A Marvelous Detour

ErikaHow do you tell a story when its climax is yet to unfold?

It’s a question I was tempted to ask Sir Angel, my mentor – but better decided not to. After all, I’ve already said “sure” to the task, hadn’t I?

So here I am. After passing hours of thoughts adrift and heaving sighs I lost count on, let me share to you my CMA journey…

It was the in-between of finals week and graduation when I was formally introduced to the path of becoming a CMA.  Though snippets about a certification for management accountants had been going around before, it was too short-lived to turn “interests” into actual “commitments”. On top of that, my mind is already preoccupied on planning that out-of-the-country vacation I have been saving for so long. Singapore, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia were in fact among the places pinned; and setting foot on the land of Wiley, Gleim or Hock is absolutely far off the grid.

However, my life – as always – had been an endless string of ironies.

While bracing myself for a last round of battle against one of my management subjects, Sir Randell, an accounting instructor in our college who is also under the mentorship of Sir Angel and not to mention among the new CMA passers, approached and offered me the ticket to this wholly unexpected trip. On the same day, I received a Facebook friend invite from “The Angel Valdenor Secerio” and upon accepting, was asked if I am interested in discussing the details of the program. As I said, I’m already set to what I want to do after graduation and NOTHING can pull me out of it. But perhaps inquiring “a little” about this opportunity will not hurt. Besides, this man is but a stranger who is miles away and the person I could least expect to drive me down a detour.

I underestimated him though – and missed the most obvious sign. The man is named “Angel” for a damn good reason! Not only was he prompt in responding to my questions but had the tenacity of a real angel as well when I almost let the chance slip away.

My justifications on turning down the offer at first were: too expensive (despite the privilege of availing a student discount), too soon (final exams are not even over), too late (already singing “Leaving on a Jet Plane”), too risky (could be a scam), too tired (give me a break) and the list went on. But truth is, all my excuses boils down to this…I was simply too scared – of the uncertainty, by the thought of failing and of the soundness of my capabilities.

In reconsidering the offer, I had to read and reread Sir Angel’s message countless of times until a point where I had to weigh between which taste I’d rather endure later on – the temporary bitterness of failure or the perpetual pungency of curiosity. Obviously, with fingers crossed, I picked the former. At an instant, my course is changed by two brief words, “I’m in”.

From there, everything seemed to have gone so fast. Before I can even make sense of what I just put myself into, I am officially a member of IMA (Institute of Management Accountants) and had registered for a 2-part exam.

The review stage was rigorous and demanding. And when an e-mail promises voluminous test drills? Buckle up because, indeed, “voluminous” knows how to live to its promise. With no exaggeration, it was my four-year undergrad accounting exams jammed in a three-month review. Through every unfamiliar intricate topic aggravated by the sweltering summer heat came the strong urge to desert the flight. But I’ve already taken off and lost sight of the ground hence there is no going back.

Then days turned into weeks…weeks into months…and alas, I have arrived at my destination (or checkpoint rather)! The actual exam is certainly everything you can expect from securing such a world-class title. It will not only drain your energy but also all that confidence you’ve earnestly tried to build-up during the months of review. And just when you thought you’ve scaled the most difficult phase, the agony of waiting will immediately prove you wrong – an agony from which I am yet to be released.

In view of this, I still couldn’t offer much on the “secret formula” to passing. However, in the context of taking risks, here’s what I’ve learned.

Everything starts and ends with you. The world can throw all the best opportunities on your way but it’s up to you to seize them. I’m not saying that the answer should always be a yes. It’s okay to take a moment and ask yourself, “Can I do this?” Definitely. “Will I succeed?” Well, that’s where risk comes aboard. You may or you may not. Nevertheless, you will realize as you go along that the more precious intangibles – such as the new bonds and lessons – are the ones that truly make the whole journey worth taking. But just in case you do fail…Guess what? You are not the first in history and life goes on!

As for the climax of my story, I can only imagine the Big Boss from above calling out, “Coming soon, Erika”.

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