Friday, 9 December 2016

16. Quitting: could it be a good thing? In pursuit of my purpose.




I was enrolled into a post-graduate programme at the University of South Africa (UNISA) this year (2016) to obtain the post-graduate diploma in Accounting Sciences, an equivalent to the Honors qualification, so that I could become a chartered accountant.

The journey:
Getting the degree
I finally obtained the B.com Accounting degree earlier this year, after I failed my first attempt of final year in 2014 because of one module - Management Accounting. Repeating final year was as challenging as the first attempt if not more, even though I made changes to my study strategy: finding ways to make lectures effective, which I share in the article “How I made lectures work in my favour”; pre-reading and post-reading, the benefits of which I share in the article titled “What pre-reading and post-reading meant to me”; working on my time-management as shared in the article titled “Time-management”; taking and making notes as shared in the article “Taking down notes, making notes – effective?”; reflecting on past tests to prepare better for the next tests, as shared in “How much studying is enough?”; and consulting as shared in “Consultation”. Of course I couldn’t master all those strategies on first attempt, which is partly why it was still tough when I was repeating. I couldn’t even tell whether or not I was going to make it in the end, but by the grace of God I got the degree.

My year-end results didn't qualify me to be in the Honors class at the University of the Western Cape, where I completed the undergraduate B.com Accounting programme. Since I thought I wanted to become a chartered accountant, I applied for the 1-year post-graduate UNISA programme.

Getting the post-graduate/Honors qualification
I have written 3 tests in this post-graduate programme. The results are not good, as hard as I feel I had been working. I did not write the last test before final exams. I could not study for 2 weeks in July, and after trying to resume my studies, I had an emotional breakdown. I ended up not writing the exams at all.

Turning point: reflection
When I was in high school, I was more intrigued by the accounting of transactions and preparation of financial statements. In fact, I thought that being enrolled into the B.com Accounting course was the first step to becoming a financial reporting accountant. Firms and chartered accountants visited the university to speak to B.com Accounting students about the chartered accountancy profession and how much 'the world becomes your oyster' with the many opportunities that come with the profession.

I was ignorant for not researching on financial reporting accountants, or chartered accountants for that matter, before starting the journey. I was fortunate to be enrolled into the Thuthuka programme during my undergraduate studies, which funds students who are pursuing the chartered accountancy profession specifically, so I pretty much allowed myself to go with the flow – take on this journey of becoming a chartered accountant. I also got so caught up on all the information about how great the opportunities are once I become a chartered accountant, and how it's the best decision to pursue this profession. I did not consider to pause and think about whether it is indeed the best profession to pursue for me personally, without thinking about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life; without thinking about what I'm actually passionate about, what I’m good at. 

This is the price I paid for that ignorance – the challenges I faced in the post-graduate programme:
  • Not finding the balance in the workload no matter how hard I try
  • Taking long to understand topics, and sometimes not understanding at all - not at the level required, even after consulting
  • Not having the motivation/ passion to persevere

It was tough, and I wondered if it is even worth it to continue with this post-grad when I was struggling dismally. 

Big decision: quitting
I decided to quit the post-graduate programme. I realised that I don’t have a vision of how I’d use the chartered accountancy qualification, let alone see the passion I’d satisfy through the qualification. As B.com Accounting students, even while I’ve been a post-graduate student, there were always other chartered accountants who visited us and talked to us about how much the journey to becoming a chartered accountant is one that requires us to put in our all. I’ve been told to eat, drink, sleep, walk, talk chartered accountancy – that’s how demanding the journey is. The profession itself is demanding.
I don’t believe that’s the life I ought to live, sacrificing my youth days in pursuit of something I’m not passionate about – becoming something I don’t believe I am meant to be, living a life that I don’t believe will fulfill me.

Living my purpose
I’ve realised that it’s important to discover my purpose – what God created me to do, and it’s my belief that I can find my purpose by identifying what it is I’m passionate about, what I’m good at, what I’m interested in, all of which is purposeful. I believe that by fulfilling my purpose, I will live a fulfilling life, because I’d be living a life I was created to live, instead of fighting to live a life I was not meant to live.

I acknowledge the fact that I am an artistic individual. It would be a waste for me to not embrace and use the skills, gifts and talents God gave me. I know better now than to undermine the fact that the gifts and talents God blessed me with would fulfill me in all aspects of my life - that they have a purpose and have a vision to be fulfilled.  That is part of my purpose, my identity. My gifts and talents define me. My personality is drawn from them. It is up to me to sharpen those gifts and talents and put them to good use while being fulfilled and living as I follow my passion. 

So, have you ever quit before? Do you think it was for the right reasons? What do you think about quitting? What are your thoughts on finding your purpose - living your purpose?
Be sure to share your views, experiences, even insight you may have gained from this article.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration. Until next time :).

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