Chapter 1: Never Again: No Exams For Me, Thank You

I was a fresh-faced graduate with a mathematical degree in my back pocket, and I felt invincible - armed with the analytical prowess to take on the world. The possibilities were endless, and my ambitious heart led me down the path of investment banking. I thought that I had done my last ever exam, and never again wanted to have to read through text books and do practice exam papers again. 

I danced into the corporate world, feeling ready to conquer boardrooms and unravel complex financial mysteries. Some of my friends, on the other hand, had a different calling - they wanted to become actuaries! I watched them with a mixture of bewilderment and sympathy, for I believed they had developed some sado-masochistic desire to be perennially trapped in the exam abyss. 

"Oh, you poor souls," I'd say to them, shaking my head, "Why would you willingly subject yourself to that torture? Exams are meant to be a distant, unpleasant memory confined to educational establishments, not a perpetual nightmare!" 

As I revelled in my glamorous job titles and convinced myself that I was far too sophisticated for exams, my actuarial friends remained undeterred, their eyes blurred with passion for risk assessment and probability. They'd chatter about “100 series” and “CM exams” - a bewildering alphabet soup that sounded like an actuarial Hogwarts! 

Meanwhile, I basked in my derivatives-structuring glory, making PowerPoint presentations that could rival a Picasso masterpiece. I had the power to influence business decisions, and my analytical skills were revered in the corporate realm. "Exams?" I chuckled. "Who needs them when you have real-world challenges to tackle?" 

Oh, how naively arrogant I was! 

It was only a matter of time before the universe decided to burst my bubble of exam-free bliss. Fate found immense joy in watching me fall from my pedestal of confidence.  

As I sat through endless meetings with various business leaders, my mind couldn't help but wander back to the days when I was knee-deep in mathematical challenges. The glitz and glamour of the corporate world had its allure, but there was an undeniable void deep within me that yearned for something more intellectually stimulating. 

In those boardrooms, I often found myself daydreaming about solving complex mathematical equations, applying statistical models to real-world problems, and diving headfirst into the depths of data analysis. I longed for a job that would make my analytical skills dance with delight, not just my PowerPoint presentations. 

As I listened to executives discuss financial strategies and market trends, I couldn't help but feel like an outsider, a maths enthusiast trapped in a sea of business jargon. The passion I once had for numbers and equations was smothered beneath a pile of reports and spreadsheets, slowly fading into the background. 

And so, amidst the polished veneer of the business world, a newfound determination started to sprout within me. I knew it was time to seek a career that would allow me to fully embrace my mathematical skills and rekindle the passion that had been dormant for too long. 

So here I am, dear reader, a once proud exam-evader turned reluctant exam-taker, navigating the actuarial maze alongside my fellow actuaries and actuarial students.  

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