Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Stupid should hurt

Okay so as you may be aware, I'm currently working on my MBA.  And this term I decided to do a full-time student course load.  While still working full time.  But I'm a reasonably good student and ridiculously good at sticking to a schedule, so I worked out the study plan and decided I could do it.  All good.   Remember that ;-P

Now while I'm actually getting a ton out of the courses, the school's admin is a disaster.  There are SO many problems and it's super-frustrating.  One of these nightmares is acknowledgement of capabilities.  One of the courses is project management.  The curriculum listed is within my ability to teach, and all stuff I can do in my sleep.   So I applied for an exemption.  They said I'd need to submit my resume and proof of meeting the learning objectives.  Okay cool.   So I send my resume, proof of various courses I've taken, documented how I address all the learning objectives in my day job, sent some sample artefacts w made up data, AND got two sponsors, my current manager and my past manager to all write letters of recommendation specifically addressing the items listed in the "learning outcomes".   Thanks to my awesome people, they were detailed and targeted.  Should be good to go right?

Nope - I get back an email saying that what I sent "demonstrates that she is an experienced and knowledgeable project manager. However, more supporting documents are needed".   So I kept reading to find what they wanted -- well apparently I needed to "provide a list of PM techniques and concepts that you have applied in your work. Also briefly reflect on your experience and explain how utilising these concepts helped you to effectively managing projects as a program/project manager. To support your claims, please submit additional supporting documents which can clearly demonstrate your understanding of the following topics:

- Project definition

- Project scheduling and estimation

- Risk management

- Strategies for successful implementation of a project"

I'm not even kidding.   WTF?   So I have to basically write a fluff paper (which, if I wanted to write a paper, I'd just do the course), and submit artefacts, that I can't submit because they're all confidential and owned by RBC.  And in the school's own policy it says never to use work items without explicit approval.   So yeah - I was super annoyed.  They basically say they know I can do what they're supposed to be teaching, but too bad.  Oh - and on top of that 'we're updating the curriculum so you'll have to resubmit to meet the new objectives'.  I was not amused.

Except -- somebody else let me know if you have your PMP, it's an automatic exemption.  Hmmm okay.  So I verified that and got it in writing - it's a true story.  Right, so I've actively avoided doing the PMP because I really strongly feel it's a test of memorization more than competency.  BUT, it is the most recognized certification in North America (it exists elsewhere too, but other ones outrank it across the pond).  So my options are - do the MBA course, roughly twice the cost of doing the PMP, bitterly resent every minute of it, and not get anything extra out of it.  Or do the PMP, have extra letters after my name, and get out of doing the MBA course.   Right - kinda a no brainer.

Okay so I look into what it takes to do the PMP.  Need to document formal education and 3 years of PM exp, and need 35h of formal training.  Okay no problem.   PM course for MBA is in April, so have to be done PMP by then.  Say by Feb ideally to give ridiculous admin time for back and forth.

Right - except the PMP exam is being revised; the new exam starts being issued Jan 2.   And the new material to learn for the new exam?  Yeah - it's being released in March.   Awesome.  Right, so I don't want to do that.   Sooooo need to get my PMP before Dec.  It was the last week of Nov at this point.

Okay sure.  Look up exam options first of all - is it even possible?  Well COVID win - exam is now done online and very flexible scheduling.   Sweet.  Then course options, found one that runs four days from Dec 7-10.  Huh.  Okay.  So reach out to my boss, "I haven't had any training in 3 years, could I go on this course that's specifically targeted to my job and enables me to get the certification you want me to have?"  While they weren't able to fund said course, they were able to support me going during work time.  So win there too.  And they would pay for the exam if I passed.  Sweet.

Alright so scheduling...   Google says one should study for 3 months for this exam.  I'm sure five weeks will be fine.   And it probably would've been...    Except...  Well, I don't really want to stress over this over Xmas, so let's do it before.  Okay so 4-ish weeks...    So I order a couple textbooks off of Amazon (after a quick research to pick the best ones) and add to my study schedule of how to get this done in with all my course work.   Final assessments are due Dec 10, and the course starts on the 7th.  So I figured out what I'd have to do to have the textbooks read and be prepped for the course and good to go.

bwahahaha right.  Remember that whole FT student thing?  I drastically underestimated what that would take.  The term papers destroyed me.  I put SO much time and effort into getting them done, that there was about one chapter of PMP prep.   *sigh*    Less good, but such is life.  Rejig the calendar to get all my studying in and target exam Dec 21.   Are you tracking with the dates?  We've gone from 3 months to about 3 weeks...

And then the course was the absolute biggest waste of time I've ever been subjected to.   On the plus side, one of the textbooks I bought was *amazing* - like to the point that I looked up the series to see if they taught any other subjects I might want to learn (I'm moderately considering physics.  I always enjoyed physics till it required calculus *sigh*).  Sadly though most of their subjects are programming related, which I have zero interest in.   If anyone else is, look up the "Head First" series.  It's ridiculous and simplified, and -- actually worked.  So win.  The second textbook was far more traditional, but it balanced out that one and between them I was forcing knowledge into my little brain.   Every moment that wasn't otherwise booked was being used to study and do practice tests.   

And I was a little panicked at first as I wasn't scoring all that well on the practice tests.  A pass is somewhere around 65 and they say you should be doing about 80 on the tests before you do the exam.  At the start I was barely making the 65 but by the end I was pretty consistently over 80, so that helps.

So okay, finished the course, went to book the exam and...  It turns out the whole world wants to get the exam in before Jan 1.   Frig.  My only reasonable time of day option was on Thurs the 17th.  Right -- This was Tuesday and I still had 5 chapters left in both textbooks (out of 10).  Much less time for overall review.  Sure.  Why not.

Well my brain is broken.  But about 2 weeks of studying, 1310 pages (of which I read Every. Single. One. -- I've never been so glad I read quickly), several hours of online videos, 17 formulas memorized, and 1200 practice questions later...  I passed the exam.

I am *the* most relieved person right now.  Also, my brain is done.  It's a good thing work isn't super busy this week ;-P.  I won't get my term papers back till next week, but I'm hoping they'll be reasonable.  Oh and new class work is released tomorrow.  I'm going to ignore it till at least Mon lol.  I feel that's fair.

Also - those 17 formulas I memorized?   I didn't get to use a single one.  I was counting on those as gimmies.   Sheesh.   

And tomorrow I have a Spanish lesson cause I definitely haven't even pretended to study that for the last two weeks (unless working out w Spanish music playing counts?)

But this weekend, there will be no brain power used.


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