Have you ever heard of that phrase, “work-life balance?” Well try “work, life, school, CPA balance” for a little extra challenge! The thought of achieving those three little letters every accountant dreams of- “CPA“- can be quite daunting, especially if you are trying to study while you are in school. But, I am here to reassure you, it is possible!
This semester, I am enrolled in 6 classes, I work 10 hours a week, study 15-20 hours a week for the CPA (plus some more for school work of course), and I still have a social life, believe it or not! Some of you reading this might think to yourself that’s crazy, but I can reassure you, it is more doable than you think. The second semester in the MAcc program is a great time to begin studying for the CPA due to the ability to take more elective classes of your choice. So if you follow my three pieces of advice for how to succeed in balancing your work, life, school, CPA grind, you too can achieve success!
- Make a detailed study plan for the CPA exam and stick with it.
For instance, I know that before my Monday, Wednesday classes, I will study for 3 hours each day. Also, I don’t have class on Fridays, so after work, I will head to the library to study for about 5 hours, and I will do the same on Saturdays and Sundays. Additionally, schedule your CPA exam early on in the studying process to set a deadline for yourself to avoid procrastination.
2. Study with friends and find places that work for you to study.
I find one of the most motivational aspects of studying for the CPA is knowing that other classmates in the MAcc are in the same boat as me! So if you grab a friend and study with them, it will help you both be more accountable with your study plan. Additionally, make sure to go somewhere you feel most comfortable studying. For some people, that’s going to a new coffee shop, but for others, like me, that’s going to the library or studying in my apartment. So remember to do what’s best for you.
3. Designate specific hours of the week to hang out with friends and block that time off.
Every Monday night, for example, I designate time to go to my student organization meetings and then coming home and watching the bachelor with my friends. Then on another day of the week, I will either go to a sporting event or plan an evening activity with my friends. And of course, I still leave my Friday and Saturday nights open for any fun I want to have with my friends. But, it is critical to leave time to hang out with friends every single week to stay sane!!
As easy as those three tips may sound, I highly recommend you follow through. Otherwise, you will either end up being extremely stressed about the process, or you will procrastinate studying!