CA Final results for the term of May 2015 came out on 16 July 2015 and with it brought joy and relief to some and anguish and heartache to others. I'd like to congratulate all the fresh CAs who got through the exams this time - you've made it! (YAY!) To all those who didn't get through and to those who made it through halfway. I know your pain I've walked the same path last year.
The following paragraphs detail my experience of failure and what I did to get past it:
Yes, I'm a CA now but the road wasn't always smooth. I hit a few roadblocks but that's how life works after all. Al right, without further ado' here it is, I was in office when it happened. The results were announced and I was so sure of having made it through, I didn't even bat an eyelid when I typed out my roll number and hit 'Enter'. To my utmost horror, I saw the most dreaded words that would give any student nightmares. They say the first feeling in these kinds of situations is always denial and they were right it took me a full 5 seconds to comprehend what the results were and about a whole damned day to accept that this has indeed happened. Sure, I put on a poker face and let the day pass me by; I was too scared to react in the presence of others, especially my superiors 'I mean it's a matter of pride' I can't look sad or cry with them around; so I pretended like it was nothing. But my heart and mind were howling in protest - yup, I couldn't wait to leave office that day.
Funny thing is, I've never paid attention to this but as it gets darker, my own heart seemed to sink lower and lower and finally at nightfall I couldn't pretend anymore 'that's when I truly felt the full extent of the hit! I'm sure you know what this feels like ' it's worse that being stabbed in the heart or getting punched in the gut, or getting shot. It's like having the carpet you're standing on pulled from right underneath you, no warning, no signs, just one hit and you're on the ground. What's worse is that you're still in denial despite feeling all of this ' you wish it wasn't true; you hope ardently that it's some kind of mistake and it'll go away if you wait for some time. But you're also smart and logical enough to know that false hopes wont' get you anywhere. So you stall' you don't do anything for a few days ' the first week hurts the most.
For me it went a little like this:
Day 1 after result: Sulking non-stop, angry at my circumstances, still in denial, hoping revaluation will fix this nightmare!
Day 2: Sent revaluation application; still angry but also somewhat insecure because friends have cleared and I'm starting to doubt myself a little.
Day 3: Scared like hell, just realized revaluation is a pipe-dream; must study again in whatever little time there's left for the next term.
Day 4: Too pissed to study because there's way too much to cover and now anger is turning into nihilism 'so I'm not too serious about making study plans because I just studied so long and hard to be set up for failure
Day 5: I'm too tired to be sad or angry. Emotions have depleted all my energy so I'm drained.
Day 6: I can't talk about studying or CA Finals for that matter actively seeking out distractions (by distractions, I mean hobbies like books or music, nothing illegal, you monsters!!!)
Day 7: I spend my whole day jamming to Linkin Park and Green Day ' yeah, I made a playlist of their most irate, rebellious songs and sang along with my guitar. I needed to vent! By this stage, I had accepted that sh!t happens and you gotta cut your losses and move on. I wasn't completely okay with it but I could function ' I could talk about my results without feeling like the world was ending. My rage and frustration was now reduced to a dull persistent simmer of angst that didn't go away for a long time.
But still, there were times, especially when the sun would set every evening, that my mind was cruel enough to make up metaphors and draw analogies about how the sun has set for my career as well but I would later realize that all this was just me being dramatic it's not that bad. But my mind had made it look so bad that I felt like there was a black, rain cloud hanging over my head wherever I went and no matter how much the sun shone during the day and how much my non-CA friends invited me out to hang out with them, I felt like I could never truly smile and have a good time 'and all because of the nasty results.
Dark days indeed! I avoided human interaction on the pretext of studying for the next term, but the real reason was obviously, the fact that I needed to untangle myself from the intricate and sticky spider-web of my own feelings!
And I was still looking for distractions ' something that would take my mind off this, if even for a little while ' so I went back to my old hobbies ' playing guitar and singing ' I played whatever I wanted to, but every song was tinged with a dash of sorrow and helplessness and that ever-present simmering angst that permeated my whole aura. It was fairly late by this point, so the incorrigible nerd inside me was already panicking that I hadn't started preparing for the next term yet ' so I knew that it was time to start studying again. I was loathing to do it, but I knew better, so I reluctantly started to piece together a study plan with whatever time I had left.
By this time logic had found a way to trump emotion, thus: After about 2/3 weeks since results, after relentless thinking that kept happening in my sub-conscious mind, I came up with the following logic* as to why I should study and do my best on the next exam:
1. I'm not the only one who's failed
2. It's not the end of the world
3. I'm not dying
4. Exam is just one part of life
5. Since I studied so hard the first time, revisiting the same subjects shouldn't take me too long the second time around ' yes, learning curve effect is what I was going for.
6. And when the photocopies come I'll know what I did wrong and be prepared to fix it.
7. I've already finished CPT and IPCC, I've come way too far to quit now.
8. What sense would it make to let go of the rope now when I'd held on for this long? It would have made more sense to give up sooner ' if I've stuck it out for this long it must mean I want this badly enough to make it work and a little bump in the road shouldn't change that.
9. This battle is between me and the exam. If I postpone the attempt or choose to give it all up ' it'll be equivalent to letting the enemy win! I refuse to go down without a fight. Therefore, giving up is out of the question!!!
10. It's not like the results are a reflection of my intelligence or ability. I can always become better and crack the exams with the right approach. The point is, my potential is not to be doubted, but maybe the approach was a little flawed and that's definitely something that I can fix with a little guidance! The challenge after that was to keep reminding myself of the logic every single day for 3 months so I could take my preparations seriously. I filled out all the forms for the next exam ; by now I was no longer debating on whether I should wait another term or go guns blazing into the next term itself. I was definitely going for it- ready or not! But I couldn't study with the same fervor and enthusiasm of the first attempt to be honest; I was terribly bored to have to go over the same behemoth syllabus
ALL OVER AGAIN!!
So I had to pace myself, I spent some time on the following activities just to forget momentarily about the bad results that were causing my misery and the mounting burden of having to re-study everything!
1. Listening to music ' the angrier the song, the better (LOL)
2. Playing sports to blow off some steam- Badminton or volley ball; (Heck, go hit a punching bag if that'll help you feel better) The idea was to 'let it all out!!!' True Rockstar style!!! (*hides from embarrassment*) Just a heads up, all this works only in the short-run, I can assure you that these activities will lose their efficacy very soon and you'll need newer distractions when that happens so I suggest that Yoga and regular exercise as healthier long-lasting remedies.
1 month till exam the jitters were back, but this time everything felt a lot less sacred ' nothing like the first time when I went in with a fiery will and 'model student-like' reverence for exams. Now I was just a candidate who just wanted to finish the exams and not spare a single thought to the outcome.
No more 'delusions of grandeur' like the first time ' now it felt like a 'cut and dry' transaction, which is a good thing because it's important to see things for what they are. And before I forget, a quick word on taking care of yourself ' please do not let your emotional turmoil manifest into physical illness- it's so common, it's scary. So, eat well, get enough sleep and exercise even if you're upset and ticked off. Don't let your bad mood spoil your health ' it is equivalent to self-harm!
Basically, don't be a masochist because of one exam it isn't fair to you or the people who love you (whether or not you're a CA). Finally, even if you've lost faith on the system, God and everything else you held dear before,HAVE FAITH IN YOURSELF!!! Because as Stephen Hawking said, 'No matter how hard your life or circumstances are, as long as you're alive, there's always something you can do to make a difference to the world!'
Exam days you know what they're like so I'd rather not write anything in this section (;-P) Result day (!) ' I wasn't expecting to clear. In fact, I had already unpacked my books to study again, but thankfully I had gotten through (*sigh of relief*) and just like that, the journey of a thousand pages of study material was brought to a somewhat anti-climactic end. But an end is an end and I was so grateful for it! And that's how it all went down' From failure to success
Thank you for reading! I hope that this write up has helped you at least a little in your journey to scale the almost-vertical mountain that is the CA Final exams! I have included some reference reading material below, if you like to analyze the concept of failure and the ancient philosophies that address it.
(Don't judge me ;-)) And Good luck to you! I wish you all the success in the world! Reference material: * On the logic front, I read Ryan Holiday's book 'The Obstacle is the Way' to use the philosophy of stoicism to overcome the depression of the results. Please read it when you can, it's a tremendously useful book to CA students, especially the ones at the Final level. And if you haven't already, find out all you can about Stephen Hawking ' he is truly the epitome of resilience!
Ancient Greek philosophies such as Stoicism and Epicureanism make for good reading when you're in the CA Final results blues mood. Also, I've gathered that Vipassana meditation, and the Hindu principle of Karma-yoga offer some comfort to the tormented souls of students who've failed CA Finals.
But take care not to read too much philosophy, because this will eat into your study time. And finally, all the best once again! I hope you ace your exams this term!!