pushed myself every single day to get up and study for more than 12 hours. Taking a coffee shot before writing the exam, dreading every paper, maintaining my sanity during those 15 days. Nothing has ever tested me more, both mentally and physically.
With the result awaited in a few days, I wanted to write this diary entry to myself to remind me that I worked hard. Was the hustle worth it? Maybe. Maybe not.
Will I blame myself for it if I don't clear? I might but I want to come back and read this to be able to wake up and face another day. It might change my life or I might have to make a schedule again. Uncertainty is a bitch. It makes you second guess everything.
I am thankful to all the CA aspirants who have been connected to this blog and all the other content that I publish. Thanks for thinking that I am worthy enough to make a difference in your lives.
Thanks to all those who wished me well for the exams. I might not be able to share how I feel or reply for a few days if I don't clear. In case I get any text asking for the result, I will ignore it only for the sake of keeping my mental sanity. I hope you will understand.
There are a million other things that I wanted to write but I guess this is it for now. I will try to focus on more topical aspects from next time but I don't want to hurry anymore.
Wishing you a breezy monsoon,