…what now?

I completed all the courses required for my Chartered Insurance Professional designation last month.

Not an easy feat. I’m of the personal opinion that the exams for these courses are designed to either be failed, or to make you want to quit well before even seeing the finish line.

But I stuck it out. It took me five years to get the 10 credits. I failed three exams along the way. I wanted to quit after every single exam, even the ones I passed.

The only thing I wanted more, was to finish. I wanted that designation more than I can explain.

My last exam was July 10th and it was a rough one. Like so many others, I left thinking I’d blown it. But then, on July 14th, I got the mark. I got a B. I was done.

I raced into my manager’s office to tell her. I celebrated with friends and coworkers over the course of a few happy hours. It just felt so good to be done.

I mean, it still feels good to be done. But now… what now, exactly?

It’s hard to describe what I’m feeling now, but “lost” would be a good start. After five years of a constant class/study/exam cycle, I have NOTHING on the horizon relating to school. You’d think I’d feel relief, but I mostly just feel cagey.

As I approached my final few courses, more than a few people asked what I would do next and my answer was always “absolutely nothing until at least 2018!” I told anyone that would listen how I was so excited to read for fun again, to get cable again (actually cancelled it and Netflix three years ago because it was too distracting).

But now, September looms.

As much as I struggled, cried, whined and complained for the duration of the CIP program, it felt good to be working on something. I am one of those people that needs an end game, a concrete end goal, a final total, if I hope to accomplish anything. I can’t work in ambiguities.

Now it’s all free time and creative play over here and my psyche is having a hard time adjusting. And let me tell you, I would never have expected this. My whole life, I’ve been a terrible student. I’m smart, but school was always so boring for me. Homework was only done at the last minute. Exams were never studied for. Marks were in no way a big deal.

I used to daydream so hard in class, I told my mom that parts of my day would go missing from my brain. They tested me for epilepsy because of that!

I wanted nothing more than to be done school, always. After high school, my parents forced me to enrol in university because, in their minds, if I didn’t go right away, I probably wouldn’t go at all (they may have been right).

After three weeks of university, I pulled a voluntary withdrawal when I got accepted to the college program I actually wanted to go to. Of course, I left college after a year because I got a job in my field and never looked back.

The fact I even went back, as a grown adult, and put myself through any further education is borderline miraculous.

I wanted nothing more than to be done the cursed CIP and just TAKE A BREAK. Now I’m on my break and wondering, what now?

I have some ideas for my next educational pursuit(s), but I am forcing myself to taking that until-2018 break. I need it. I need to re-wire my brain after that constant class/study/exam cycle. I need to reconnect with myself, and probably also my friends that I have been ducking for study time over the past five years.

But it’s the voices of my parents that loom in the background, telling me that if I don’t jump to the next thing, there will never be another next thing. These are the voices that fill me with dread. Should I stop? Can I stop?

The fact I’m hearing these voices seem as good a reason as any to keep on taking a break. I’ve read three books since my final exam. I’m going to try to keep rolling with that.

*immediately begins googling university diploma programs*

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