Back in 2007 Shaun made a decision, a big decision. He’d often fancied studying something again (something I could never do) but didn’t know quite what. Then an opportunity with his work came along – to study for the ACCA qualification.
We knew it would be a hard slog, but we really weren’t prepared for what kind of a slog it would be. The first exams were straightforward enough, multiple choice on a computer which we found out he’d passed straight away. Phew, I guess we thought at this point it would be a breeze.
We knew the exams would be hard too. You always hear that. We weren’t prepared for just how hard they’d be. Working on an assumption that he’d be finished in three years (taking twelve exams, sometimes two at a time) it felt achievable. However, things never quite go to plan – H appeared along the way in 2009 which ate into his study time, as well as failed exams which you have to wait for the next cycle of exams to retake.
It almost got inconvenient at one point. We’ve only really been able to go to Australia at Christmas time – getting out there in early December when flights are still cheap. However, the December exams are usually mid-month. Lucky for us ACCA exams are the same all over the world, and after a few emails we found it it was possible for Shaun to take the same exams in Perth – so H and I spent two weeks doing fun things with Shaun’s family while he stayed home (in Perth) and studied. Fortunately he had a nice place to do his study.
Shaun also missed H meeting Santa for two years in a row – first in Australia and second at Painshill Park. The following year we made sure he could go as he’d missed so much – but study was more important and we could show him photos.
By 2011 things were dragging, getting to the point it was painful thinking about sitting (or re-sitting) a further exam. Any retakes came out of our own pockets and they don’t come cheap. But we knew he was well over half way done and it was just a case of getting on with it. There were crazy ideas like taking three lots at once (he failed two) and having weekends away on study seminars. H and I would find things to do but you can’t help but wish you could share the time with Shaun too (who’d be at home studying while we went to watch Peppa Pig or The Wiggles live or went for daytrips to fun places).
My blogging was pretty active as essentially for the best part of six years I had a husband upstairs studying for large chunks of the year.
His last exam was December 2012. Every event our friends invited us to we cancelled, he HAD to study. We couldn’t pay for another re-take, he had to pass the exam. February 2013 we finally got the good news – he’d passed his final part. RELIEF. It was over – no more studying, freedom!
ACCA exams are hard. There is a lot of study involved. It took Shaun six years to get there, but he’d done it. The relief in our house as we finally got our time as a family back – we could do things at weekends whenever we wanted to.
Realising that was our moment that mattered. Possibly more than H starting school. Anyone who takes up studying when they’re older gets my admiration – it’s tough, especially when things don’t go to plan. Especially when you have a baby mid-way through it all. I am SO glad it’s all over!
Here’s a selection of our moments, and finally the moment that mattered when his exams were passed and we got our family time back.
(pictures – H meeting Santa in Australia, at Painshill Park a year later, at our local fair, at Painshill again, Shaun studying in Australia (lucky thing), water play without daddy, meeting Yellow Wiggle (you can just see her hand) without daddy, meeting Dora, playing at Wakehurst place and finally some quality time with daddy)