For all of those students out there who knew exactly what you wanted to study in college right off the bat, I envy you. It took me switching my major twice before I finally found actuarial science and knew that it was the right major. Third time’s the charm, right?
By the time I found actuarial science, I was behind my classmates by a little more than a year. I knew I would have to work very hard to catch up; I hadn’t even taken my first actuarial class, let alone started studying for the actuarial exams by the time most of my classmates were passing their first exams. So I buckled down, worked really hard, and tried to catch up.
Last year, during my first semester of junior year, most of my friends had passed one exam, if not two, and were all happily accepting summer internships all over the country. I was still scrambling to catch up. I had just started studying for my first exam and my chances of getting a summer internship like my friends were grim. In such a competitive field, not having any exams passed considerably hurt my chances of getting an internship. So instead of being upset about not getting an internship, I just focused on studying for Exam P, hoping that if I passed, my chances at a summer internship next year would be better.
By second semester of my junior year, I was set to take Exam P, and had signed up for the January sitting. When I hit finish on the computer after my exam I was crushed to see that I had not passed. At that point, I was discouraged. All of my friends had exams passed and internships lined up for the summer, while I couldn’t even pass my first exam. I debated changing my major for a while, thinking maybe this actually wasn’t the career path for me, but then decided that I should give it another shot. So I worked even harder and I took Exam P for the second time in March. Thankfully, this time I passed! I had a renewed excitement about actuarial science and I was relieved to know that my hard work had finally started to pay off. I was still behind, but I was definitely catching up.
After I didn’t get an internship last summer, I decided to extend my graduation date to December of 2015 so that I could have another opportunity at a summer internship. This was the best decision I could have made for myself. I had less of a class load, I had plenty of time to study for Exam FM, and I would get another shot at a summer internship. So I studied hard and I ended up passing Exam FM in October. I also accepted an offer for an internship for next summer! I have finally caught up to my classmates, and now I am well on my way to an exciting career in actuarial science.
For everyone out there that may be struggling with studying for actuarial exams, or is struggling with getting an internship, don’t worry. If you believe in yourself and put in a lot of hard work and effort, it will pay off. If you are passionate about the actuarial field and you know that being an actuary is what you want to do with your life, don’t give up! There are always opportunities out there; just look at me: I was behind my classmates by over a year, and now I have two exams passed and an internship for next summer!
Good luck to everyone searching for internships, and happy studying!