Thursday July 27th was was quite a day for me, full of ups and downs at RTP Cisco building number 3. I arrived 10 minutes before 7 AM. Slowly other candidates arrived. Everyone was returning at least for the second time including me. Since the last time I attempted the lab in January, Cisco moved their testing room to a smaller room on the left side of the building. I had the same proctor as before, David Blair.
After David’s lab instructions, test started with the troubleshooting section. It seems like it took me almost 40 minutes to get the first few tickets. Once I started and went through each ticket at least once, they start falling pretty easily. The exception were the few stubborn ones. As my two hours was approaching the end, I still had a 3 point ticket to solve. Unfortunately, I didn’t get that ticket and was under the impression that I failed the whole lab. It’s pretty devastating to continue with the lab when you think you already failed. The worst part was that I encountered a task with this specific feature few weeks ago and decided not to spend too much time on it thinking that “oh that won’t be on the test for sure”, famous words said by many candidates before me (blueprint is a blueprint you have to know everything on it). I went on with the configuration part, thinking that it will be a great practice for the next time. I think that this actually helped me a lot as I wasn’t so stressed about the configuration section and was able to configure majority of the features.
At the end of the lab I told the proctor that I think I will be seeing him for the third time in a month or so, as I missed the troubleshooting section by one ticket. He was able to check the results pretty quickly with his grading script and told me that I passed the troubleshooting section! That was a huge relieve and my hopes came back for the configuration section. Under all of the stress of the test, my math was little off and I did solve enough of the tickets to pass. David was able to check my configuration as I awaited in the cafeteria. These 10 minutes waiting there were the longest 10 minute I’ve experienced. Pacing back and forth, making small talk with anyone walking by to have the time pass quicker. After a short while, the proctor walked in and congratulated me on passing the lab! I could not believe it, the relieve, the excitement and joy overwhelmed me. Two years of study, countless nights labbing and missed family events, finally payed off. I always thought what I would do when I passed, but when it actually happened it was surreal. Before I left the building I had a photo taken with my favorite CCIE proctor Mr. Blair.
The first thing I did was call my wife and tell her about the exciting news. She was exuberant. When I was studying all these times, she was working hard on taking care of everything, including our 5 month old baby. Without her sacrifice and commitment, I would not be able to dedicate so much time. Thank you Sarah.
Twenty minutes later I received the official email, the next 15 minutes it took me to log on to Cisco’s website on my cellphone to get my number. My number was CCIE#36159. It’s crazy how my day turned out. When you think things are not going well they end up surprising you for the best.