Salesforce University 2017 – A Forward Financing Adventure

 In Blog

This post is written by Ali Fawaz, Business Analyst at Forward Financing

 

Sheila and Ali

Ali and Sheila at Salesforce University in Las Vegas, March 2017

The time has come… Sheila and I are sitting a cold conference room in silence. Both of our minds evaluating the benefits and consequences of our decision. The decision to go for a second trip to Salesforce University in Las Vegas. I know… “Vegas Baby!!” is what all my colleagues and friends would say. I said the same thing last year. But alas this is no leisurely trip filled with late nights and gambling. It’s a fast paced 5-day race to soak in as much information as possible with the goal of attaining a prestigious and well recognized certification. The last trip was physically and mentally exhausting and we were unsure of whether we would be up for another mental marathon. Not to mention we had spent so much time in classes and studying that we never even left the hotel at all.

Our thoughts would drift left and right almost in unison and we would express ourselves in short sentences with masked with nervous laughter and moments of silence. It went something like this:

“We learned so much last time…”

*Nervous laughter*

“But the exam was so hard…”

*Moment of silence*

“We can do so much more now because of it…”

*Nervous laughter*

“But the stress…”

*Moment of silence*

Needless to say, with all the back and forth Sheila and I both knew we were going to take on the challenge again. We were too invested in it and the benefits to us and our company outweighed the stress and anxiety that came with the trip. More than all of that was the fact that our thirst for sweet victory couldn’t be quenched with time, we needed those certifications and that was that. We signed up and booked the trip!

*More nervous laughter*

 

Day 1- Shock and Awe

You would think that because we were there last year we would know what to expect. Nope… the rules of the game had changed. Classes started on registration day and our bodies and minds were still fatigued from our travels. Sitting in the classroom with the quiet mumble of people introducing themselves and making friends or bitter enemies. Sheila and I both had that sinking feeling of immediate regret. We just got on a roller coaster that doesn’t stop for five days! Hours and hours later we are out of class a little dazed, a little confused. We both know that we now have to start reviewing the knowledge we were given. Our instructor left us a little reminder at the end of class saying, “today we took it slow, we’ll have to pick up the pace tomorrow.” Great!

Day 2 – This Thing Goes Faster?

We start the day continuing to build on the foundations of our specified advanced track. Our instructor was a blonde, middle aged consultant who had been working with Salesforce for years. She knew the ins and outs of the platform and she definitely meant everything she said. Especially that part at the end of Day 1 where she told us she would pick up the pace. We were going through material so fast I’m surprised we weren’t charged for the reckless distribution of information. Another day ends with Sheila and I staying up to study and review.

Day 3 – Five More Minutes

The exhaustion has started to sink in. I’m up early again and I should be getting ready to go to my 8:00 AM class. But each day I’m getting up a little slower and today I can really feel it. All I can think is I just need five more minutes. But we’re another day closer to exam time and the anxiety is starting to take effect and in its own way it keeps us going.

Every word our instructor says is followed by the thought: “is this going to be on the exam…. of course it is, stop talking to yourself and focus”

We are covering material we have never seen before and by the end of the day I’ve taken in so much information in such a short period of time when asked for my room number at the hotel I can’t even remember the number I have to give the concierge my name instead. Another day of this and I won’t be able to remember my own name.

Day 4 – The Final Boss

Every time I try to recount our last day of classes all I can think of is the torture scene from the movie Braveheart. I wake up screaming “Freeeeeedooooooooooom”. We’re worn down but we’ve survived the seemingly endless hours of classes. But the final boss still awaits. A merciless multiple choice exam that only tells you if you’ve passed or failed. It doesn’t even tell you how well or poorly you’ve done. If that screen tells you you’ve failed you wouldn’t even know by what margin. You won’t know how close you were to victory! Ludicrous!

Our instructor’s last words “There are no trick questions”.

The lazy river is so close… but so far!!

My last thoughts “I don’t believe you”.

There is something special about Salesforce Certification Exams. All the people there no matter how old, how experienced, how successful…. are dreading taking the exam. You can see it on their faces, you can hear it in their voices, you could almost smell the fear.

But it’s GO time!

*Nervous laughter*

After about an hour and fifteen minutes I’m sitting there staring at the submit button. Hitting that button will label this whole week as a failure or a success. Sheila and I’ve had our eyes on the lazy river for days… peaking at it through the gates every now and then when we walk to our classes.

We NEED to pass if we are truly going to enjoy our final hours in Vegas floating around the lazy river. Well not much we can do now but hit the button…

SUCCESS! We both passed our exams and were proud bearers of Salesforce Certifications and some T-shirts to prove it.

Day 5 – Floating

We spent the morning floating around the lazy river and all felt right with the world. Soaking in some sunlight and embracing victory!

Sheila: “I think it’s pretty good I’ve only made one enemy…”

Ali: “Indeed”

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