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  • Writer's pictureJessica Doberneck

Why getting my RE license was one of the hardest things I've done in a LONG time.

Updated: Jun 3, 2022

Getting a real estate license may have been easy for other people but this process was not easy for me. In order to get licensed, one must do 90 hours of schooling, pass the school's exam with a 75%, take a 6-hour contract writing course and pass that exam with a 75%, and then pass the state/national test with a 75% or higher. That doesn't sound too bad right? That's what I thought! But there were 6 different factors that made this 3-month process extra difficult for me.

1) Online Schooling

As I shopped around for schooling options I had to decide if I was going to do school in person or online. I knew in person would have been perfect for me but, unfortunately, Callie is in preschool for only 3.5 hours a day, we only have one car, Tyson works from home full-time, Baby Jane is home 24x7 and I am still nursing every 4-5 hours during the day. There was no way I could be gone for 9 hours a day plus a commute. There are some half-day options too, but those didn't work with our schedule either.

Ok, so, online schooling it is. Bummer.

At the time I didn't think it would be such a bad option for me, but I quickly realized it was less than ideal. It took me much longer, I couldn't ask questions in real-time, and by the time I got an emailed response I was already chapters ahead which caused a lot of backtracking. I also found errors, typos, and even some incorrect quiz answers that made the material contradictory or confusing. I desperately wished I could have done it in person.

2) Managing Time

Studying from home with kids is TOTALLY different than working from home with kids. In order to study I need pure, uninterrupted silence for long periods of time. As a parent, that's like asking for the world! The only times I had to study were naps and after the girls went to bed. Which should be 4-6 hours a day, but that's not real life...

In real life, the girls' naps don't always coincide or there's an hour-long battle to keep them in bed. Sometimes little ones teethe and don't sleep well. Sometimes there's a great big mess leftover from breakfast and lunch and it takes 30 minutes to clean the kitchen, sometimes I have a doctor's appointment during their nap. The list goes on. Then, when I finally sit down in silence, turning off the "Mom Brain" and turning on the "Study Brain" takes a good 10-15 minutes to get into that new groove.

Needless to say, on an average day it was more like 2-3 hours of studying.

Also, fatigue. I was going non-stop all day either in front of a screen trying to memorize legal jargon or tending to an energetic toddler and a nursing baby. So, by the time those girls went down for bed, I was freaking DEAD. And I don't know about you, but studying makes me so dang tired! Those evening study sessions were defiantly hit and miss. Sometimes I was up till midnight and really making great progress, then other nights I was dosing off after an hour.

After a few weeks, I realized I wasn't going to fly through the schooling as fast as I expected. It just wasn't possible with kids; my hands were tied. This was very hard for me to cope with because I was ready to go 100 mph but I was stuck in traffic crawling at a whopping 15 mph. Sometimes I just wanted to shake the steering wheel and yell, "GET OUT OF MY WAY! LET ME GO!" I felt claustrophobic with my time and sometimes biter that my pace was 100% subject to my children sleeping and my husband working. Then, to remember, "If I just had the freedom to do this schooling in person I would‘ve been done in 2 weeks," was also a thought that liked to creep in when I was feeling robbed of my study time.

How did I not go crazy?

The Answer: My Husband and my girls! (Mostly my husband, haha!)

Once Tyson was done with work he would take the girls out of the house for a bit then come home and make dinner so I could squeeze in a little more studying, a break, or a quick nap. He put himself 100% in charge of dinner, and would also make me lunch when he had time. If he had a break in his workday, he would switch with me and watch the girls. He even passed on his weekly guys night. The list goes on. Tyson has been my greatest support and though it was a tough journey for me, he made it significantly easier by making sacrifices of his own. We have always made a great team, and this pushed us both to a new level of supporting each other through difficult times.

Even though my girls were the culprits of my time-theft, the silver lining of this all was that for the first time in my life and the life of my children I was not a working mom. When I was with them I was 100% present. No more multitasking, no more feeling like my children are interrupting my work and my work is interrupting mommy-ing, no more feeling half the mom I want to be and half the employee I "need" to be. Nope! I was JUST a mom for 3 months and it felt so liberating to give them my pure, undivided attention without also owing it to anyone else! It was a new experience for me, and I'm grateful I could give that to them and myself.

{Maybe one day I'll address my thoughts about being a working mom and why I choose to do it... But I'm not a mommy blogger so I don't know if I want to open that can of worms! Ha!}

4) Saying No

If I wanted to keep the very little studying time I had as untainted as possible, I had to say "no" to a lot of things. We said no to get-togethers with friends. I had to pass on a lot of evening family walks, trips to the park, or Saturday outings all so I could stay home and study. I stayed off social media, stopped writing my beloved blogs, and put a complete halt to all house projects (even my stupid grout mid-project! haha). Sleep - late nights and early mornings were the new norm. There was also no way I could justify going to the gym or working out and I snacked my way through the day because making and cleaning up after a formal breakfast and lunch just cut too much into my study time. That all sounds pretty unhealthy, and it was! But, in order to keep the pace, these sacrifices were necessary.

5) People over Things

As most of you know, my father's health recently took a turn for the worst. He was scheduled for a triple bypass that turned into a quadruple. He was in the hospital for a week post-op and the recovery would be 3-4 months. We flew our little family out to Sacramento and spent the week of his surgery with my mom for emotional support and when we knew the surgery went well, we dove into helping them finish their bathroom and bedroom renovation. Needless to say, March was a very ominous, worrisome, and busy time for our family.

I hoped that would be the end of our worry, but my dad's recovery proved to be less than ideal. The week I took the first attempt at my state/national test (spoil alert: I failed by 1%! Literally 2 questions out of 200. I was so sad.) was the week my dad was admitted to the hospital again because he was struggling to breathe. They surgically removed almost a liter of fluid from around his lungs and half that around his heart. He came home the day after Easter. He's doing much better now, but it will be a slow uphill battle.

As you can imagine, it was very hard to focus on studying when someone so close to you is fighting to keep their body functioning and praying the surgeons can take care of him. With the week-long visit and some worrisome nights, my studying was touch and go. Thank you to all the friends and family that kept tabs on us all and sent love in many forms! You know who you are ♥️

On a lighter note, I had a very dear friend of mine get married and sealed for time and all eternity in the Logan, Utah temple! So two weeks after my dad's bypass surgery, Jane and I flew out to Utah for a short trip to attend this wedding and have a much-needed visit with my sisters. I have missed my sisters so much since moving to AZ! It was a rejuvenating time with them, the sealing was beautiful, and catching up with my dear friend and his new wife was so fun!

We have an unspoken rule in this house that people will always come before things. I probably could have gotten my real estate license a month earlier had these events not taken place, but it was no question for us that we would drop everything to make those crucial trips. No regrets whatsoever and I feel blessed to have spent time with family and friends at such important times.

6) I am my own worst enimy

In order to truly convey the mental strain this process was on me, I have to dive into my childhood for a quick minute.

I was a straight-A student throughout elementary and middle school and I settled for absolutely nothing less! But, behind the scenes, I was working harder than every other student in my class to get the same grades. It took me 3 hours to do an assignment that easily took my friends an hour. It was my sheer drive for success that kept me going, but I was growing weary. My grades masked my struggles so well that no educator ever found this concerning. My parents, however, knew that my effort to success ratio was not healthy for me and I needed help.

The summer before high school I was diagnosed with Dyslexia. It all made sense, now. After 12 years of expecting perfection when I had a very clear handicap and being let down time and time again, I was exhausted. I couldn't do it anymore. To cope, I reset low expectations for myself and somehow learned to not care about my grades anymore. This was clearly a defense mechanism to avoid the struggle of schoolwork and the mental trauma and strain it put on me. Instead, I refocused (hyper-focused) my drive in areas where I knew I would succeed: student government, cheer captain, I created a ski and snowboarding club, and I also joined swim my senior year. It was excessive, everybody knew it was excessive, but that's where I found natural success.

Because "not caring" about my grades was so unnatural for me, each high school year I cautiously allowed myself to care a little bit more. I genuinely tried in school, but, I was careful not to care too much and leave myself vulnerably susceptive to disappointment again.

I peaked in my early college years with managing great grades and heavy involvement in extracurriculars, but by my 3rd-year classes were getting exponentially harder and my fight or flight was kicking in again. That's when I was diagnosed with ADD. I didn't have ADD as a child, in fact, I was told that I developed ADD as a "PTSD of 'failure' in school." The second I felt I didn't understand something or I was taking longer than I should my brain would hit a very solid brick wall and literally (or physically?) tap out.

I was put on a low-dose medication and for the first time in my life, I felt academically NORMAL. I was able to focus for long periods of time without getting anxious, hitting a mental brick wall, or unintentionally choosing to be distracted to avoid the struggle or ‘failure.’ I was calm, cool, and collected; it was like I was my 8-year-old self again! My senior year of college, a fellow business classmate recognized me out of class and said, "Oh, hey! You're that super smart person in Brother Crawford's class!" I was so caught off guard I was speechless."ME? The smart person?" Haha. Wow! I will NEVER forget that compliment.

Trauma, man! Childhood trauma, it's no joke. Haha. I know now that I CAN do well in academia, but I HAVE TO overcome those triggers and maintain a healthy mental state in order to succeed.

Why am I telling you all this emotional baggage? Well, since my ADD is only triggered in academic settings (I actually LOVE learning professionally and in real life!), I haven't been on medication since college and I can't be on that medication while nursing. When I got through all 18 chapters (480 pages) of my real estate material and realized I retained and memorized about 30% of it, you can imagine the PTSD that started to kick in. I had hit that stupid brick wall again. Lots of familiar tears and feelings of hopelessness. I spoke with my doctor and we thankfully found a medication that could help me! It wasn't as strong, but it gave me enough to get me through. The catch-22 was that it made me EXTREMELY tired. That part really sucked, because, just like any other parent, I'm already freaking tired as is haha.

But here's the best part looking back:

  • I finished in 3 months, and online schooling typically takes 1-3 months.

  • I passed my school's exam with an 80%. Most students don't pass on their first try!

  • I passed my contract writing course with a 90% (15% higher than required to pass).

  • I failed my first state/national test by 1%! Literally missed it by 2 questions out of the 200 on a 5-hour test. But, here's why: I panicked. My first question was tricky and my brick wall went up immediately. I was not in a good headspace that day.

  • I retook the test a week later and passed! They didn't tell me my score, but I know I totally killed it! The funny thing is, the ONLY difference between my first and second attempts was my head-space. Typically 60-66% of students pass the first time. It's a hard test!

After all was said and done, I actually did really well despite how traumatic it was for me to revisit an "academic setting." Though the process of getting a real estate license is absolutely NO reflection on how good an agent will be in action, it feels incredible to succeed at it anyway.

Now that I'm done...

I feel a physical and mental weight lifted. The constant looming doom of how I spent my time, how well I was doing, how fast I was going, wondering if I going to pass - POOF! Gone.

I'm pleased to report that since passing my test I went to the gym, I am eating well, and going to bed 2 hours earlier. I've re-joined my family on many walks, outings, and trips to the park. I've also been taking lots of naps, haha! I think my brain and I are catching up on some much-needed sleep!

I feel like a new person with a new life! I AM FREE! I studied business entrepreneurship and have waited 5 years since graduating college to finally put that entrepreneurship minor to use and trail my own path. I have waited 5 years for THIS day! I am finally free to professionally explore a field I am passionate about and find natural success! This is the beginning of a long, exciting career for me and my family...

Bring it on!


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