Braving Failures This New Mom Cleared The CA Exams Within A Year Of Having A Baby
- Anjana Prasanth was a Science student who decided to pursue Chartered Accountancy. She worked harder than the rest. But, just as she was about to give her CA finals, she got married.
- Later she was pregnant and had a new-born baby. People advised her to give up and get on with her new life. Yet, the new mom reappeared and failed again.
- She was determined, though. Anjana had to get the CA degree, no matter what. And, as her son turned one, she cleared her exams too. She now works as a management consultant in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
- Here’s a story about trying against all odds and never giving up.
Shifting Gears and Pursuing Chartered Accountancy
I hail from Kerala, India. Along with its backwaters and beaches, the state is also known for its active contribution in the field of Science - we have so many engineers, scientists, doctors and nurses from Kerala.
I too had chosen the Science stream in high school.
Soon though, I realized that I loved numbers. But, I did not want to continue ahead in Science. I had a penchant for finances too.
I sat down with my family members to discuss my career ahead. Many of them were established Chartered Accountants already - so, they advised me the same.
Thus, it was decided. I was to pursue Chartered Accountancy from the prestigious ICAI (The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India).
Challenges Faced & Challenges Tackled: My CA Journey
I had relocated from Science into a career that was all Commerce.
Initially, it was damn tough. Others in the course already had the basic knowledge needed for Accountancy. I lacked that. But, I had to build my career on it. The foundation had to be strong.
So, I worked twice as hard to get the basics right. Two things helped me get through — (1) Dedication and (2) Drive. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. (Cliché, but that’s the truth!)
My hard work paid off. I cleared the foundation and inter-level stages. But, it was the final stage of CA that tested me the most. And when I say ‘tested’, I mean it in all its sense!
CA is a tough exam. But, here, life was testing me - which is harder than CA.
So many things were happening in my life simultaneously. Other things gained priority and I lost my focus towards studies.
My CA Final exams were due in May 2014. But, at the end of 2013, I got married. My husband was in Dubai, but my exams were still due. So, after marriage, I decided to stay back in India for the exams. I failed that attempt again. I eventually decided to join my husband in the UAE and prepare for the CA Exams from Dubai ( Luckily, the ICAI has an exam center in Dubai as well).
After moving to Dubai I started preparing for the CA Exams but just then...I got to know that we were expecting our first baby, I was pregnant!!! We were all so excited, a beautiful chapter in our lives but I had this question - What about my CA Exams? So, I decided to continue studying for that attempt but unfortunately could not clear again. And I couldn’t appear for the next attempt as the exam dates coincided with my due date.
In the meanwhile, I returned to India for my delivery and our baby was born in November 2014. We were so happy, but my desire to complete CA was still very much alive. So, we decided that I stay back in India for a few more months and appear for the CA Exams from India.
My husband supported me wholeheartedly in my decision.
Studying For CA While Nursing A Newborn Baby
Now, I had a baby to take care of and had my studies too.
Motherhood isn’t easy, especially when it is your first child. And deciding to continue studying along with a new-born makes it all the more difficult. You get divided.
However, there was a constant voice echoing in my head that time was running fast and I had to complete it sooner than later. On top of that, I got the usual advice to put the study behind and concentrate on my baby. It used to stress me a lot. It even made me second-guess my decision.
There were times when frustration got the better of me. I even thought about leaving my
pursuit of a CA degree. But, I looked back at my journey so far and shrugged away all these momentary thoughts and I got back to working hard. I was determined.
There was a clock ticking inside my mind and a voice telling me constantly: “If not now, then never.” NOW was the time. And, I reattempted the exams in May 2015. But, this time too, I couldn’t pass.
I wanted to give up. It seemed that CA was not my cup of tea. But, my family, especially my father, stood by me. He knew how much I wanted it. So, he motivated me to give it another shot regardless of the outcome. I re-registered and started afresh.
My goals were clear: (1) Look after my baby well; and (2) Pass the CA exams. So, it was. I persevered.
"How I Adjusted My Study Schedule?"
To accommodate the changed priorities, I modified my study schedule. I got the time to study when my baby was sleeping. So, I mostly studied at night.
I synced my study routine with my baby’s sleep pattern. I would read on the bed with a small table, so I could keep a watch over him too.
My parents and my husband were my pillars of strength. They stood firm beside me -supporting me, encouraging me and lending me motivation throughout.
When I felt things were getting difficult or complicated, they showed me the way and
assured me that things would get just fine. Most of all, I knew they were there. So, I tried again.
Clearing CA (Third-Time Lucky!)
November 2015. I had my CA exams scheduled. My husband and I decided that come what may, after appearing for the exams we (our son and I) were to go back home in the UAE.
All the formalities for tickets and visas were completed. But, at the last minute, my exams got postponed. Rearranging everything needed efforts and incurred extra costs too. But when I indicated my willingness to write the exams, my husband agreed without hesitation. He knew how badly I wanted to pass the exams and how hard I had worked for it.
I was feeling a little guilty as I knew my husband was missing us a lot but when he said - Anjana, it is just a matter of few days and the cost is nothing in terms of the reward, it made me feel better.
And…luckily, I cleared that attempt. I was a Chartered Accountant. Finally!
Being A Mother And Starting Work As A CA In The UAE
One of my two goals was accomplished. I was a qualified CA.
Now, I dedicated all the time to my son, Manu. So, I did not start working immediately. I raised my child and waited till the time he was old enough to be left at daycare.
In August 2017, I joined a manufacturing company in Sharjah as a Management Accountant. In 2018, we shifted to Abu Dhabi as my husband got a big opportunity to work in the government sector. Presently I am working as a management consultant in a consultancy firm in Abu Dhabi.
5 Tips For People Who Want To Continue Study After Having A Baby
Been there. Done that. So, here’s my advice for all those new mommies and daddies looking to continue studying along with your wonderful bundle of joy:
1. Believe in yourself. You are a lot stronger and so much more capable than you think
you are. If you really want it, then just go for it. You got the power.
2. Looking after a new-born can be challenging initially. Take every change positively. It
will help you embrace the new life better.
3. Plan everything in advance and have a routine. Effective time management will help
you keep up with the new life and study as well.
4. Prioritize. That’s the magic word! Cut out all the extra activities (including social media
and gossip-calls too) and just focus on your goals.
5. Have trust in your support network. I know it is tough to leave your baby aside. But,
your parents or your husband/wife would handle the baby well. Leave your worries and
just study during the time allocated for that.
When I tell my story to people, I get many positive responses. But, the most asked question is: “How did you do it all?”
My answer: “I did what I had to do. I did because I wanted to. I was determined, so everything fell into place. Most of all, I never stopped trying.”
Was it easy? No.
Did I want to quit? Yes. YES!
What did you do then? I kept trying.
Was it worth it, though? Absolutely.
Looking back, the happiness and satisfaction that I got after completing CA and achieving my goals outweighed all the tiredness, stress, frustrations or any regrets that I felt during the journey.
It does NOT matter if you are single or married, have a child or no - All that matters is your DETERMINATION. In my case, I am very lucky to have a supportive family and a very encouraging life partner so it did make things a little easier.
NEVER GIVE UP.
Now It’s Your Turn!
Challenges come. Challenges go. The goal remains steadfast. The resolution remains
steadfast. YOU remain steadfast.
Do you have a goal that you want to achieve? Or are you feeling bogged down with the
Tell us your story in the comments. And don’t forget to share this with your friends.
(Edited and revised by Simran Doshi)
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