Aaaand we’re back.

Where’d you go? It’s been all silence for at least a month!

Just kidding. It’s not you, it’s me: I was busy doing busy things [read: procrastinating on studying]. So really I have no excuse for not blogging. You’d think I’d have been posting twice a day. You know, in all the time I should’ve been studying, but was clearly just examining air molecules. Did you miss me?

In other news, I just received word yesterday that I passed my written final, so that’s good news. I was on the fence about how I’d done. I wasn’t too worried, being that I’ve only ever failed one other test in my life, and it was finance and so I don’t care, because I passed the course. So there, Finance.

And now you have get to read about that exam. Finance was my nemesis during my MBA days. It didn’t make sense, it involved math and therefore was The Worst. Accounting also involved numbers, but at least it made sense: Debits and credits, people. Cash in, cash out. Just for the record, accounting totally made me cry, too (okay, I made me cry about accounting), but it made waaaaaay more sense than finance.


On the last day of class before the finance final, we did what one does in every penultimate class and reviewed the concepts we’d covered over the previous months. Oh, wait—nope, no she didn’t. My finance prof did NOT review anything, but instead taught one last concept: Weighted Average Cost of Capital, or WACC (and yes, I did call it “whack” in my head, feeling like I was winning by name calling).

She thought this was okay. I did not. “But Rachelle,” she said condescendingly, or what others would’ve described as encouragingly, “it’s the same as what you’ve already learned. We’re just putting it together.”

No, I thought, it is most definitely NOT the same.

“You need to understand,” she snipered (or said kindly. Whatever).

No, I do not. I do not need to understand. I need to pass. Scrape by (“scraping by” in the MBA program meant anything above a B, which was some ridiculously high percentage, like 90%. Anything less was a fail.).

I wanted to complete finance and never use it again.


I go home and study effectively freak out because I can’t. Get. This. Thing. It makes no sense. It’s not going to be on the formula sheet, because it’s supposed to be so frigging “understandable”.

This is when Adam reminded me that I knew how to study and it didn’t include hurling myself on the sword of the thing I understood the least, but rather reviewing my strongest areas. Excel where you can and take the hit on the things you don’t get, instead of trying to ace the stuff you don’t know and then missing the stuff you would’ve known if you hadn’t wasted all your study time on the financial equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle.

This guy. He is smart. So that’s what I did. It was common sense. After all, how much could a few questions on one topic be worth? We had a whole course to be test on our knowledge.

This was good thinking. Until I got to the exam and turned over my paper. The exam was out of 35. This is never a good sign. There are a lot of points on each question. You mess up a few answers and those heavily weighted percents really start to add up. Or down, I suppose, more accurately describes what happens.

Like any good student, I flipped through so as to see the beast I was facing. And this is when I saw the one question on WACC. Yup. Just one measly little question, which is good news, right?



I wrote the rest of the exam. I was pretty sure I did okay, but I knew I hadn’t aced 21 questions. Then I stared at the WACC question. I stared at the wall. I had more than 1.5 hours left of the exam and nothing to do but cry (which I did), pray (looking upward for divine intervention/inspiration) and worry. Oh, and write a passive aggressive note about why I couldn’t answer the stupid question.

Then I went out into the hallway and burst into [more] tears. I’d failed. If I failed finance, I didn’t get to rewrite: It was one of the few classes in which a fail meant a mandatory retaking of the whole bloody course. Extra time, extra tuition and, let me be honest, I could take the course about 30 times and still not get the bloody concepts.

It was the end of the world. Seriously, I think purgatory for me would involve a never-ending finance class. It’d be a special kind of hell.

Anyway, long story made short: I failed the exam. But, let the record show that I got 17/35. Yup. One-half a percent more and I’d have ridden the pass line. So, I was pretty impressed with myself.

Oh, and I’d busted my rear on all the course work all term, so when all was said and done, my class work grade carried my failed exam score and I passed the course.




Confessions of a Professional Writing Minor.

You guys, I had the best topic ever picked out on Sunday. So good, in fact, that I knew I didn’t need to write it down. It was that good.

Good or not, however, it turns out, my memory is that bad. I was hoping it would come back to me, but alas! It has not. I even went up and down a bunch of stairs, in case I’d left it on a different floor (I feel like this method may work better if you actually have stairs in your abode, which I do not). But nope, it’s gone.

Lucky for you (I hope), I have some drafts half-written. See? Procrastination does work.

So today, I have a brief yarn about my last final exam during my undergraduate reign. When it takes you seven years to procure your bachelor’s degree, it’s officially a reign, as opposed to a mere academic sojourn.

Now, I majored in anthropology and I minored in professional writing, after a brief foray into a creative writing major (“Oh, you don’t like my fictional main character’s hair colour? Tough beans.”) and then getting enough credits in history and psychology to have gone a plethora of directions (after four years, they will make you choose a major).

After the requisite two years of journalism (“Rachelle, you can’t just make up facts in a lead,” my prof said. “What? I’m sure the royal corgis didn’t just sit there and watch the flames lick their fur!”), I grasped onto creative nonfiction like a cat in a bathtub clings to the tile grouting.

Why creative nonfiction? Because you get to make shit up, is why. I get to tell stories, but I’m allowed to make them better. By exaggerating. Hyperbole. It’s like a million times better than journalism. See what I did there? I get to embellish. It’s like I write stories and then use a Bedazzler on them to make ’em sexier (if this can be considered sexy. I submit that it cannot.).

Anyway. The classes for fine arts degrees are sporadic, since the faculty is small and the students of writing few and far betwixt. So, for the last course of my degree, which was offered once every Age of Aquarius, after a blue moon when the sky shines purple and the faun dances with the president, we had a bunch of creative nonfiction to read. Suffice it to say that I had not, in fact, completed any of the readings. Interestingly, my literacy level declined the longer I remained in post-secondary. Unless it was a mystery, fantasy or cheesy-ass romance novel, its pages and their contents were not graced by mine eyes in any great detail (I’m not proud of this and I’m sadly not making it up, either).

My professor, a renowned writer in her own right, had me pegged. “Rachelle,” she said, “I can tell when you’ve read the least of a book, because that’s when you always have the most to say.” She wasn’t wrong. This lady, she had all the great instincts.

You see, in grade 11, my social anthropology teacher (I took International Baccalaureate courses—but not the full diploma, thanks to chemistry being so frigging hard—so we had interesting options) once mentioned something similar: “Rachelle, I know you pull out the shovel, but I can’t tell where the truth ends and where your bullshit begins.” I think he was trying to say I’m a genius. Obviously. I was made for creative nonfiction. This is me choosing an empowering interpretation.

Regardless, this a skill (super power?) served me pretty darn well over the academic years. I wrote an (multiple?) entire paper(s?) (the night before, naturally, despite knowing about the deadline for three full months) by finding keywords in the index and then writing my supporting points completely out of context of the research/book, which of course, I’d never read, on account of it not being a mystery, fantasy or cheesy-ass romance novel. Well, and the fact it was like 3 am and the paper was due in seven hours.

I digress.

NB: This renowned writer and professor shall, for my purposes here, remain nameless. After all, I don’t know what the statute of limitations is for her to change my final grades and I don’t want to risk it.

This is the best magnet I have on my fridge. Très apropos, n'est-ce pas?

This is the best magnet I have on my fridge.
Très apropos, n’est-ce pas?

So, fast forward to the final exam. It’s open book, on any of the six books we’d covered (well, the six books they’d all covered and about which I’d bullshat ad nauseam). The night before the exam is also Adam’s company Christmas party. I was going to attend (what? I needed to eat dinner regardless, right?), but I was absolutely not going to have anything to drink, and I was going straight home afterward to speed read all my exam books and absorb their information by sniffing the spines (that’s where all the good stuff is). And then I wrote the exam and got 100 percent. This is exactly what I did.

No it’s not. This is a lie. Well, part of it, but I won’t tell you which part just yet. The other part is, at the least, a pretty magnificent expansion of the truth. What really happened is someone forced me to drink a mojito (“Okay, well, just one”) and then it became a contest and oh lord I have no idea what happened after that, but sobriety was definitely not on the list.

We made it home (I think? I don’t remember where I slept, to be honest, but I’m pretty sure Adam got us home) and I went to bed. I needed to be well-rested for my exam, right? So I could get up early and cram six books into my brain before my 9 am test. The last-ever exam of my seven-year undergraduate degree.


I totally overslept, since I had not, in fact, set an alarm. When I woke up, I swore profusely—”oh shitshitshitshitshit!” (because profanity always helps)—and put on clothes (maybe? It’s possible I wore my pyjamas) and somehow made it to school a solid 25 minutes into the exam. Well done, Bay. You should’ve seen The Look I got for my tardiness. I would’ve thought a little recognition for my determination to show up might not have been misplaced. I was like Frodo climbing Mordor, for crying out loud. Riddled with guilt and fear. And unlike the hobbit, I was hungover, to boot.

It was at this point I realized I’d left all my books AT HOME. Because that’s a good place for them to be during an OPEN BOOK EXAM. Good grief. So then, during the exam, I had to sneak around to beg surplus books off my fellow students. Why she didn’t toss my sorry ass out, I’ll never know. I took any book someone wasn’t using. Not like it mattered, really, since I’d read all of them in equal detail, which is to say, none at all whatsoever.

So then, I wrote like a madwoman, or certainly like one who has supremely wagged the dog and is trying to rush through an exam for which she is completely unprepared and late, to boot, all the while avoiding the laser beams boring into the crown of my unbrushed head from the desk at the front of the room.

I managed to look adequately and abashedly ashamed of myself when I handed in my exam and slunk out of the exam room, tail between my legs (just for the record, I don’t actually have a tail, in case you read that literally). This was when I realized that I would need to repeat an entire year, just to take one bloody course again, because there was no way I didn’t fail that exam. DAMN YOU MOJITOS. DAMN YOU TO HELL AND BEYOND.

A couple of weeks later, I was checking my photojournalism marks in the Fine Arts Building, when I ran into my creative nonfiction professor. Really, I just didn’t have time to duck into a bathroom or closet or garbage bin to avoid her. That’s when she smiled and congratulated me on my final exam score. I tried to remain nonchalant, because I just knew  she was about to tell me I failed and then do a jig to celebrate my pain.

“It was a perfect exam, Rachelle. 100 percent,” she smiled beatifically.

What. The. Eff. I glanced at her suspiciously through narrowed eyes, waiting for the guillotine to drop. It didn’t.

To this day, I’ll never know if I actually aced the exam, or if she fudged it when she realized she’d just have to deal with me a year later if I failed. It doesn’t really matter, though, does it? Not even one percent (because there’s no percent to spare when you ACE THE FINAL EXAM!).

All of this story is true, except for the parts that are obviously embellished. I’m (almost, but not really) ashamed to say it is more truth-based than most of my creative nonfiction. More nonfiction than creative, if you will.

The 100 percent is pure fact.



Back to the future.

So, as you may or may not know, my amazingly talented, clever and handsome Adam is <<this>> close to completing his law degree. Tell you what; it’s not a moment too soon. Seriously, between my MBA and his Law degree, this most-recent round of post-secondary education has been epic. Not complaining, because wouldn’t that be extremely first-world-problems of me, but still. Still. We have acquired great friends, fabulous experiences, much learning and debt. Oh, Debt: You are a cruel mistress. I will not be sorry to see you go (whenever that may be, which, according to Canada Student Loans, is approximately 3 months into the year 2326).

Adam is also doing coaching training, so he can be using his significant talents and inspiring enthusiasm to help people to find themselves and to follow their true paths. It’s a pretty noble calling. He is also currently looking for articles, which is a new development (that I think is a very good idea for many reasons, after many changes in direction). This is where we might see some big changes.

You see, finding articles can be tricky. They’re very tricksy and they like to hide on the nice law students who seek them. Sometimes, they hide under rocks, in treasure chests in sunken/hidden pirate ships in secret lagoons (oh, wait—no, that was The Goonies) and in places like <<gasp>> Saskatchewan. Now, I love this great country, but I kind of sort of have no real use for the middle bits. I’m sure they’re lovely, to some people. Mainly to those people who are prairie people. I am just not those people. I have lived on one coast or the other, my whole life. I like the water. Endless rolling fields make me nervous.

I am maintaining positive thoughts that we will get to remain here in Victoria. Otherwise, we are moving and I’m trying to maintain positive thoughts about that option, too. This is harder for me. Those who know me may understand that I am somewhat, just a little bit, entirely resistant to change. I’m working on it. But seriously you guys, I come by it honestly: Did you know that by the time I was 4 years old, I had lived in Nova Scotia, then British Columbia, then Nova Scotia again? And by the time I was 7.5 years old, I was back in BC? I’d attended three elementary schools by half-way through grade 1.

If I count the moves I can recall between apartments growing up (after age 4 and before I moved out on my own at age 22), I lose count at 15 moves. I know I’m missing some, but regardless, that’s a lot of moves. I mean, maybe not if you are a military family, though I still think it’s above average even in that circle. But the thing is, I’m not from a military family. All that moving  has left me averse to things I am working on overcoming, such as shifting furniture. Also my fear of cardboard boxes.

Hence why I’m working on my attitude to moving for a year for articles. I’m trying to think of it as a grand adventure. Sometimes, I think it would be really cool to live somewhere completely new for a while. After all, nearly all of Adam’s fellow students (and our dearest friends, whom we’ll miss when they move back home), dropped everything and came out here for three whole years!

What would I do? Would I lose my job? Would we have to sell our home (strata rules dictate that we can’t rent it out)? I don’t know the answers to those questions. I do know, however, that no matter what, it’ll all work out. Because it always does (check out Adam’s speech if you don’t believe me).

That wasn’t a very amusing post. It probably would’ve been more funny if you were able to see me counting apartments on my fingers. Several times. Because I lost count. On my own fingers. How is that even possible?

The last person I saw having difficulty counting on his fingers...

An MBA who can’t even effectively count on her fingers. No wonder Finance made me cry…