We Choose Actuary Exams

Written by Scott Kelly:

Hello actuarial students, my name is Scott Kelly.  It’s an honor to blog for CA!  I hope the tale of Scott Kelly is very interesting to you, I don’t have a typical actuary student background, but maybe you will find parts of me that you can relate to! Sc

I was a math major from Indiana University, in Bloomington Indiana.  This may sound immature, but I had no idea what kind of job a math degree could get you.  I couldn’t tell you what an actuary exam was even the day I got my diploma.

The math students at IU were awesome.  I was typically blown away in the classroom; I knew that a lot of the math students at IU were actuary students.  They were the ones that seemed to dominate.  I barely graduated; I narrowly made the core major 2.0 GPA mark that was required to walk away with a math degree.  I was very proud, as I was told many times to quit at this and try something else.  But just to get this far for me, I had to hire a personal tutor and spend many hours learning math I should have learned in high school.

I was also a wrestler at IU.  If you Google search “IU wrestling Scott Kelly,” you will see my bio at the first hit.  The school forgot to put in my senior year, but my senior year was my best year.  My role on the team was a supportive one, I was not the best wrestler, but I was there for the same reasons I majored in math.

My favorite memory of wrestling at IU was my last practice.  At the end of the year, most of the team that is not vital to preparing for the last tournament, the NCAA tournament, is released from practice.  I had stayed behind to help my friend Kurt Kinser get ready for the NCAA.  As other wrestlers know, the last practices of the year are the most brutal because everyone’s body is so torn from all the competition.  You become a 20 year old in a 50 year old body.  Despite feeling as torn as we did, Kurt and I had a barnburner practice, I recall being nearly put through a window after we went out of bounds at one point.  At the end, I had a large black eye, but I was satisfied because I knew that we worked very hard and we made sure Kurt had his best work out yet to be ready for the NCAAs.

And so I think I sit for actuary exams for the same reasons a lot of actuarial students do, which are the same reasons I finished math and wrestling: I like the common attitude. It is best described  as “going to the moon” in President Kennedy’s Rice Stadium speech, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because we have to, but because they are hard!”