I've been feeling really stressed by my job right now. Time-sensitive issues are piling up and there has been a rash of project politics (as opposed to family politics or office politics) that test my patience sorely. Fortunately, I have some more help now, but management has its own challenges.
In addition, I haven't been able to take a vacation, mainly because I don't have any extra cash to go anywhere far away (which is where I want to go!). FS is going to Spain in October for two weeks and I am very jealous.
In the midst of this, I suddenly decide NOW is the time to take the Architectural Registration Exams (hereafter referred to as ARE). Most people take a year to do them. I plan to get them done in 5 months. I'm a good test taker and don't plan on having much of a life outside of studying for the exams. And I want to get this over with!
Short description of the ARE: in order to get my architectural license, and move up to the next phase of my career (ie. make more money -- I already do the work of an architect), I need to pass 9 exams. All are on the computer. Three of them are graphic exams, done with a rudimentary drafting program, and are graded by a person. The other six are multiple choice, and are computer graded (and yet, we don't get scores for a week or two).
I'm taking the graphics tests first, partially because I have to wait the longest for results for them. Also, one of my strengths is problem solving, which is the focus of the graphic exams. All I have to do is understand what they are wanting to see and make sure I'm comfortable with the program.
The multiple choice tests come next. They require more memorization, but I still have to think like they do.
The not-so-funny thing is that the tests have little to do with real life and more to do with having a rite of passage. People proving that they are "worthy" of having the title of architect. But I've known people I respect who have trouble passing (because they have trouble with tests, I imagine) and people whom I don't respect who HAVE passed (maybe they paid someone to take the tests for them).
I don't expect to have trouble. I'll do a reasonable amount of studying and pass. I'm a good test taker. I'm reasonably smart.
Except I'm adding stress at a time of extremely high stress. Maybe not so smart.