Too Bad Peter Olinto Can’t Teach CPA Exam Candidates To Grow a Pair

When doodling in your CPA review books isn't distracting you like it used to, why don't you hit pause on your online course videos and reach out for a little good old fashioned Going Concern wisdom? Operators are standing by now.
Hi GC,
 
Thanks again for all of your advice, especially for us lost, naive graduates. 
 
So I am a recent college graduate, and I was originally going to try to pass two sections of the CPA exam before starting work at the Big4 by the end of this month. I suppose I set my bar a litttttle too high as I'm still in the middle of studying for the first section. To make matters worse, NASBA keeps insisting that they haven't received my application forms, even though I've already sent it several times with certified mail (it has been months).
 
I honestly can't get any time to study. I opted to go for the self-study method since all of the classes were way too far from where I live.   I wish I had done the online [Ed. note: we think you meant to write "live"] courses instead. The reason I say I didn't have time is because I have a bit of a complicated home life. I don't want to go into details to keep up this facade of anonymity, but anyway, I really can't get a moment to myself. I'll be in my room insisting I have to study, but I am always being bothered to fix this, clean that, take <name> to <place>. I've had whole days at a time sucked up because I had to drive someone around for days for their errands. Sometimes, I just have to sit there listening to my parents lecture me or give me grandiose advice tips or Christian stories of inspiration. They like to go on forever, as in several hours of conversations I don't want to have. If I backtalk or try to say I have things to do, it's this whole long guilt trip or some sort of punishment. I am 22 years old, dammit. I need some space (though I will be moving out very soon so a lot of this will be solved).
 
These are all really horrible reasons to not study, I know, but I really can't get any peace and quiet without having people backlash at me. I wish I had done physical courses so I could say, "I have to go to class." I can't get out of demands to do things if it's just "I have to sit in front of my computer and watch videos while I highlight my book" because someone will always retort with a "you can do that later tonight." 
 
My question to you and other experienced CPA journeymen, how the hell do you get people (particularly clingy, needy family members, friends, and significant others) to understand the magnitude of this exam? And will I be the only Big 4 starter who didn't pass a section? Everyone else I seem to know has taken at least one section. I feel like such a failure.
 
Thanks again,
Concerned and Crabby
You're welcome, CC, that's why we're here. Now, I apologize in advance for the verbal kick to the balls you don't have that I am about to deliver.
 
First, what section did you pick? Let me guess, FAR? You thought Ooooh this is easy, I totally remember all this from college, no big whoop and realized as soon as your 30 lb package of CPA review materials arrived that you underestimated the sheer amount of material ahead of you amiright? That's OK, it happens to a lot of people. Take it in small pieces – an hour here, an hour there, no more than 3 hours per study session otherwise your brain turns off and you're wasting precious study time. The key is to pace yourself, not try to cram it all in overnight.
 
It sounds to me like you are in desperate need of two things: a pair of balls and a real study plan. Let's address them separately.
 
You aren't the first person to have other obligations while studying for the CPA exam; whether it is a spouse, obnoxious children, a jerky boss or your immediate family, you have to accept that people that are not studying for the CPA exam simply do not and will not understand why you need peace and quiet, time to study and to be left the hell alone. I suggest that you sit down with your family TODAY and explain that if they don't figure out how to make their own milk runs, you're going to end up studying this thing for the next 20 years. You need to focus and now. If someone has an issue with that, tell them you don't give a shit, this is YOUR life and YOUR career and they can figure something else out.
 
That said, it looks from my perspective like part of the reason that your family is taking advantage of you is that you aren't taking this thing seriously. If you really wanted to study, you'd slip out of the house before everyone gets up and hide out in your car with your laptop if you had to. But if you're waking up at noon and your mom is catching you on Facebook every time she walks by while you're "studying," I can see why they'd tell you it can wait. Instead of putting yourself in the position where they can catch you in the hallway and start telling you the story of Sodom and Gommorah for the 900th time, make yourself scarce. Take yourself to the library and hide out there. Let them guilt trip you if they want, you have nothing to feel guilty about if you are bettering yourself by accomplishing an important milestone in your professional life.
 
I understand cojones aren't necessarily a characteristic most public accountants possess and you're preparing for a lifetime of being someone else's bitch by even getting into this line of work but for once in your life, grow a pair and set boundaries. You are an adult now and adults can have adult conversations about space and respect with other adults. So long as you continue shrinking around being the family mule, your family will continue to treat you as such.
 
You need to write out a weekly schedule of times you plan to study and tape a copy on the fridge so your family knows you are NOT available. Leave the house if you have to, they can't tell you what to do anymore, you're 22, not 12.
 
And if that doesn't work, next time they launch into a Christian rant, remind them that Jesus isn't around to hand out loaves and fishes anymore, someone's going to have to pay your bills and if you don't get this exam over with now, you can kiss that Big 4 gig bye bye. But hey, you can always be an AP clerk and make about what I make to write rants on this website, doesn't that sound like fun? Trust me, driving a thirteen-year-old car and eating ramen (if you're lucky) isn't so bad.

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