A lot can happen over the span of two weeks. The Olympics is a perfect and timely example. Well, for the past two weeks, I’ve had my own Olympic-like experience. I’ve spent countless hours studying in preparation for the AFAA personal training workshop this past weekend, where I took the written and practical exam to become certified as a personal trainer. If you asked me a month ago what my plan was, I was going to sit in on the workshop but wait until September to take the exam. Looking back, I just didn’t have the confidence to take the exam. I shied away from what I wanted and expected that I wouldn’t be prepared; I expected failure. But my whole life has provided me with experience studying for finals, self-scheduling exams, and preparing for athletic events, so how was this any different? Plus, I had the added incentive of enjoying the entirety of the Olympics/rest of my summer without thinking about studying!
It was only about a week before the workshop that something clicked in my brain that said, “take the exam.” It may have been part of a dream, my subconscious or the encouraging “little me” on my shoulder. Whatever it was, from that point on, I was convinced and determined to take the exam. Throughout the workshop, I took notes and asked questions that further prepared me for taking the final test. On Sunday, I still felt a little nervous, but what I mostly felt was calm, prepared, and happy that all my hard work was about to pay off. I still have to wait a month to actually find out whether I passed or not, but no matter the result, I feel proud of what I’ve accomplished. Of course passing would be great, but what this weekend was really about was getting over my fear and self-doubting, and that’s exactly what I did.
So many people in my life have encouraged me on my way towards becoming a trainer and shown their confidence in me, but that can only take me so far. Like an Olympic athlete, all the hours of training and encouragement from your support system all comes down to a single event. Nobody else was going to take that exam for me. This was the part of my journey where I really had to believe in myself. The ability to really believe in yourself is such an important tool to have in life, perhaps even more so for a personal trainer. If you can’t get yourself to do something, how on earth are you going to motivate someone else!?
As for now, I’m going to enjoy the rest of my summer, and hopefully I’ll have some good news to share in a month :)
While I’m usually all about getting my life organized and planned, I’m trying not to look at the calendar so much these days. Why? Besides being reminded that summer is already halfway through, I’ve also got nine days until the three-day AFAA workshop begins. AFAA is one of the many programs available to people who want to get certified as a personal trainer. This weekend workshop makes all the day-dreaming, studying, and discussions I’ve had about becoming a trainer a reality.
Typically the workshop includes lectures, practical demonstrations, and an examination. Since I’ve only been studying for a few weeks, I’m scheduling to do the exam portion on the next available date in D.C., which is in early September. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have to study and prepare myself for next weekend. I still have to know my stuff!
I know I have what it takes to do well at the workshop, but I’m still trying to balance a mixed bag of feelings. Anxious, excited, nervous, proud, and mostly in disbelief that I’m finally taking a big step towards becoming a personal trainer. The next few months will not only be an internal emotional balancing act, but also a test to balance my social, work, and study schedule. After all, summer is a popular time for plans with friends and family. I’ve got friends staying with me in August and I’m going up to the shores of Maine with my family over Labor Day weekend. My strategy to find balance? Find a shady place to lay outside and study at the same time – a perfect juxtaposition for my current situation; finding a moment of calm in a time of rapid changes.
So much for the lazy days of summer!
I graduated from college three years ago. Now that doesn’t seem like a long period of time, but it means that’s how long it’s been since I’ve had to study for an exam. I started reading through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) textbook to prep for my personal training certification exam, and I suddenly remembered how hard studying is. Or maybe it’s just been so long that I forgot how to study.
I’ve heard people say it’s easier to study after going to college for the following reasons:
- You’ve had years of schooling where you’ve established and fine-tuned all the basic study skills you need
- What you’re studying now is a personal choice, which means studying should be more meaningful/enjoyable/effortless
- If you’re working at a 9-5, you’ve got plenty of evening and weekend hours to dedicate to studying
But this list is missing one big factor, which is that you need practice in order to maintain or get better at something. I haven’t “practiced” studying in three years, which would mean that I’m out of practice. I’m not saying that I haven’t learned things over the past three years, it’s just been in a more real-life non-academic setting. I’ve attained skills that are practical and can help me in my daily life, which doesn’t include taking exams.
So, how does one get back into the practice of studying? If I knew the answer, I wouldn’t be asking the question. I’ve tried just diving right back into reading, taking notes, highlighting, and making flashcards. It’s been okay, but I still feel like there’s a step missing. Like with practicing a sport, if you haven’t played in a while, you don’t want to just go straight into it without adequately warming up. What I need is a mental warm-up that will get me back into studying shape. Any suggestions?