Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Post By a Guest Blogger - Experience In The CMA SLP Program (Year 1, Module 2 - Toronto Group)

In February I posted on this blog looking for current CMA students to share their current and recent experiences in the CMA program. Below is a post that was written by a Guest Blogger who is currently in Year 1 of the SLP, in a Toronto Group. I hope everyone finds this helpful!
Many thanks to the writer of this post who took the time to write an honest and personal take on their experience so far in the program!
"I wanted to share my experience being in the SLP program. I am in the middle of Year 1,Module 2 in a Toronto group. The ride so far has been a constant mix of highs and lows.
Beware - every concept you ignore or gloss over comes back to (bite you in the butt) HAUNT you!
I would enjoy this experience so much more if I weren’t weighed down by responsibilities (other than a busy job) – but hey, that’s life! Time management is critical and a personal commitment is essential. I put in a lot of time in each of my assignments in Module 1, but didn’t keep up the effort in Module 2. The results are evidence of my effort in most cases. I have run the gamut of assessment feedback – from receiving an AE to a BE. What can I say – I don’t think the program is hard, it is a lot of work though, and you need to keep up. It challenges you.
My struggles are uninspiring – in a nutshell, they are time management, motivation, and assignments!
Motivation – its up one moment, down the next. Sometimes all I can do is put one foot in front of the other; just keeping up with assignments and readings seems to be a monumental effort. I do envy all those who seem to have it all together – assignments done well ahead of time (with an excellent mark to boot!). I don’t know if I am the average Joe here, or exceptionally behind the class curve!
Time Management – I still have to find my groove in terms of finding a pattern that works to constantly keep up with all the studying. Some assignments take longer than others. I found required assignment readings very valuable, and applying them to my organization challenged me to think hard.
Assignments - every assignment I went through seemed to follow a typical pattern – it seems a breeze at first read. I then start going through the readings, and now my head is filled with all this added information - I see assignment questions in a new light. The clock is ticking away, and I better start the actual task of writing the assignment. This stage is the biggest stumbling block, and takes me the most amount of time. I proceed with what seems to be the most logical answer, but inevitably have to rethink my position as I work through supporting arguments. Most times, another position seems better, and I repeat the cycle of re-presenting my answer. By the time this has happened 3-4 times I am thoroughly confused. In some cases, there is no more time and I submit what I think is the best answer – but really, I am far from convinced. At other times, I persist for many more hours, and low and behold, I begin to see light at the end of the tunnel – the confusion starts melting away, and now there is renewed energy in re-doing my work, one more time. Arguments flow seamlessly, everything just comes together. How can I explain the high? Even as I submit my work, I know I have done excellent work. The satisfaction is tremendous, and I feel I am on the right track with my CMA program.
I struggled the most (and still do) with case writing. I feel inundated with so much information - where do I begin, how do I make sense of it all, which calculations should I use (doesn’t seem intuitive to me at all), how do I tie it all together, and most importantly, how do I stop second guessing myself? In this case, there seems to be no end to the self inflicted torture of trying to make sense of all my jumbled thoughts and calculations. Further, time spent on case assignments is not proportional to the assessment received. I got an ME- in case work assignments, but I don’t know that I really understand what it would take to improve my work. I wish I could see someone else’s work that merited an AE. At the interactive session, when moderators debriefed cases in a class discussion, analysis seemed so easy and the logic flowed so well. I kept wondering why it had all seemed so difficult and overwhelming when I attempted cases on my own. I also felt like a first class idiot to have allowed the case assignments to literally take over my life, and stress me out so much!
I guess the struggle will continue for the foreseeable future. Friends assure me that my confusion is all too common, and it will pass, that the moderators are supportive and through interactive sessions and future assignments, eventually, I would be able to do a case in 4 hours. I am quite skeptical at this point. It just seems clear to me that I need to put in so much more time, effort and practice until I can master  the skills to attempt case analysis successfully!
Overall, the first few months of my SLP program feel like a roller coaster. I have alternated between thoughts of giving up this ambition of earning my designation and a recognition, that slowly, but surely, I am evolving - developing the critical thinking and case analysis skill sets I need to be successful in this profession, and with each passing day, assignment by assignment, I am getting that much closer to getting my designation and making this journey worthwhile!"

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