Achieving my CIP designation was definitely one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. It took tons of time and dedication and a “can do” attitude to keep pushing myself to move forward. The CIP designation consists of 10 courses, taken by correspondence or in a class room environment if I was lucky. Although you could complete hand-in assignments or write mid term exams to help bump up your overall mark, the exam was pass or fail. It all came down to a 3 hour exam where you prayed you could retain enough of the details in the 200-300 page text book to answer the questions.
I dedicated over 3 and 1/3 years and literally thousands of study hours. I sacrificed countless hours of family time, not to mention the fun times I gave up on so I could study. My house was usually a disaster the month preceding the exam and it’s quite possible my sanity was sacrificed during this time. My daughter was between the ages of 1 and 4, and most evenings I would be found at the kitchen table making study notes after she was in bed.
However, as much as I would like to complain about this sacrifice, my CIP was one of the biggest achievements I’ve ever completed. I developed personal mantras like “Nothing in life worth having ever came easy” and “failure is not an option”. This last one came when I decided it was smart to take 2 in the same semester. Not so smart, but I passed both exams. It also taught me that I really could do anything I set my mind to (and made me wish I had dreamed bigger in high school when I was picking a post secondary education course of action). So dream big and set your mind to it, believe me, anything is possible and I have a piece of paper to prove it.
I am a strong believer in education, never stop learning. Even if it means online courses, reading books or taking courses to further your career. The best thing you can do is invest in yourself.
Make a career bucket list! Your future self will thank you for it.