Monday, April 23, 2012

Review and Reward


I hit a major milestone on Saturday. 4 months of studying, thousands of pages of reading, and nearly 800 pages of notes/problems later, I finished the CFA materials.  It's kind of surreal because while I feel like I've been studying so hard for so long, the time has sort of flown by.

The test is 6 weeks from this past Saturday so I'll have 6 weeks to review- 1 more week than I had last year.  Which is good because there is SO MUCH INFORMATION to cram into my little brain.  I am really glad I have the experience of last year to reflect upon - I'm much calmer about it this year.  It all came together last year, I know it will come together this year... somehow.

There are 18 sections, broken down into 64 readings, further broken down into countless learning objectives, so I have my work cut out for me. I'll spend the first 3 weeks doing practice questions, section by section, then I'll spend the last 3 weeks doing practice exams.

I've honestly never worked so hard for anything in my life.  I mean, it's significantly harder than it was to work full-time and get my MBA part-time in the evenings.  But hopefully all of this hard work pays off and I pass - I will be devastated if I don't. (My family/friends will probably be devastated too because they are probably sick of me talking about the CFA  I don't blame them!)

Given how hard I have been working, I decided I needed to reward myself when this is all said and done.  So I have decided that once I pass the 3rd and final exam (I'm on the 2nd exam), I will reward myself with a trip to France!!  My plan is to run the Paris marathon and then make a 10-14 day trip out of it.  If I pass the last 2 levels on my first attempt, I will go to Paris in April of 2014!

It feels really good to have something exciting to work towards.  This whole process has not been easy, and I've gotten discouraged a lot along the way.  So on tough days when I am anxious over how I'll pack this all in my brain, I take my eyes off the stack of books/notes, and look at this.


Between that reward trip, and the career advancement benefit of being a CFA Charterholder, I know it will be worth all of this hard work and dedication.

What is the hardest thing you've worked towards?  Did you reward yourself at the end?  Before this experience, grad school was the hardest thing I worked towards and I rewarded myself with a trip to NY to visit friends.  I am all about trips as a reward!

26 comments:

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

Yay, so glad you got through all the materials and the test definitely seems much closer (in my mind) now!

The hardest thing I've worked towards is probably completing my first year teaching. I didn't reward myself though because I was just happy to make it out alive haha. My reward was not having to work as hard every year after that :) Grad school was tough too. Glad those are both over!

pinkflipflops said...

excellent reward idea! ;) good for you!

abbi said...

Rewarding yourself is a great idea and your reward sounds wonderful. I really can't imagine studying like that, it's hard for me to focus after being out of studying mode for so long!

Unprofessional said...

I LOVE this!!! Studying for a "career-defining" test can be such a grueling endeavor, but it sounds like you're gracefully sailing through!! Good luck!

AshleyD said...

Wooo, look at you go! I don't know that I've ever worked that hard for something... I mean, grad school was hard at times, but looking back, I know I could have worked harder.

I love the idea of rewarding myself with trips too. After I graduated with my master's, my friends and I took a cruise and it was so much fuN!

Carolina John said...

When I got my first major professional certification Kelley and I went out for a nice dinner. Doesn't sound like much, but about 2 months later I got my first job in the industry that doubled the money I was making as a temp before. That was in 1999. Now all of my accomplishments are things like Ironman, which is a trip and reward in itself.

Abby said...

Yay! Congratulations, Lisa! That is incredible that you did it. That is a lot of books and seeing that photo makes my head hurt. So glad to see you having a positive outlook on this, because I know you're going to do well! You're almost there!

Yay for a France trip! Good for you! That will be amazing to do the Paris Marathon!

I'm going to say that in my life there is no accomplishment that I look back on and say "Wow, I worked so hard for that"! Nursing school was kind of a breeze. I look forward to going back to school, and that is when I'll feel like I've accomplished something in my life.

qwerkyqook said...

That's a lot of material to get through. I totally support the trip. Having something fun to look forward to makes the pain of studying so much better. You should probably also book a first class ticket and buy some fancy shmancy heels to wear on the plane :)

missris said...

I'm continually in awe over and totally impressed with how hard you work. You seriously deserve an awesome Parisian vacation when you're done with the tests!

Marlys said...

I applaud your plan to take a trip to Paris to celebrate! You definitly deserve it after all this studying! I am happy that you are ahead of yourself so will have more time to review! I could not possibly cram that much into my brain as the space is getting emptier by the day!

Alli said...

Love, love, love that you're rewarding yourself with a trip to France. You deserve it!

Lately I feel like my biggest accomplishment is (barely) holding my life together and not having a complete mental breakdown. I'm not sure that accomplishment needs a reward, but I might be going to Finland this summer!

Leigh said...

I think a trip to France is a perfect reward and motivation for yourself. You beyond deserve it Lisa!

imlivinginadream said...

GREATEST REWARD EVER! That's so exciting! As if you weren't motivated enough before, I bet all you can think of is that trip, only two years away! Woo hoo!

Amy --- Just A Titch said...

Anything that involves a trip to Paris OBVIOUSLY sounds like a winner to me :) Congrats, lady! You're killing it! And you're SO CLOSE!

Caroline said...

That sounds like such a great idea! Having a reward to focus on will hopefully make this process easier :)
The hardest I've ever worked... my first marathon? These past 5 months at my job?

Nora said...

that is a FABULOUS reward. Love it.

San said...

OMG, Lisa! What an amazing reward and motivator :) Love it! It's going to be amazing!

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

Yes you definitely deserve a trip to Paris after how hard you have worked/will work for your CFA designation. You have incredible discipline and I have no doubt you WILL pass these tests! The trip to Paris is the perfect reward and I think you should go for 14 days and throw a weekend in Italy on there too :)

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

I love that reward! It makes me want to do something difficult just so I can justify a reward like that!

You deserve it. You have been working so hard over the past few months!

I am not very good at studying so I was really happy to just graduate from college period. Now I have taken several certification classes and exams, but none have been half as difficult as yours.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

You are one of the hardest working people I know - I admire you for that!

Guess what?! We're likely going to Italy either in the fall of 2013 or spring of 2014. If we wind up traveling in 2014, maybe we need to meet you in Paris/France for a couple days??? Lots of stuff is up in the air for all of us between now and then, but it could be fun to think about, no?! =)

Stephany said...

Ahh, I am SO excited for you! You completely deserve an amazing treat for all the hard work you've put into these tests! And that is the best kind of reward. Something to really look forward to. YAY!

crystal said...

Awesome!! What a great reward too. I am planning a yoga retreat somewhere on the ocean when this damn dissertation is finally over!

Cherry Blossoms said...

I think is awesome and its going to be so worth it! I also can't imagine running a better marathon. Good for you as you got this!

Becky said...

I am SO proud of you for getting through those materials - now you have all this time to review! And a reward trip to France sounds absolutely fabulous! Will you go to Paris or a part of France you haven't been to yet?

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

You definitely deserve a BIG reward and France sounds absolutely perfect!!!! So excited for you :-)

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

Oh MY GOSH, LISA!! This is awesome. You are so amazing for finishing your materials and rewarding yourself when you do pass with a trip to Paris. I want to be a little Polly Pocket stowed away in your suitcase when you go. I love having trips to look forward to.