My mum, Mary Perry, my hero, my inspiration, my whole world!
When I grew up as a young boy in the early 80’s my mum was very ill. She suffered from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and she was deteriorating. As an only child I didn’t think anything of it, didn’t all mummy’s have a walking stick?
When I was 7 she became wheelchair bound, but she was so happy, fantastic fun, and by goodness she could laugh -hysterically, so much so until she cried and made both me and my dad laugh so much until we were all crying!
I was in the midst of my A Levels, my dad had already taken early retirement 5 years before to take care of my mum full time, when that Christmas something huge happened, mum took a series of seizures which put her in a comatose state. In matter of weeks she lost her limited mobility, her swallow, sight, everything else and her infectious laugh.
She was able to come home after 6 weeks and things became relatively normal, even though she was fed by a tube and had to have very strong medication four times a day. Both me and my dad looked after her and she further became my inspiration, my mother, my child.
I was fortunate enough to complete my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Accounting and become a Chartered Accountant – unfortunately though I don’t think she knew any of it. In 2008 I was promoted to Senior Audit Manager in Grant Thornton and then something devastating happened, wee Mary, my inspiration died after 12 years in a comatose state.
But what has this story got to do with passing exams I hear you say. Well 3 huge points –
Through all her pain, discomfort and suffering I never ever heard her complain. Through adversity, she used her steely determination and courage to push through, she had a hugely positive “can do” attitude. Even when things appeared to be lost she fought and battled.
I used my mum’s situation as my ultimate driving force and motivation. I was going to achieve something and I was going to do it for her. Through my A Levels, University exams and professional Chartered Accountant exams (especially when I was bored of studying, stuck in a rut or stressed) I always thought of my ultimate goal of making her proud, whether she knew of my achievements or not (I always told her, but was unsure of whether she understood).
Even through the hard times I have only positive memories of my mum, the laughs and the fantastic privilege of being able to care for her. These memories trigger positive emotions which I use to this day in times of difficulty and stress.
So if you hit the “wall” in respect of exams, whether it be mind-set, motivation, stress, studying or exam techniques, use that determination that we all have to push through and maintain a “can do” attitude. The more positive the emotion you associate with your learning and the more emotion you can bring to exam preparation, the more likely you are to retain and recall the information.
Also connect to something to motivate you for the short term (days, weeks & months) and long term (years) to remind you why you are doing all this. It could be the thoughts of a fantastic qualification, job security, status, achievements, family connections or simply money!
Thanks so much for your inspiration mum!