My friend recently earned his CPA license. Last weekend, while my husband and I enjoyed a celebratory dinner with him, I started to realize how I had become a part of his support system during his CPA Exam studies. And, that he had become one of mine! I’ve been there for him from the very beginning of his CPA exam journey, psyched him up when he felt low, and cheered with him when he finally passed the exam.
How much does having a support system matter? I think more than we may initially realize. Sometimes a solid support system can be the difference between pushing through a difficult challenge or walking away from it. If you don’t have a support system in place, I’ll share how I changed from an “I can do it alone” mindset to now having an ever-growing network of supporters. And, I’ll show you how your support system can help you pass the CPA Exam.
In my teens, I loved playing tennis. I would sometimes spend at least three hours a day after school practicing the sport. I made the varsity tennis team in my junior year of high school and was one of the team’s top single female players. I was pretty quiet and shy in class, but on the court, I was someone else — competitive and ruthless. I had somehow absorbed the idea that if I hadn’t accomplished something entirely by myself, it wasn’t that great of an achievement. Whenever my coach requested I play doubles on the court with others, I would get angry and annoyed and leave the court feeling frustrated and angry. But, as I grew up and started maturing, I began to notice the power of working with a team and how a team could help me achieve results far greater than those achieved alone. That’s how I started creating my support system.
I wouldn’t have made it through my bachelor’s or master’s degrees while working full-time, married, and juggling all the unexpected things that come up in life if I hadn’t had my support system cheering me on along the way. I would have given up a long time ago without them. My support system has been there for me through the ups and downs, and for that, I am eternally grateful.
So how do you go about developing a reliable team of supporters? Well, I found it to be much easier to find support when I started giving support to others first. I think the most comfortable place to start is with your family, maybe a sibling, a parent, a cousin, or an aunt or an uncle. Be genuinely interested in their lives, ask them a couple of open-ended questions about something they are pursuing, or about a subject you know they care deeply about. Remember what they tell you! When they share the news with you about a big goal that they want to or have accomplished, be excited for them. If they are brave enough to share a “fail” with you, be empathetic and understanding, too.
Most of the time, you’ll find that people don’t want to be told what to do or what they are doing wrong, but instead, just need someone to talk to, so be that person for them. People know when you’re being genuine. Drop the competitive edge, be supportive of others, and apply that competitive nature to yourself by always trying to be someone a little better than you were yesterday. Trust me; you’ll get better at this the more you practice.
As you get better at being a supporter, be sure to apply this same mentality to your partner, friends, co-workers, and/or online networks. After you have developed a solid support network, be brave and vulnerable by sharing your CPA journey. I think you’ll be surprised by what many of your supporters have to say. I have friends who absolutely hate accounting and don’t understand it whatsoever, but they still reach out to ask me how studying is going. That feeling of support is priceless, especially when I might be having a bad day or need extra support from those around me.
Now that you know how to get a support system, how can they help you pass the CPA exam? My husband is one of my biggest supporters; he has helped me by making breakfast and dinners so that I can sleep in just a little longer and study later into the evening. When I struggled to pass the FAR exam, he was there, asking what he could do to help me. I’ve used my support system to review flashcards and to teach complicated accounting concepts to so that I can gain a better understanding of the material. I’ve reached out and asked my support system to help all during my CPA Exam studies.
The greatest thing a support system can provide to you is emotional support. I think just about every person can relate to experiencing failure at least once in their life. If you’re feeling down, or need a long break, lean on your support system because they can help you during the more difficult times. They could potentially be the difference between you earning your CPA license or not. Remember to always return the favor to those who have supported you during your journey!
Good luck with your studies, you’ve got this!
– Laura D., guest blogger for UWorld Roger CPA Review