Tuesday, July 31, 2007

In Between

August 13, six years ago. It was my first attempt to CCIE lab. The lab was still 2-days exam, with troubleshooting in the last part of the second day. It was my first time to fly to Europe. It was also my first time using a business class for my flight since according to my previous company policy each employee must takes the business class if flying more than 8 hours. And well, you all know the result. I failed.

Why did I fail? I failed because I was so naïve. I failed because I didn't believe I could pass. I failed because no one told me at that time how difficult CCIE lab was. Everyone I know always told me that the CCIE lab is so difficult that only few selected people who can pass it. And I was certainly not one of them.
But when I reached the troubleshooting section in the second day, even I failed anyway but I realized that CCIE lab is very much achievable. If you have spent a lot of time to prepare, especially for someone like me who studied for 16-hour straight a day in the last 1 month before I went to Brussels, then it's very possible to pass the lab even in 1st attempt. Exactly one month after that attempt in Brussels, I passed my CCIE lab in Tokyo. I passed not only because I studied even harder at that time but also because I believe I could pass. You just need to believe, they say.

Now six years later, I'm planning to take my CCIE SP lab on the same date with the first time I took my CCIE R&S in Brussels.
Same date, same location. Thirteen days from now.

Will the history be repeated? Will I fail again?

I still have less than 13 days to find the answer, but at least please allow me to share my current situation first:

Two weeks ago I was still in Malaysia to lead a network migration for one of our customer. Last week I was in Singapore to make the report, to follow up my visa application with Belgium embassy and to have a pre-kick off meeting for another customer. Last Friday I flew to Indonesia to work on some other project. And this week I have been busy working in my customer office in Jakarta, and most probably I would have time for my self only after Friday afternoon.
Then I must fly back to Singapore on Saturday.
Then, fly to Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
Monday to Wednesday, must attend a new customer workshop.
Thursday, fly back to Singapore.
Friday, take 16-hour flight to Brussels through London.
Then? Take the CCIE SP Lab exam.
And when is the time to study? Good question.

Until now I have been able to make total around 160 hours practicing in the lab. Last weekend I was in my home city with a very slow Internet connection so even I spent about 8 hours in front of my console, the speed was not acceptable to type the IOS command and I won't count that into my total lab time. Thanks God I have got my Schengen Visa from the embassy. My flight ticket has been confirmed. I got the hotel room which is still a walking distance from Cisco Belgium office in Pegasus Park. So all non-technical issues are solved. I just need to study now. Even with my busy schedule.

The key here is by fully utilizing my time in between. In between two projects. In between my meeting with one customer to another customer. In between my flights.
I don't like to look for an excuse. And I don't like to fail for sure. So I'm not here to try to find any reason to be blame even if I fail.

Will the history be repeated? Will I fail again?

I don't know. But one thing I know for sure, even if I fail that it's not because CCIE SP lab is unbreakable. Neither is because my work that doesn't spare me time to study. I'm still quite confident to pass even I know I may not be able to complete my 300 hours lab target. I'm still confident since this is the thing that I really like. This is the life that I have been living all this time. This is my 'one thing'.

This is my purpose. This is the way I live.
I can't fail my life. I can't abandon the way I live.
I just need to study harder, in between my busy time.


bah said...

Hey Himawan,

this is Ali Hasan who met you in Dubai. I was working for DU.

Now in IBM Australia.

Go for it man...you cannot fail!!!

dharmbhai said...

Hey Himwan,
You know me, we often chat on our corporate IM.
I am from India.

You are the most honest bloggers of all. I am sure whatever the outcome, you wouldn't have disappointed yourself.

I am certain, passing is never the ONLY goal. You are already a double CCIE with tons of Customers to vouch for your talent. You dont need to satisfy anyone else but yourself with this 3rd CCIE.

So again, Just ensure that whatever be the outcome, you wont let your ownself down.

That is typically what I would do if I were you.

Again, I will buzz you after August 13th.

You have best wishes of thousands of true fans of yours.


Unknown said...

I haven't been reading your blog for a long time, but I've gone back to read them all in archives.

Throughout, you've both provided and obtained inspiration for yourself and your readers.

I feel like you earned the first 2 CCIE's for the benefit of other people. It seems like the 3rd one is for yourself and therefore its the most special one. Your work and drive are unrivaled. This 3rd CCIE is simply yours to claim. Best wishes in the countdown to Brussels.

Anonymous said...


He hasn't showed up for sometime, but after you mentioned your time table, you have a good execuse :)

I sensed tentions and worry between your words, you shouldn't. The exam is in your hand. I've read your previous posted and your know the material well.

I wish you luck and welcome as the new tripe CCIEs in Cisco Office.


Unknown said...

Wish U Luck...a good Luck!!!!!