Each exam gets a little easier to prepare for. It takes no less time but it takes less of a toll on me. My last exam had me using my treadmill at 3am to burn off nervous energy and the one before that had me reconsidering my career choice. I think I’ve gained a pound or two, less than a percent of my body weight and this may be due to the fact that I’ve eaten 3 lbs of peanut butter in one week. Two days ago, I decided to be classy and purchased almost two pounds of artisan cheese. That cheese is now gone. If this be the price of victory, I pay it gladly.
My memory for normal facts has deserted me and I’ve forgotten how cardinal directions work in addition to the finer points of arithmetic (such as 1+1 not equaling one) have taken holidays from my memory. I ask for no pity as I bring this entirely on myself. Most actuaries are less melodramatic with the toll exams can take on ones life. A Quebecois coworker who is also an actuary once said “I do not know why you complain. You either pass the exams and become an actuary, or you fail and you do not.” She’s like a statistical Hemmingway.
Recently I’ve also started noting some benefits. I have a certain confidence to being able to do large, difficult things if I want them. In the equivalent time of my last two exams, I probably could have become reasonably good at a foreign language or written a short novel or collection of stories. I could have mastered southern cooking or gotten back up to running 10Ks. I could have Again, this isn’t regret so much as a note to myself that when this is over, I will have little excuse not to do something of my time. On the more productive side, I could have watched every episode of the Simpsons or Law & Order.
I plan to. In the meantime, I have some practice problems to do/peanut butter to finish.