BOOM! I passed! #27143
Well I finally did it! After a year and half of studying practically
every day I am happy to say I am CCIE #27143! I am proud to say I
failed the exam 4 times, I wear each one like a badge of honor. And for
$1,400 each, those badges are made of a rare gold/titanium/diamond
composite material, they are beautiful.
My road to becoming a CCIE had
many unexpected twists and turns. I got my CCNA back in 2002. I
studied for 2 months and passed it on my 1st try, so I must be pretty
darn good right? Well in 2005 I decided to try for my CCNP. I soon
discovered I had let my CCNA expire, so I had to retake that first.
Within 6 months I passed the CCNA and all 4 CCNP tests, so I must be the
man right? Then I got my first real networking job and soon discovered
that I was truly just a paper champion and had no clue how to design or
configure anything. I learned on the job and quickly got up to speed.
Feeling pretty good about myself I decided it was time to test my metal
and go for the CCIE, time to see what I was really made of!! Having no
clue what I was in for, I jumped on with INE and started Workbook I,
page 1, and soon found out I was made out of a doughy, soupy mixture of
gross ignorance. Its true what they say about "not knowing how far down
the rabbit hole goes". It basically means I didn't know what I didn't
know. There was no light at the end of the tunnel because I couldn't
even find the entrance into the tunnel to start with. I was to scared
to even read the Anthony's expanded blue print because it may as well
have been Greek to me. But I kept my head down and kept plugging away
with the faith that eventually, if I didn't give up, the dust would
settle and everything would start to become clear.
Many many months
later I started to get that feeling, the feeling that I at least knew
all the topics needed to pass the test in a small way. It was just a
matter of becoming expert at all of them as fast as I possibly could. I
spent month after month after month studying these topics and doing
Workbook II labs. Finally I couldn't take it anymore, had decided I had
to schedule the Lab Exam and see where I was, I needed a gauge of my
progress. You other Type A personalities out there know what I am
talking about. I studied day and night for the month leading up to the
test and thought I was ready. I bombed that exam so bad it could be
heard in Tampa.
I went back a month later and took it again, then
again, then again. That 4th one really hurt. I felt like I was as
prepared as I could be, felt like I aced it, but had failed. I truly
contemplated giving up. I told myself that hey, this test is hard, not
everyone can pass it and you just might be one of those people. I was
almost completely burned out on it...the studying, the hemorrhaging of
money, the dream of achieving my goal. But with the support and
encouragement of my family, I gathered whatever bit of will power that
was left and scheduled my 5th exam. One more time, I said.
down my weakest topics and attacked them with everything I had. One
such topic was QOS, and INE really stepped up and did whatever they
could to get me over that hump, I am very grateful. I arrived at RTP
feeling more confident than ever and went in there Friday not to just
take the test, but to own that test! And own it I did. I knew I had
passed it before the seafood lunch break (it was good!). I was smiling
throughout the test knowing I had finally beaten something that beaten
my so many times before, and I'm not sure I've stopped smiling since.
So to all my fellow pursuers who might be thinking of giving up, DO
NOT! It is so worth it. Take it from someone who started this whole
thing at "1+1" and has taken it all the way to friggin string theory.
It is something no one can take away from you, ever! Thanks to INE and
all my friends at the IEOC, couldn't have done it without you!
Arrie Jones, aka SpongeWorthy, aka #27143!!!!!