Back On Track

passed

There nothing quite like seeing the word “Pass” come up on the screen after you finish answering that last question.  There are a few moments of tension, waiting for the computer to spit out your results;  Did I study hard enough?  Did I truly learn the material for this exam?  Did I just blow a couple hundred bucks on a failed attempt?

Then the score report validates everything you’ve done over the last few months with a nice four-letter-word:

Pass

It’s hard to maintain dignity and consideration for the other exam writers in the room, and knowing everything is on camera and in view of the stern watchful eyes of the exam proctor, you know you have to hold in that real celebration until you’ve gotten outside the building, or at least into the elevator.  A few fist pumps maybe, and probably a fairly Cheshire-Cat-Esque grin on your face.

642-813 – Implementing Cisco IP Switched Networks (SWITCH) – done!

Procrastination

I know I’m not alone out there. There are plenty of us studying towards certifications or other academic achievements who know they should be putting in more time reading or doing labs. In my progress towards the CCNP I could have probably passed all three exams by now had I focused a little more and spent more time learning and less time doing other things. Sometimes life gets in the way, right? It’s not an excuse, I recognize that it’s a choice for me, and it’s also something I’ll have to really think about and decide how I want to approach the next exam. Like many out there I have a job, a wife, a kid, and many other things in life that limit the amount of time that can be dedicated to studying or labbing.  If I truly plan on achieving my long term goal of “CCIE by 40” some sacrifices will have to be made.

I left Cisco Live last year truly motivated to continue my studies. Spending a week surrounded by other networkers who have multiple certifications and great careers will do that to you. Looking back it’s hard to tell exactly how motivated I was since that was June and here it is in April with the first of three CCNP exams finally passed. It has been a good 9 months in other areas that’s for sure, and perhaps I can’t measure the success of the past 9 months by looking only at my certification progress.

As an example, I’ve also taken great strides in my health and fitness.  I’ve lost 50 pounds since July of 2012. Nothing special here really, just diet and exercise. I didn’t cut out carbs, or take any weird mail-order supplement that was the “fad diet du jour”, I simply started counting calories, got a personal trainer to kick my ass 5-6 hours a week and work out on my own 1-2 hours a week on top of that.  I feel awesome.  Clothes shopping isn’t a total hassle, and I’m finally going to be able to wear that Speedo this summer.

It’s all about the big picture, right?

What’s Next

642-902 – Implementing Cisco IP Routing (ROUTE) – is next on the agenda. I’m truly hoping to take the momentum from this pass and carry it forward into an awesome study plan for this one.  I don’t do a lot of layer 3 work in my day job so there is going to be some real fundamental learning happening here, and I’m looking forward to it.

CCNP R&S Progress-O-Meter:

SWITCH – 4/6/2013

ROUTE – In progress…(again)

TSHOOT – 1/24/2015

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