Tough Love: This journey is difficult

By Samantha Taylor, PME, CPA, CA
Nov 13, 2020

“What happened to the other 3%?” The encouragement I received for my 97% calculus final exam results.

“How does the other player look?” The question asked after my second rugby concussion.

I wanted to provide you with a glimpse into my childhood before I launched into my own form of tough love. Trust me when I say I come by this stuff honestly.

Below I outline different strategies to show kindness to yourself, both during and outside pandemic times.


Since COVID-19 created significant changes to how we educate and learn, I have been in awe of how students, candidates, colleagues, and administrators have adapted and carried forward. And after months of this, it’s clear realized the adaptations have only just begun and we are each experiencing pandemic life differently.  


The thing is, to date, I have been largely unaffected by COVID-19. Sure, work looks different, and there is more of it, but things are fine overall. This is where I start feeling guilty. Perhaps you can relate.

With everything I have to be grateful for, how DARE I feel this low-level hum of anxiety? I have a good life, a strong support system, and a history of mental toughness. Yet…at times, I struggle. To compensate, I have shifted some work obligations and personal commitments. I am  prioritizing myself with an extra dose of judgement-free kindness. I remember to talk to myself the way I would speak to a friend.


If you’re feeling the same way, take some time, assess where you are at, and refocus your goals. If you are working towards where you eventually want to go, it does not matter how long it takes you to get there. I had a candidate in my CPA PEP workshop who embodied this focus. A former candidate of mine decided to make a career transition. He and his family mapped out the goal of attaining his CPA. He frequently took modules “off” so that he could alternate between focusing on CPA PEP and  his wife and young children. Adam is now a CPA and became one on his timeline.


Lean on others and share your experience. Consider accessing mental health resources or discussing adjustments to your CPA path with You are not alone. Take responsibility, seek out moments of inspiration, and be accepting of what comes next.

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Samantha Taylor, PME, CPA, CA, is an educator and lead policy advisor for CPAWSB, and an instructor of accounting at Dalhousie University. She is on a mission to understand and enable learner efficacy while eliminating doldrums occasionally associated with accounting education. Read more of Sam’s posts at the CPAWSB blog.