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The last few months have been testing for everyone. The “coronacoaster” is real. One week I’m feeling up-beat and loving life working from home. The next week I’m in panic mode about job security and beating myself up for not being as productive as everyone else seems to be on social media.

You could say I’m a bit of a control freak which can be a good thing working in accounts and payroll. However, during a global pandemic I can assure you it is not so great. I’m learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable – slowly but surely.

The first week after the UK Government announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme I felt overwhelmed. There was a huge amount to read and understand and every time I sat down to do some research it felt like I was reading a different language. Who really knew how to pronounce the word furlough at first? Who would have thought we would have to become mini experts in the furlough field? Questions were flying in from all angles and I was desperately trying to keep up to speed with the ever-changing guidance. I had to take a step back and realise that it wasn’t just myself feeling like this.

I’m currently studying AAT at college two evenings a week and our group varies from experienced Payroll Administrators, to Accounts Assistants, Pension Administrators and those who have never worked in finance before. It was extremely helpful to discuss the Job Retention Scheme in our college WhatsApp chat. We all had different ideas and helped each other to make sense of the guidance provided by HMRC.

Due to Covid-19 our AAT course at college was put on hold. Not having the usual hour commute to work, then not having the routine of going to class twice a week felt strange (my “like to be in control” sensors were not happy at all). At first, I was studying at home between working from slides provided by our Tutor. However, it has now been confirmed by our course provider that our final exam will be a calculated result. (I’m still not sure how I feel about this). Our overall results for Level 2 will be released mid-August. Roll on Level 3 AAT from September!

I am hoping that the world returns to some sort of normal soon and that the Level 3 AAT course will still be classroom based. I did my Law degree at University by distance learning and find it much more helpful and informative in a classroom setting. I feel it’s important to be able to discuss aspects I may not understand face to face, with a group of like-minded people.

Studying whilst working full time is not always easy. Working a full day with numbers and spreadsheets, then attending college from 6-9pm completing sums all evening can really give me a headache. However, working whilst studying is something I have always enjoyed. I always want to develop new skills and do the best I possibly can in my role. Having the drive to be successful is what keeps me motivated – especially during this difficult time.

Being at home over the past few months has really allowed me to really slow down. I am usually constantly on the go with work, college and at weekends making sure I’ve seen friends and family. I feel like I’ve stepped off the “hamster wheel” which is important once in a while. In addition, I have enjoyed the time to realise what is important to me, what I have learnt and what I can change going forward.

For now, there’s a lot of things happening that I can’t control and I’m O.K. with that… Kind of. Watch this space…