CPA Exam Diary 2013 Archives

Fall 2013

Strike One! Down, but Not Out
By Ray Medrano
I stared at my Uniform CPA Exam portal in unbelief: 62. The deep joy and relief that lingered from my successful FAR and REG results quickly turned to a knot of pain and hurt deep within the pit of my stomach. If you would have asked me how I felt after completing the exam, I would have said, “Great.” Audit was the subject I liked in school. Forget tax, with its waffling rules and ephemeral regulations; give me a nice solid audit and I’m happy. I breezed through my college class with little effort and even spent a majority of class time talking and flirting with the brilliant and beautiful girl next to me. But still, the fact remains: I failed. The sting of failure lingers. I think the hardest part about failure is choosing to learn from it, and not letting it consume us.

Of all the things to write about in this blog, why admit that I failed? I believe that failure is not a cause for discouragement, but an opportunity for people to better themselves. Years ago I heard it put this way: “Though a righteous man falls seven times, yet he gets up.” I’ve never forgotten those words. They give me something to strive for, a characteristic to envy and an unquenchable drive to never give up. Simply put: Though I fall, I will get up because failure is not who I am. Failure is merely a lack of success. And if it’s just a lack of success, then I just need to work a little harder.

The CPA Exam doesn’t define me. Nor should it define any of us. Whether passing takes us several years, or a few short months, we’re still ourselves. Yes the CPA license speaks of our specific knowledge, but it doesn’t speak to our experiences or any of our other qualities we bring into this profession. Passing the exam is a hurdle on the journey of our lives. I may have failed one exam, but I’m certainly not beat. And when I pass, there will be a solemn moment of giving thanks; an offering of my accomplishment back to the One who strengthened me to do it. After that: lots and lots of cake.
Ray Medrano is a staff accountant at Heberger & Company.

Summer 2013

Passed … But Wait, There’s More!
By Ray Medrano
Staring through a thin glass window watching hill, tumbleweed and brush roll by, the word sank deep into my heart: “Passed.” As I read that single word, my whole body felt numb. I blankly stared at the passing scenery while traveling back to Fresno after finishing the second section of the Uniform CPA Exam. Why did I wait so long to see if I had passed FAR? I suppose it’s the same reason all of us hesitate to check: Fear.
Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” However, this insight doesn’t make those confidence-boring thoughts go away: “Do I know enough to pass? What if I failed? I studied so hard, can I really go through all that again? But when you see the word “Passed,” your confidence begins to grow. You can breathe a little easier.

While studying for my second exam I learned that perspective is key. Passing the CPA Exam involves a lot of time alone. However, sometimes there are people that come into our lives randomly. Maybe they’re intrigued by us or fascinated by our ability to hold three highlighters in one hand, whilst chewing on a pen and yelling at our computer after missing the same review question thrice. But, whatever the reasons, while they are with us, it’s nice. They become a sweet oasis from our brutal regimen of conceptual ingestion. They provide us much-needed micro-breaks and remind us that life continues outside of our testing. Life keeps going, and so must I.

Yes, after taking two exams I’m tired. Yes, I’m now talking eye supplements to be able to study just a little bit longer. But I remind myself of these words spoken by a wise man from the 2nd Century: “One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal …” While many of us will have differing goals, at this point, we all need to remember why we’re doing this. And then—press on.
Ray Medrano is a staff accountant at Heberger & Company.

Spring 2013

Customer of the Month? You’ve Got to be Kidding Me!
By Ray Medrano
CPA. Three little letters that hold so much significance. Growing up, “C” was for cookie, and that was good enough for me. “P” logically was for pizza. And “A” was always for apple. All items I wanted to eat. And I was happy to get any of these three. Many years later I find myself striving to earn these same three letters, but this time, they mean much more than a simple snack.
One Sunday afternoon, as I was getting my fourth refill of iced green tea, the coffee house staff surprised me: I was customer of the month! My picture is now hanging on a plaque in the lobby over the drink bar. I’m on a first name basis with all the employees and, the funny thing is, I don’t even drink coffee. I received my gift and thank you card, sat down at my computer and pondered my life. What was it like before FAR? Where did the blissful days of movie marathons, impromptu trips to Pismo and random night drives to Yosemite go? I stared down mournfully at my free drink and my pens, highlighters, text books and mini whiteboard.

Let me be honest with you: Did you graduate? Congrats! Now comes the hard part. The Uniform CPA Exam is not for the weak of mind or heart. It squeezes you like a snake; it tries to choke your dreams, and seeks to crush your hopes. Perhaps my outlook is so dark because I chose to take the undisputed hardest portion of the exam first but, hey, I’ve always been adventurous. So here I am, preparing to stare down the FAR-beast with nothing but my hours of mental pushups and endurance trainings to rely upon. William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, once said, “Work as if everything depended upon your work, and pray as if everything depended upon your prayer.” Well Mr. Booth, I’ve done both. Now FAR-beast, let us dance.
Ray Medrano is a staff accountant at Heberger & Company.