Admittedly, the CPA Licensure Exam (CPALE) is one of the hardest exams to pass. Every year, thousands of examinees aspire to pass this dreaded test and have the title CPA after their names. I was one of those examinees, not only once, but twice. Yes, I failed my first CPALE way back October 2015.
It was probably one of the hardest episodes in my life. The exam was hard, while the preparation was harder. In less than six (6) months, you would have to review and hopefully, master what you learned during your four (4) years in the undergrad. You would sacrifice sleep, time, and even your personal recreation. No more gala, no more long hours spent in searching the net, and no more eight (8) hours sleep in the night. You would give everything you’ve got, pray all your wishes to God, and hope that on the day of the exam, all odds will favor you. I did all those. I prayed, I hoped, and I risked it all. And for the first time in my life, I failed. I failed horribly.
Failing my first CPALE took so much toll on me. My heart shattered into so many pieces. My dreams suddenly vanishing to thin air. I gave so much that there was none left inside me. I felt like a leaf blown by the gust; I had no direction, not anymore. You see, taking the exam meant to be the first phase into reaching the goal I set. I perfectly had my plans in black and white, bullet points. Each thought about carefully, measured and weighed. And yet the first bullet seemed to be already the end. I was in a black hole. My own depression and pain sucking me into oblivion.
Luckily, I had very supportive and loving family and friends. They pulled me out of my misery and rescued from becoming a total wreck. My parents encouraged me to try again, or perhaps work first until I build the confidence I lost when I failed. Thank God He put some sense into my hard head. I applied for a job and started working as a Research Analyst specializing in Business Combinations for an international company. With the help of my work mates and mentors, I started to grow and be stronger. My wounded heart started to heal. My soul came to life again. My faith regained the vigor it lost. And yet, I was still scared. Every time I hear the words “Board Exam”, I shiver and avoid the topic as much as I can. I didn’t want any of it. Not anymore. Or maybe I was too proud to admit I still wanted the CPA dream. Because deep inside, I envied those who passed the exam. I cry whenever I see any board exam results because I felt sad that I never got my name to be posted like that. I was like a child, reaching for something that’s so close, yet so far away.
They say that when all else fail, let go and let God. That’s what I did. I let God guide me and show me what I am supposed to do. I attended a church convention sometime around October 2016. In that event, the speaker asked for all those who have burdens and problems to come forward as he was going to pray for us. In that moment, I found myself walking towards the church’s stage. I knelt down and as soon as I closed my eyes, tears started falling down. Our pastor prayed that all broken hearts and spirits may be truly healed, and that God give us the peace that we needed. All the while he was uttering these words, the dreams I thought I lost came back to me. I saw myself passing the board exams, having my oath taking at PICC, and working proudly with the CPA title following my name. In that blissful moment, I felt God lifting all the emotional baggage I’ve been carrying away from my heart. I felt true peace. I felt reassurance that He never left me in the first place, and that all the pain I’ve been through was just part of a grander plan He had for me. My resolve to take the CPA Boards became clearer and stronger. I was pretty sure God was telling me one thing: TRY AGAIN.
I decided to take the exam for the May 2017 Batch. Review classes started around November and I was still working at that time. I went to work at 6:00am to 3:00pm in Taguig, then traveled back to Morayta, Manila for my 6:00pm to 9:00pm review session. This was a daily routine, and it was the only way I can finance my decision to take the boards again. Soon, my body started catching up with me and I became sickly due to stress and fatigue. I was like a walking time bomb, waiting to explode anytime. That’s when I decided to quit working around February 2017 and devote my whole time and effort to reviewing. I couldn’t risk getting very ill and it makes more sense to devote my undivided time and attention to the board exam. Was it easier? No. It was as hard as the first time. Reviewing again came with memories of failing. Sometimes, I stop and think of “what if I FAILED again?” and I never come up with an answer. Maybe because I never want to go back at failing again. I vowed to myself I won’t and that I will work harder to achieve the license that has eluded me before. Most importantly, I always I asked God to work with me, help me, and direct me. I asked Him to guide my hands every time I answer a problem or test. To speak for me for every decision I made. To stand for me when fighting self-doubt and loathing. I survived the review with the help of God. The May 2017 CPALE came so swiftly that I was so surprised to find myself already waiting for the results.
May 29, 2017 – the day that changed my life forever. This was the day the exam result was released, and thank God, I passed! The pain I felt when I first failed stood next to nothing with the joy I experienced when I passed. I cried with happiness, thanking God for letting me have this victory. It was the best feeling in the world. It was overwhelming and for a time, I can’t believe that I did it. I did it because God helped me do it. I prayed, I hoped, and I risked it all. And for the second time, I succeeded.
So what’s the lesson of this anecdote? All things have two possibilities – the good and the bad. Each side has an equal chance of coming to life. You have 50% chance of failing and 50% chance of succeeding. But remember, you have 0% chance if you don’t try at all. It doesn’t matter if you failed before. What matters is that you never let a minor setback hold you back forever. For every failure, find the silver lining. For every storm, look forward for a sunny day. Keep trying. Try, try, try. Trust the process. Trust what God has in store for you. Trust the best future He is preparing for you. Who would have ever thought that two years after I failed, I will be working at one of the renowned audit firms in the Philippines as a CPA? I never really saw that coming. But God did. As a conclusion, all I can say is that, it doesn’t not matter how you start something. What matters is how you finish it. Finishing it at your own phase, at your own time. Never ever compare your journey to others. Your life, your story is written uniquely by God and I know that somewhere in those pages, you will find a CPA in you. Just like how I found one in mine.
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