When you need to say no

Every year in September, a cohort of students write a three-day exam just to wait two and a half months for the results. It is a very stressful process, and to top it off the results are published online. Pressure to pass and avoid shame. I know a lot of people (that graduated the year before me) who wrote the CFE this year. The results came out last Friday.

For accounting specialists, the Common Final Examination (CFE) is a huge milestone. For those of you who aren’t accountants, the CFE marks the end of the academic process to get your Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) designation.

These results are a big deal, and each big firm throws a party to celebrate their employees’ achievements. The parties are filled with people and free alcohol, reaching legendary status on the UTM campus.

This year, for the first time, I got invited to a CFE party.

I really like parties. I like people, I like being out, and I like free booze. I like to celebrate what my friends have done, especially when it’s my dream to have this party for me next year.

Now for a bit of background:

  1. I’m in a relationship. And for the past four years, the focus has been on me, my needs, getting through school, and getting this job. Not because I am more important than my partner, but because that’s what our family needed. There were a lot of nights out trying to network. My partner has been a most gracious and understanding human.
  2. Anyone who knows me knows how much I like my calendar. I plan in advance and this week was no different. Friday night was family game night, but this Friday was going to be extra special. We were expecting a group of people to join us for supper plus the game. They were bringing dogs for a doggie playdate. These were big plans for my house.

Now this brings us to last Wednesday (two days before), when I got invited to the CFE party. Honestly, I wanted to go to the party. I’m still making friends at work, and hanging out over drinks is a great way to do that. I wanted to celebrate people passing an exam that I have to take next Fall. And have I mentioned free drinks!?!

But Friday nights are important to my family – this Friday in particular. I talked with my partner, and he (understandably) wanted me to help – and to spend the evening with our friends, that I’d already committed to.

I didn’t want to skip the party, but I could feel it: this was one of those times that my partner needed to know that he was my priority. So I said no to the CFE party.

In general, I’m a big fan of saying yes, and most of you can’t relate to being married. But we all have people in our lives that aren’t at our job or school. And I have found that sometimes in my life I need to say no.

This week was one of those times. Missing the party wasn’t cool, but being with my family, not flaking on my commitment to my friends, that’s who I want to be.

I’ll just hit next year’s party.

Andrea Koop,
B.Com., Class of 2018

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