Friday, May 11, 2007

Back to Basic

Greetings from Bushkill, PA. I'm on day 5 of a 9 day MCSA bootcamp. Right up front, I'll tell you that you won't find any braindumps or test answers on this blog. So far I've passed the Comptia Security+ and the Windows XP (70-270 exam). Saturday we test on 70-290, and 70-291 on Tuesday. After that I head home, but most of the class will stay for the rest of the MCSE portion.

I was pleasantly surprised at the older ages of the attendees. I sincerely expected to see mostly young kids, 20's or so. However, most are a bit older, and quite a few in their 40's and 50's. I just couldn't pictures too many people my age being able to endure the bootcamp regime to learning, but it's the norm and not the exception.

Granted, this is a strain on my family, and there's the cost and time away from work. But this forum works so well. I feared I would be so overwhelmed with information that nothing would make sense. All of us in the industry know there is "theory" according to Mr. Gates, and there's reality, our day jobs in the IT profession. Seldom do they cross paths. And I was overwhelmed the first day. We went through the entire Security+ curriculum in 11 hours, and then told to go back to our villas to study.

I was doomed for sure. But Tuesday morning we crammed a review, every possible fact that might come up on a test was mentioned. We had lunch, then headed to the testing center. I stood in line with my ID in hand, nervous, joking and laughing to fight off the stress. It was a grooling test, but it was not near as hard as the labs and practice we did in class. To my surprise it said "You passed". I was beside myself. I went back to the check-in desk, where a nice sweet gal gave me a verbal congratulations and the printed copy of the test score. I walked away in shock.

It was an accomplishment for a guy with Adult ADHD and a history of academic underachievement. But the break in the action soon ended. At 5:00PM we started the next block, Windows XP 70-270, and off we went. All day Wednesday we covered every conceivable item on Windows XP, and then some. Wednesday night was a big study night, but I was really tired. Having a big family at home, I am too used to having people around. And I'm having trouble sleeping here in this strange place. So Wednesday night I went to sleep just after 10:00PM, but I was up again at 4:30AM. My regular schedule is to be up by 4:30AM, and be at or close to work by 5:30AM. On Thursday morning I was ready and at the classroom at 6:15AM (it's available 24/7), and getting some quality study time in.

It paid off cause I passed the 70-270 test Thursday afternoon. Again, I was beside myself. The process is so stressing, and again, I was expecting it to give me bad news. It was my first experience with Microsoft tests, so I guess it takes a little getting used to. Again, the break was short lived. As soon as the last person came back from testing, we were deep into Server 2003 (70-290). Class broke at 7:00PM and I spent the remainder of the evening studying (till midnight). I kept the TV on in the background, but I haven't a clue what was on. I just can't stand the silence.

I'll have more Saturday evening after the 70-290 test, and I'll talk more about the school and the great accommodations.

John Crawford

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