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BlueWolf's Howl

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January 12, 2010

Divine Comedy

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

I can't help but compare my experience with Dante... Here I am, middle-aged, about to enter the mouth of Hell. Yes, I am finally getting to the 'meat' of studying for the CCIE Lab.

I just purchased Vol I and Vol II of Internetwork Expert's CCIE R&S Workbooks. I am overwhelmed. I got the online edition and got the 'bundle' - with a significant savings. I need to work through the first two before I think about getting the next two. Yes, I will be getting all 4 workbooks. On top of that, I will also be getting the OEQ practice - Core Knowledge Simulation online simulator. But, tonight, I just got the first two workbooks.

I downloaded the materials. I have the diagrams. I have the initial configs. I have the exercises. I have a headache.

The sheer volume of material is enough to make your jaw drop. But, at the same time, you know that you're definitely getting your money's worth! It must have taken a LOT of time and expertise to come up with all this. At first glance, you look at it and wonder if you can make it through ALL of this - ever. The hard and fast deadline from Cisco to take my first attempt at the lab is September. I really need to get this done before June. I'd like to get it done before the end of April. We'll see.

It reminds me of the road march in Basic Training - when I got to the bottom of Oh-My-God hill. I looked up and said exactly that. At the bottom, I just couldn't believe that I could climb a mountain of that size - it was bigger than anything I had ever seen before. But, with a drill sergeant on my heels, I moved up step-by-step. About 3/4ths of the way up, there's a second part to that hill. It's called Holy-Shit. And that's exactly what I said when I saw it. That part of the mountain looked like it was at almost a 90 degree angle. There was no way I'd make it up that one. But again that drill sergeant was right behind me - and I guess I was more afraid of the drill than the mountain - so up I went. At the top, there is a tree with a water spout sticking out of it. Some kind neighbor piped in some water from his well for the poor kids that were always trekking up the mountain. My canteen still had water and it was all downhill from there, so I didn't refill. At the bottom on the other side, I was amazed that I actually was able to climb that mountain. Yes, it's part of the Army's confidence-building and it works. I was proud of myself for completing that climb.

Years later, I ended up working at that same post - in my specialization of Preventive Medicine. We got a call that a whole platoon had come down sick with a water-borne illness. We were sent to test the water. Yes, the water from the spout at the top of that hill. We drove a jeep up that same path I had marched years ago. Looking at it years later, it didn't look so big anymore. And it was now one of many road marches that my boots had seen. I was seasoned and any hill was no longer daunting. I had perspective. Granted, it still would have been a lot of effort to climb up that hill again - but, it was no longer impossible in my mind. Just a lot more work.

This is the R&S equivalent of Oh-My-God hill. I need to just move forward and keep moving. Start at page 1 and don't stop until there's a number at the end of my name. I'm not starting from scratch. I have years of experience. I do this stuff all the time. If this were a project at work, I would lay it out and start in on it. This is the work that it takes to build confidence and speed. On top of that, all the security material is still fresh from the CCSP. And when I look back, it will no longer look as impossible as it does now - just a lot more work.

One note of comfort >> a post from one of the instructors shed some light on the RTP slots not being available until July. Apparently the guy in charge is moving on and they're looking to replace him. Once that's done, there may be slots available at RTP. What this means is that I might not have to take a PLANE trip to San Jose (the worst part of the whole experience). Even if I take a plane, it would be a much shorter (and hopefully less traumatic) trip to North Carolina instead. I have to keep checking the scheduling site.

Okay - so let me make a wish and hope that perhaps the mobile testing unit that is in Chicago may actually take a nice little trip to Boston right at the time when I'm ready to take a shot at the test. It could happen.

Posted by BlueWolf on January 12, 2010 11:46 PM