Rough

Today marks the day 4 months ago that I changed my life… Yes I (with grace and mercy from God) changed my life. It can happen, I hear there is a recipe. Something about a ton of risk, a basket of support, a pot load of faith and a dash of blindly following a path that is not lit up for much further ahead. Moer all that together and you get where I am right now. 4 Months into doing a clerkship as a trainee accountant. Now, lemme tell you if your oven isn’t hot enough or there is more walking blindly than there is support and faith then this whoooooole thing will flop like a souffle.

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Not as effective as in the movies where everyone holds their breath in fear of the inside sinking in… and then it does. 

Now this is not just some cut and dry, smack it all together and you got yourself a full blown CA thing. Nooooo-o-o this is meticulously run by SAICA (South African Institute of Chartered Accountants) who, in addition to your employer, you sign a contract with also. They monitor your growth in different fields over a period of 5 years, in addition to that, if you happen to be one of the lucky clerks to land a job whilst still studying, they require that you perform well in your studies also. The pressure is not so bad, but then again, I’m not even at the half year mark sooo we will talk again in 2 years maybe.

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Its been 4 months and I don’t know kung fu yet…

What I will say is that my brain has been hurting for the last 4 months, there is so much to learn and so much to apply. I get frustrated most days because of how slowly I seem to be taking the information in, but on the plus side, the studies and the clerkship go hand in hand. Which is great. The work and the studies also doesn’t get any easier, your brain just grows and you become smarter.

My point, if you can make sense of this whole post, is that it really is never to late to change the course of your life. I am 28 now. I will be 33 when I finish my articles (that’s what it’s called, this 5 years training program) and after that I have the option to write CA board exams and be an actual CA. This is after CTA (honours), of course. All in all, if I really put foot and study and work hard, I could be a CA by the age of 36. Late bloomer some might say, I say, rough diamond… Diamonds are formed over a long period of time under extreme conditions.

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Last point, don’t be upset that your life is not going anywhere if you refuse to make any changes, and don’t let people tell you that you can’t change your life, that you are too old. I had to learn this the hard way!

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Things you aren’t told when you chose to study part time

 

I may or may not have posted about this already and might again in the future. Ready yourself for that reality.

When I first decided I want to study, I went onto the website of the university that has long-distance learning options and looked at the degree that I figured would be a good fit. Looked at what it might cost, looked at my salary, saw that it’s kinda do-able with a squeeze and jumped right in.

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Have you seen Point Break, the new one? That sky to earth thing… that’s what it feels like. 

Then I found out that you need application money, and a bulk amount up front called registration fees. Yes, this covers about half of each module you take, meaning it varies, it also varies depending on your choice in degree… discriminate much?? Anyway, lucky for me I have gracious friends who donated cash towards my future. I call it an investment. Even with that generous donation, it is still tough to have the money for each semester.

HINT: If you work full time and study part time (because you are a grown ass person who’s folks don’t pay for your shit), do yourself a favour and transfer a portion of your salary to the university account every month. This way when the new semester swings around you aren’t looking for the best corners to strut your stuff because you gotta put yourself through school. In all honesty, strippers do make a lot of money but if you work during the day and strip at night when do you study?

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Interesting infographic about textbook costs.

Another hidden cost which should be obvious and not able to bite you in the ass but it does because you don’t think about it (breathe) is text book costs. Doesn’t matter what you study, there will be prescribed text books that you need in order to pass your modules. Budget for those, overstate the costs so that you aren’t caught with your pants down. (Who started that saying anyway? And why the heck did the person have their pants down? Also, how long does it take to pull said pants up if you were caught with them down?)

HINT: Find a pre-loved text book place. Facebook is a good place for this kinda stuff. Amazon also has some second-hand books but they are kinda more expensive. Alternatively, find someone who studied what you are studying now and along with making new friends or networking, ask them if they have the text book you need. Definitely save for this also, create a TEXTBOOKS savings account that you can transfer a portion of you salary into.

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Lastly, for now… Tutoring, unfortunately this is not one you can always know you will need and also, not every student needs tutelage just like not every degree is equally difficult for each student. But I would advise that if you are doing a BCom BSc or some form of Maths/Engineering degree, budget for tutelage. Rather go to a tutor and pay some money to them than fail the module, pay double for it AND then pay for additional tutelage also.

HINT: Best thing I have realised is to just find a job in your chosen field of study. Nothing teaches you faster than on the job training. Unfortunately there are not many careers that offer some form of clerkship/internship that you can do while studying. I find that SAICA clerkships are brilliant as you are surrounded by clerks who are at different levels of studying and they all have notes and wisdom that you could get from them. All you gots ta do is ask!

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Anything that I missed?

NEVER stop!!

This adult student theme seems to be a stuck record, it could be worse… Funk Soul Brother could be stuck at that “Right here, right now” part. That shit would just be too much. As per usual, I refer to my good friend (he doesn’t know it yet, but we are, totally, like, BFF’s) Dylan Moran.

Back to what I’m trying to say, become an adult student, never stop learning. Once you get that bee in your bonnet to start studying again, it’s like going into the store room of your brain where all previously important junk is stored and having to find all the parts of your brain that would work together to get you to learn new things. You know the room of which I speak, for some it’s the garage. Where the treadmill and spinning machine parts are, because yoh fat ass decided it was taking up too much space but, “I can’t sell it or throw it out because I will totally use it again”. If you just carried on using those things in the first place, yoh ass wouldn’t be fat. Same with your brain, I believe that the brain is a muscle (medical peeps, I do know it’s NOT) but if you look at how it works, surely it can be classified as a muscle? Quick “brain muscle” Google search came up with this:

New research shows that the brain is like a muscle. It gets stronger with practice. Scientists have been able to show just how the brain grows and gets stronger when you learn. Scientists have shown that, when people study hard and learn new ways to study, their brains change and grow. – Grow Your Brain | Khan Academy

On that note, I challenge you, learn something knew! Work that muscle! You want to learn to speak another language? Learn to take the perfect photo for that Instacrap thing? Learn  to dance? Learn how to paint or draw? Learn to play a musical instrument? Start doing it. I watched this TED ED video about how the speaker learned how to play the guitar in 20 hours. He explains that you can learn a new skill in 20 hours… that’s 1hour a day for 20 days – you learn your new skill within a month. Obviously things like learning a language would take slightly longer, but get started again at least. Watch this for some motivation:

Sorry, what’s that excuse you have? Oh you don’t have money. You don’t have time.

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LOVE Will Smith

Yeah that’s right… bull shit! We live in the information age, people. You have the entire world of information literally at your fingertips!! Thank God for internet. You don’t need money to learn most things, there are endless tutorials on YouTube, endless experts (albeit self-proclaimed) taking the time to write down or video their skill to help others. Obviously you have internet, because you are reading this post.

And I don’t believe that you have no time… again, you are reading this post. So you are obviously just browsing through the internet. (Unless you are part of my elite following and you eagerly await my next piece of brilliance). What about all the time you spend watching series? Movies? Playing games… yeah looking at you CoD, LoL, WoW, and so on fans. What about the Facebook, Instagram, Twitter time? What about all the hours of sleep? Wait, before you yell at your computer that you need your beauty sleep… Studies show that adults (folks older than 18) need at the least 7 hours of sleep. I know that sleep is good for you and those around you, but too much sleep is bad for you. I heard someone say:

” People are afraid of death, yet they spend a third of their lives asleep”

Think about that!

Love this clip on Madagascar…

Stop making excuses why you are not pursuing your dreams. People aren’t interested in your excuses, it’s your results that WOW them.

Never stop learning!

Harsh Realities… 

… of starting to study towards a career as an adult.

I might make a Harsh Realities series of posts… we’ll see how far my commitment to the cause goes.

If, like me, you didn’t quite know what you wanted to be known as (apart from THE LOUD FRIEND) by your friends and family when you stepped out of high school. And your parents also didn’t quite know what to do with their genius but lazy rebellious child. You traveled the world… ok, like a bit of southern Africa and the UK… worked a few jobs. Till you found yourself being 25 and in the middle of a quarter life crisis, looking at younger more accomplished people, traveling to places like Prague and Croatia!! That’s when you realise, this brain cannot go to waste, you shall conquer some field of study, get a degree and build a career. Onward and upward, baby!!

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BAM!!! Watch me go… 

Only flaw in your plan is, you is an adult!! You has adult responsibilities and adult bills to pay. Lucky for you, (me in this case) UNISA (University of South Africa) is a distance learning facility that is considerably cheaper than most other universities in the country. Distance learning enables you to still adult on with your life during the day, and by night… you can be Study Girl/Boy… If ever there was a useless superhero, THIS would be it. I feel that even Tutor Boy/Girl would be a better superhero.

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Actually… this one is worse!! I mean wow!

Your life is now way more interesting, you’re struggling to juggle the pre-student life that you lived (with it’s set of responsibilities, both social and emotional) with the now student life of assignments, studying and oh yes, PAYING FOR YOUR OWN DAMN STUDIES. Cos you is an adult and adults pay for their own shittuff.

Then you realise that the line of work you are in does not coincide with the degree you are studying towards. Job hunting can now be added to the list of things that you, as an adult, now have to do for yourself. As most of us know, job hunting is a rather unrewarding exercise. In this case, the case where you are studying TOWARDS the degree that the company needs you to have BEFORE they consider you for the position, it is even worse. You’ve been in the working adult pool for a while, you have grown accustomed to it’s depths, now you have to go to the kiddie pool… have you SEEN what kids do in a kiddie pool???

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Honestly, kids have all the damn fun!! 

Come with me, if you please, imagine you are working as a teacher and you feel that arguing with a bunch of know-it-all teenagers, all day everyday, has boosted your lawyering skills and you feel like studying a law degree is the thing for you. Entry level law internships pay next to nothing, if they pay at all. You have absolutely no actual experience to offer the field (lesbihonest, it’s not like arguing with teenagers is any form of lawyer experience, maybe for parenting?) and you haven’t got the degree yet either. This makes you less of a commodity and more of a liability to them, instead of just training you they have to train, teach AND spoon feed you.

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It doesn’t work that way…

I get that, I really do, but as an adult there is little to no time to be playing around in the internship pool. One cannot pay for rent, food, car, petrol, medical stuffs, SCHOOL and all the wine one would need to cope with the stress of not being able to pay for everything, with an intern’s salary. Ok, maybe you find a company willing to spoon feed and teach/train you (bless their hearts) bet money, they are most certainly not willing to match your salary. Now you are faced with the dilemma… do you finish your degree and only THEN start working in your chosen field, making the whole thing take so much longer. Or, do you cut costs, stop eating, start walking everywhere and take that internship?

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Working towards that career!!

All of that aside, there is the case of, no parents to FORCE you to study as in the days of old. You have to discipline yourself, buddy, AND distance learning comes with the added benefit of you being your own teacher. Sure, they offer classes, during your working hours. So yay!! Also, all your adult friends want to do adult stuff like cheese and wine parties and stuff, (not really cheese and wine parties, it just sounded better than drinking games and crackers parties), to which you can no longer go because “studies”. You are now known as the hermit friend, the friend that no one sees anymore apart from when you are in search of food, or a highlighter. Truthfully, your friends and family would probably be super supportive and understanding. Because, hey, they have done what you are now doing. It’s the friends who are not in your age pool that are less sympathetic and more “Dude, you are boring now”.

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Welcome to the 1st annual Study Games!

If you are studying towards a degree and you consider yourself an adult (click here to see if you qualify in my mind). Props to you, my friend, may the force be with you, may the odds be ever in your favour. May you receive a spirit of wisdom and revelation. May you KICK ass!