It’s bowling test day.
I’ve to hit the 1 pin at least four times out of ten to secure an A. Should be a piece of cake, right?
Not so much. Three tosses later, I haven’t managed to do it once. I start to wonder how the hell I ever managed to bowl a score higher than 220 a few weeks ago.
“Hey, JT, can you press the reset button on the other side of the lane,” my bowling teacher asks.
“Sure. Glad it could wait until after I finish this test,” I think to myself.
Time passes. I managed to hit two out of ten. I walk back defeated, pissed off, and wondering why the hell I even bothered to show up today.
“Fifty-six,” my professor says to me as I walk by.
Random obscenities fly through my mind. It’s a good thing I left my ball on the ball return, otherwise I’m fairly sure it’d have magically flown through the decaying red brick walls and land peacefully in a cornfield three counties over.
I couldn’t be happier when the clock strikes five after and it’s time to go. I get in my car, and think to myself how my ability to bowl will marginally affect my potential employment opportunities. Someone’s going to think I can’t do finance because I couldn’t roll a ball in a straight line. Good Lord.
I get to my office in about 5 minutes, mostly because I’m driving about 100 miles per hour not giving a you know what about anything. “Beep!” The green light on the office door lights up—at least I can still manage to pay the bills.
An hour or two passes while I’m at work and I’m ready to go off to Calculus. I get there to have my professor hand Tuesday’s test back to me. Ouch—not pretty.
My professor goes through each question, giving the answers and providing some explanation for the nonsensical process necessary to complete each problem. He gets to number 18, a story problem with a financial context—one of the few questions to which I was 100% confident I actually had the correct answer to. I did.
“I just gave everyone full credit on this problem because we didn’t go over future value and present value.”
A collective “yes!” spreads through the room. Bowling induced anger flares up once more. Here I am, amongst future finance majors who can’t grasp the concept of FV and PV, but can fully understand how to take the LN of some made up alphabet soup equation thrown on a piece of paper as if it even mattered.
I begin to open my mouth before realizing that I probably shouldn’t. I’ll keep this one to myself—it probably is too much to ask that he consider it “bonus” if he’s just going to throw points around for free. Besides, I’ll say something I don’t mean—er, something I mean but shouldn’t say.
“Let it go, dude. You’ve a temper the world shouldn’t see,” I remind myself.
Good call, brain. You’re on-point today.
It’s a Thursday, so the week gets better from here. I don’t have classes on Friday, so it’s a
three-day weekend three-day shortened workweek from Friday to Sunday.
For the rest of the day I begin to realize that I’m making probably one of the worst decisions of my life. I’m in school for all the wrong reasons, and it’s becoming apparent once more that this really is the truth of the matter. It pains me to go to class. I hate every bit of it, and I’m not entirely sure if the several thousands of dollars I’ve invested in it are even minutely productive.
I’ve rejected the notion that I’m going to school to learn, because I’m not. I’m going to school because I have to. My mom, who always excelled in school but never had the family support or “push” to go to college, never went to college. It’s one of those things she’s always regretted. She’d kill me if I dropped out.
And I don’t really want to drop out. I have to stay in for this: the glorious CFA. That three letter credential is to me what sex and money is to 50 Cent. It’s beautiful; the result of proving you understand EVERYTHING related to the financial markets in a series of three tests over three years.
Passing it will be far easier than getting through college.
So here I am, somewhere between point A and CFA. In between prerequisites and things I actually understand. In between graduating and getting a credential I’d be proud enough to put on the wall.
I can honestly say that I’m not entirely sure I’ll ever get through it. My degree is, by itself, nearly worthless–I’ll probably lose it like I did my high school diploma. I don’t even really want it. I just want the CFA credential. But can’t have one without the other. FML.
I’m having a hamster moment, wheeling around like a champ but still not really getting anywhere. Next semester I have more science, more rudimentary accounting, and more goofy looks from my advisor who just can’t seem to grasp the concept that, as a finance major, I understand things best when they’re in the context of finance.
Just 18 months. A year and a half to freedom.