The work, study and family balance: DipFA study, working full-time and the festive season

18 April, 2016Gabbi Stopp

Gabbi Stopp is the Head of Employee Share Ownership at ProShare, and is currently studying for a Diploma for Financial Advisors (DipFA®). Gabbi is also a wife, and mother to a three-year-old boy.

In this blog series, Gabbi writes honestly about what it's like to study, while working and managing family commitments, and the obstacles she has to overcome to finish her qualification.

Saturday 12 December 2015

Gabbi Stopp Christmas There's much excitement in the Stopp household this morning. Not only are we (i.e. myself, my husband and nearly-three-year-old son) visiting Father Christmas today at our local community centre, my Diploma for Financial Advisors (DipFA) textbook has arrived! This now means that I have absolutely no excuse for failing to get a headstart on my studies over the festive break… I’m sure I’ll cope, with the help of a tin of Quality Street at my side.

A quick flick through the textbook reveals that the acronymic joys of FSMA, FOS and FSCS lie in store for me between now and the return to the office after the New Year. I wonder if I will need to supplement the Quality Street with the odd glass of Bailey’s.

It’s been a couple of years since I last studied for an exam - the IR Society’s Certificate in Investor Relations most recently, and the ICSA Co Sec qualifying scheme exams several years before that - so I’m hoping that I’ll get back into the habit of studying without too much pain. Hopefully I’ll remember all my study and revision techniques (mnemonics, anyone?) - we’ll see!

Friday 1 January 2016

During my festive period boomeranging between the toddler’s two sets of grandparents, I’ve managed to ease myself gently back into the study habit with a read of the first few chapters of the textbook. They may well be called ‘study guides’ now, but I will stick to the distinctly Generation X term ‘textbook’ - #sorrynotsorry. Reading through the first chapter on ‘The Role and Structure of Financial Markets’ and attempting the test questions at the end reveals that I haven’t actually forgotten too much since I last encountered regulatory-type subject matter during my ICSA Co Sec study days several years back. Nothing too scary yet! One chapter done, only twenty-one more to go.

The things you can achieve, sans-hangover, on New Year’s Day when your New Year's Eve celebrations consist of a nice half-bottle of bubbly and Jools Holland on the TV, with the toddler safely tucked up in bed.

I also went for my traditional New Year’s Day run. This has been a fixture of mine, come hell, high water or even hangover, for several years now. It has added impetus this year as my husband has convinced me to run the Rome marathon with him in April. I know that there are many public exponents of ‘saying yes’ to everything and seeing the unexpected and positive differences this can make to your life, but I really am wondering if I have bitten off more than I can chew this time.

Read Gabbi's past posts or find out more about DipFA