Troy Birdyshaw – Athens State University

troy-birdyshawMy name is Troy Birdyshaw, and I am happy to say that I just completed the CPA exam! Now, let me elaborate on why this is the most significant achievement of my life, and why I can only take a fraction of the credit.

After high school, I went to work for one of the big banks and quickly began climbing the corporate ladder. After 5 short years, and 4 promotions, my superiors informed me that I would need to obtain a formal education in order to further my career with the bank. By this point, I was married, had a mortgage, and was enjoying the many freedoms afforded to young professionals. The thought of the sacrifices required in order to go back to school was crippling. However, I knew that it would be required if I was going to continue to grow personally and professionally. What I didn’t realize at the time, was how many people would help me along the way.

As you can imagine, and perhaps even relate, going to school full time, working full time, and staying happily married is a tall order. My beautiful and supportive wife made it abundantly clear to me that we were going to achieve this goal together. There were many late nights I would be studying at the kitchen table, and she would slide a plate of food in front of me, kiss me on the forehead, and ask me how she could help make things easier. She didn’t know it at the time, but more often than not, those little gestures meant more than life itself. Also, I became very close with many of my professors, and humbled by their sense of duty and purpose. To meet so many professors that genuinely cared, and were willing to go to any length for their students was astounding. It was those professors that taught me the true meaning of life – to humbly serve others.

After completing my degree at Athens State University in 2013, I began my path towards the CPA certification. I began studying for the first exam in late November 2013, and passed my final exam in May of 2014. The day I received my final exam score, I became overwhelmed by the fact that I just accomplished the goal I set out to achieve 4 years ago – obtain a college education and the CPA certification. My next thought was about the many people that supported me along the way, and the sacrifices that they had to make. My final thought was how I could thank them and show my appreciation. Although personally thanking each one of them seems appropriate, I know that the only way to truly show my gratitude is to remain teachable, humble, and willing to serve others – just as they were.

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