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By ACCA student blogger Ng Jia Wen

From the moment we are born, we are destined to travel a winding, bumpy road. Many a time, you will encounter a speed bump, a roadblock or even a detour.

As a regular person, I encounter setbacks once in a while. My most recent one was this semester; I failed exam P2 – Corporate Reporting. This was the first academic paper that I have failed in my life. (I’m not kidding – the 2 other exams that I failed were practical exams that do not relate to my education.)

Failing for the first time was devastating. I anticipated it from the moment I finished the exam, so I was mentally prepared. But failing P2 would mean that I can no longer call myself a ‘straight passer’.

Though this label might seem snobbish or egoistic, I grew up in an Asian culture where we thrive on success – especially academic success and especially when you’re young. So how did I manage to climb back up from here? I did a few things, which I will explain.

Step 1: Cry with all your heart

Being a toughie on the outside, very few people had the chance to see me bawl my eyes out. Fortunately (or unfortunately), on the day of my results, I was away for a holiday with my family.

In Asia we are told that it is shameful to cry as it exudes weakness. And I was taught from a young age not to show to ‘outsiders’ (outside of our family), that I am weak.

Crying, no matter how vulnerable you think it may make you look, is good for the soul. The moment I came back from my holiday, I locked myself in my room and cried my eyes out. But after a good cry, strangely enough, you will stop wallowing in self pity and feel a great sense of relief.

Step 2: If you aren’t brave enough to face your fears yet, don’t

I am rather blessed. The sequencing of the ACCA exam papers means that I will not need to re-sit P2 in the next exam session. Moreover, I have the option to take P2 alone, as my friends are re-siting it now.

Step 3: Move on

Life goes on, after all. It is pointless to continue brooding over a small aspect of your life when there is a whole journey ahead of you still.

After brooding and seething for a month, I then diverted my attention to joys in life like writing for the ACCA student blog, learning how to draw, playing music again. All of this helped me not feel so bitter, hurt and defeated any more. I learned to love studying again, not for the sake of passing exams, but for the sake of learning.

Sometimes, a break from your studies will help if you have considered all other options. Sometimes a gap year or semester can do wonders for your emotional well-being.

I hope my real-life story will inspire you to climb back up and continue striving for the upcoming exam sitting.

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By ACCA student blogger Ng Jia Wen

5am
*bzzzz bzzzz bzzzz* For the love of all delicious food in the world, why am I up this early? *presses the snooze button*

6am
*bzzzz bzzzz bzzzz* Okay, okay, time to get up. Note to self – no more studying until 1am! Sleep is important. Wait, what time is it? *gasps* Oh no, I’m late! Okay, quick, breakfast, shower and drive.

7am
Phew – I wasn’t late after all! Managed to avoid the morning rush hour. Traffic congestions in Malaysia can be pretty nasty. I’m rather early for my 8am class, but at least I have time to grab a cup of coffee and catch up on the latest football news with my friends.

8am
It’s my first class for the day. Got to make sure I don’t fall asleep. Today’s class is highly important. Hmm, as a matter of fact, all my classes are highly important, since the exam paper will test us on anything in the syllabus.

11am
Lunchtime! I suppose it is rather abnormal for my institution to schedule lunchtime at 11am, but we’ve pretty much gotten used to it. Today, I decide to have fried rice. With extra cili padi mixed with light soy sauce. (cili padi is a Malay term for Bird’s eye chili. When it’s mixed with light soy sauce, it is a common condiment in restaurants in Malaysia.)

12pm
Usually, my second class would begin now, ending at 5.30pm. But today there are no other classes scheduled. So I make my way to my favourite study area in college (which is not the library). It’s the most brightly lit area in college and one of the most cooling.

12.30pm
Right, now it’s time for some serious studying. I start by reviewing what my lecturer taught that day and consolidate my understanding to make sure that what I remember is right. Then I make short notes for each chapter of all the papers I am attempting. These are the best ways for me to remember my material, even though they’re very time-consuming processes.

3pm
After some productive study, I give myself a break. I grab a packet of sandwiches and a light drink to keep hunger at bay and to perk up my brain. I also go over to see my friends at their favourite study spots, ask them about a couple of questions that I didn’t understand during class, and have a chat.

4pm
Now it’s time to resume studying. The study area is now a little more crowded, as most of the classes have ended. Noise usually distracts me, so I plug my headphones into my mobile phone to listen to music.

6pm
Oh, it’s already dark outside! I usually only go home after the sun sets, as the evening traffic congestion would have cleared up by then.

8pm
I usually have dinner with my family (yes, I still live with my family) but by now they have finished eating, so I have dinner by myself.

9pm
Now I reply to my emails, and write articles for my blogs (if I have any inspiration).

11pm
A little more revision won’t hurt… right?

1am
Uh-oh. It’s 1am already? Oh well. I guess tomorrow will be yet another beautiful day. It’s time to sleep.

Hi! I’m Ng Jia Wen. Just to be clear, Ng is not my first name, it’s my surname – Jia Wen is my given name. And I’m a (Chinese) Malaysian. I’m an ACCA student who has just finished exam papers F7 and F8 of the ACCA Qualification in the December 2012 sitting. I will be attempting F9 and P2 for the June 2013 sitting. Something special about me would be that I was one of the students in the batch which underwent the transition from CAT to Foundations in Accountancy.

What you can expect from me in the next few posts would be:
• study tips
• a day in a life of an ACCA student
• study/life balance
• exam tips

I may be young (not maybe – I AM young) but I refuse to let that deter me from pursuing my ambition and my dreams. I hope through my blog posts I can inspire my fellow students and those are not yet ACCA students and encourage everyone to work hard towards their goal. The road ahead is very long and maybe a little bit winding, but I believe we’ll reach our destination, with hard work and determination.

Aside from studying ACCA, I enjoy writing about my perspective and experience. This can be book reviews, movie reviews or food reviews. Food reviews would be my specialty – after all, I’m Malaysian – so food would top the list of anything and everything, wouldn’t it? ;)

I am also very passionate about football even though I am a girl (but who says girls cannot watch and understand football?) I try to keep myself updated with most of the big leagues and football nations, which can prove a difficult, if not impossible task to juggle with my studies. But I am more inclined to follow the English league and FIFA World Cup.

Until next time!