My Journey to FSA

Written by Nathan Rutowski:me

My journey on becoming an FSA started when I first entered college. I was at UW-Waukesha and the only thing that made real sense to me was communication and mathematics. This is very odd because those two function with the opposite ends of the brain. I told and tell everyone to this day, if I could give public speeches and do math every day, I would die a happy man! However, the schools were never much help in identifying what field I should go into. One administrator told me, “The only things you can do with math is become an engineer or a math teacher.” But physics was never my strong suit and being a math teacher was never something I ever wanted to be. So I left the school of engineering and mathematical sciences and thought I could suppress my mathematical monster within. So the next best thing I tried was marketing. This intrigued my communicative properties but alas, the mathematics monster tore and made my stomach rumble. It was either that or the cafeteria’s noodle surprise.

So I left marketing and was directed to the school of Arts. How great was this program. I did a little math and a little communications. Sounded like a perfect fit. So I graduated with a degree in Organizational Administration from UW-Milwaukee. After graduation I was hit with the question that many students find themselves in: “What now?” I jumped into the work field, but was never pushed in either communications or mathematics. After a year feeling this is where my life would be, the mathematics monster tickled my brain and I ventured into looking into a new career. I heard about this career. Something called Actuary. It was everything I wanted. Math and communications! It was either that or that I just wanted to say, “I am actually an actuary”. Quit my job, went back to school, graduated again with straight A’s in math and economics.

I sit down and start studying out of my actuarial manuals. Test time. It seems as if my dream was coming true. I click on “Start test” and I fly right through it as if I had done it a 1000 times before. Hit the submit button and my stomach sunk as the words, ‘You did not achieve a passing score’ came onto the screen.  My life is over. I have never failed a math exam before. I know this stuff. I was my teacher’s favorite student. I was Mr. Straight-A’s. I was the prodigy in the economics department. It had to be a mistake. I swore to myself, it was a mistake.

Mistake or not, I failed.

How to deal with this failure? I wanted to call my friends but I couldn’t bring myself to tell them I failed the exam. Oh how I thought they would laugh at me. I kept my mouth shut. A few days later I was at a nice little gathering and I ran into an actuary there with his wife. We started talking about his career and I asked him how he did on his exams and any advice he could give, he told me that his first attempt on the same exam I just failed on, he too failed. In fact, no one he has ever met has passed all exams on the first try. He told me about the Coaching Actuaries Adapt program and how that helped him. My courage built and I started thinking, he is a smart guy, anyone can fail. It just depends on how much you learn and can come back. So here I am, accepting defeat on my first exam, using the Adapt program from Coaching Actuaries to help me see where I went wrong. Putting my nose to the grinding stone, I registered for Adapt. I will be ready for the next actuary exams. Nothing can stop me! Here I go! Come on you Actuary exam makers; give me your best shot! Give me your toughest.

P.S. If you are actually reading this, please be nice and not make the exam super tough 🙂