Archive for the ‘application process’ Category

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A Little Red Slip and a Big Blue Envelope

June 23, 2010

Every time I’ve walked into the mail room (yes, twice a day…), I’ve looked at the pile of packages, wondering if there were any new ones, if one of them could possibly be mine. I would open my mail box, hoping for the little red slip that would say I had a package, sighing in disappointment when there was nothing there.

This afternoon, there was a little red slip.

I felt myself get light headed as he pulled the package out from under the desk. I anxiously waited for him to find the book I had to sign, and, completely ignoring the elevator, I raced up the five flights of stairs to my flat. I quickly unloaded my backpack, taking deep breathes, putting things away until I could focus on the package. Ripping open the DHL packaging, I carefully pulled the contents out.

Finally, it was here. In my hands. The big blue envelope I’ve been hoping, praying, waiting for all of this time.

I opened the flap, and right in front was the paper that would satisfy all of my curiosity (it really did feel like Christmas morning):

Yes, that’s right! I’m going to Ukraine to be a University English Teacher!!! I almost started to cry when I saw those words, I was so happy. I leave September 17th, 2010, which means I have a grand total of 21 days at home before I’m off on my next grand adventure. Wow, that’s going to be fun!
I am absolutely ecstatic! This placement lets me work toward both of my possible future careers: my job position will give me experience if I decide to get my PhD and become a University professor, while living in the Ukraine means the possibility of learning Russian, a language that will really help me if I decide to join the State Department. It’s perfect. I am So Unbelievably Happy!
However, I’m still going to read through everything before calling and accepting. Even though I am BEYOND happy, I want to be completely informed before making such a huge decision. This basically means that my productivity is shot for the day because will you look at all the stuff they sent me:
Going to take some time to get through that. I’ll let you know what I learn!
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Checking the Mail

June 21, 2010

The office of my dorm is only open for four hours every weekday: 8-10AM and 4-6 PM (closed on weekends). Our mail boxes are in the office, so if you want to check your mail, you have to do it during those hours. During this school year, I have checked the mail maybe a dozen times total, most of those during the anxious month when I was waiting for a letter from my endocrinologist to prove to the Peace Corps I’m perfectly healthy. So the fact that I checked my mail twice today and anticipate this to be the trend until I have my invite in hand should really tell you something.

At first, I was determined to avoid becoming obsessive and only check the mail in the mornings after my jog. I came back to the building, ran downstairs, went to the office, and then headed back to my flat. No big deal, totally easy. No need to dwell any more on it. I decided to leave the building and work on campus to avoid even the possibility of temptation to check it again this afternoon. I mean, seriously, it’s Monday. The invite was sent off on Friday at the earliest. No way it’s going to be here yet. I diligently worked on campus all day, and when I finished everything I had, I went back to the dorm, smugly patting myself on the back for my clever plan to avoid the mail room. But an unconscious glance at my watch told me it was only 5:50. Oh no! I found myself seized with the desire to check the mail. No, no, there was no point! I had checked it this morning, it’s only been one business day, it couldn’t possibly be in yet. But what if it was?! What if it had been put on the first plane out and had been sitting in the mail room all day and I could have had my invite for all of that time?! Taking deep breathes, fighting for control, I entered my building and faced the elevator. Up would take me to my flat, but down…down would take me to the office. I hesitated. I admit it: I was weak. I was going to push up, really I was, my intentions were pure. But my traitor of a finger pressed the down button. That was it. I was doomed.

It’s actually not excitement or anticipation or anything like that which has made me check my mail so regularly now. It’s pure, unadulterated curiosity. I am So Freaking Curious about my invite! Where am I going? When am I leaving? What will I be doing? Of course I am excited, but it is 100% dwarfed by sheer curiosity. It’s like a Christmas present under the tree when you’re a kid. You weigh it in your hands, shake it, listening as hard as you can as if you could guess what’s inside by the sound it makes. The curiosity burns inside of you, you just want to know what’s hidden under that pretty paper and shiny ribbon. But you have to wait until Christmas morning, when all of the curiosity, all of the waiting, pays off in the sweetness of unwrapping the present and feeling that rush that comes from finally knowing. It doesn’t even really matter what the present actually is. The feeling of curiosity being satisfied is such a pleasure in and of itself. Or at least it always has been for me.

So here I am, knowing full well I’m going to be checking the mail twice a day for the foreseeable future no matter how much I try not to, with curiosity welling up inside of me more and more with each passing day.

I wonder how long it takes a package to cross The Pond?

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It’s Official

June 18, 2010

Oh, wow.

It’s official. They have sent me an invite.

I am going to be joining the Peace Corps. After over a year, after filling forms and writing essays and seeing doctors and being tested and stressing and worrying, there’s nothing else. The last hurdle was cleared, there’s nothing more. I am invited to join the Peace Corps.

She gave me no hints about where I’ll be going. All I know is that I’m leaving in September and the rest of the information is in the mail.

It’s done. I’m going.

Oh…wow.

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One Step Closer…

June 18, 2010

Oh, wow, that was a lot faster than I thought! I really wasn’t expecting any contact from the Placement office for at least a month, and then today I received an e-mail saying that the final assessment of my application has been completed! She said I ‘possess a great skill set and demonstrate strong motivation to serve’ (hell yeah I do!).

But alas, there was just one more thing between me and that beautiful blue envelope.

Last year, a lot of changes occurred in my life. Big Changes. Apparently, there is a policy in the Peace Corps I didn’t know about called the Major Life Change policy (MLC) where they want a full year to have passed between a major life event and the beginning of service. One of my Big Changes happened just over a year ago now and my Placement officer asked me to write a statement about how this event won’t effect my service.

Seriously, this is probably the easiest thing I think I’ve had to do in this whole application process. Because yes, last year was hard. A lot of things in my life changed and it hurt and it was painful. But I have grown as a person because of it. I love where I am now and what I’m doing, and I have never been happier because, honestly, how can you not be happy while living your dreams? The hardships in life are the things that teach us, and I would like to believe that because of all the things that have happened, I am stronger for it. I will be able to be a better volunteer because of all the lessons I have learned about myself and my abilities.

I just sent in my statement, and now my application is in the actual placement stage. I’m still being considered for a September departure to Africa or Central Asia, possibly Eastern Europe. Basically if it’s leaving in September, it’s fair game, which means the Staging Dates listed on PCwiki don’t really help me much in trying to guess where I’m going. Which I think is really cool because I always love a good surprise! Anyways, I was told all of the details about when, where, and what I would be doing would be included in that big, beautiful envelope they are going to send me.

This is really happening. This is actually, really, finally happening. I’m excited and happy and thrilled beyond belief. How can you not be happy as your dream comes true?

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The Joys of Limbo

June 12, 2010

I’ve had some time to think about this whole Nomination Confusion thing and to get used to the idea that I no longer have a program I am nominated for. A part of me is still generally very confused about how this all happened (I never would have agreed to leave before my Masters program was done, how did I get nominated for a time I couldn’t leave?) and another part of me is still worried about the consequences of this Confusion (do they still want me? will I still get an invite? what if they think I’m not dedicated or responsible enough because of this happening?), but as the days go by, these parts grow smaller and smaller. And more and more of me becomes excited.

When I thought I was leaving in September to Eastern Europe / Central Asia, no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t keep off of PCwiki and looking at the staging dates and trying to figure out where I was going to go. I had narrowed it down to two or three places, and I had read blogs about them and wondering what life would be like in those places. I was constantly wondering about where I would be going and secretly hoping for one of those two or three places. I know you shouldn’t get your heart set on any specific place because it’s probably going to change, but I just couldn’t help it.

Now, pretty much any place is a possibility. Any program leaving in September or October (or beyond) anywhere in the world is fair game. I gave a quick look at the list of places with Staging in those months, and it’s just incredible the wide range of places that are possible: Jordan, Tonga, Ukraine, Mozambique, so on and so forth, on and on. And pretty much every place I read about, that I do a little research into, I get excited about. Each place has their own challenges, their own personality, and sounds simply amazing.

It’s funny, now that there are so many more possibilities of where I can go, I am no longer plagued with wondering where I’m going like before. I am no longer hoping for a specific place. That aspect of my restlessness is completely gone. After my quick search through PCwiki, I no longer have the desire of trying to figure out where I might be going. There are just too many places, too many possibilities to even begin to wonder which of them I could be heading to. The entire world is a possibility. It’s incredibly liberating and very exhilarating.

As my wonderful dad said: ‘It will work out and you will be assigned someplace that you will find interesting and challenging; a place where you can help the people the most.’ I am absolutely thrilled to see where that place turns out to be.

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That Explains It…

June 8, 2010

Got an e-mail back from Placement Office. And my oh my, how the ballgame has changed.

At my interview I had been told I was being nominated for a September departure. I am almost certain I had received a letter to this effect. Turns out I was nominated for a program that was leaving mid-July to mid-August.

Ahh…that’s why they were so confused about me wanting to leave after September 1st…

I’m not sure how this happened. My master’s program doesn’t end until August 20th, so I wouldn’t be able to leave before then, which I’m sure I had told my recruiter. My saving grace was that on my original application I had put my date of being available to depart as August 15th, which would mean a mid-July to mid-August departure wouldn’t have been possible anyways. Someone, somwhere, mixed something up. I’m not sure how, but I guess it happens. Gotta roll with those punches.

I’m still being considered (thank God), but my region is more likely than not going to change since I’m now, basically, not attached to a program since I’m no longer a part of the one I was nominated for. She said she’s considering me for departure in September to either Africa or Central Asia, or in October to the Pacific Islands or the Middle East. Basically I can be sent anywhere at any time after September 1st. God, I hope this confusion doesn’t penalize me in any way…

There are a lot of emotions going through me right now, but mostly I just feel numb as questions run through my head. How did this happen? Where am I going? When am I going? What if they try to send me to Africa, the only place I said I wouldn’t go at the request of my parents? What would I do?

She said she would be done reviewing my application by early August at the latest. So I have at worst two full months to wait and see what happens. Which is fine, I’ve been waiting so long already, what’s a few more months? It’ll all work out, I know it will. I really believe this is what I’m meant to do, and I’m sure it’ll all work out and I’ll go where I’m meant to be.

I guess I’m back to playing the waiting game, only this time it’s much more interesting because when I receive my invitation, when I leave and where I go really will be a surprise. No more possible speculation, the entire world is a possibility. Which, you gotta admit, is kind of cool. Fingers crossed!

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Stress Relief

June 8, 2010

I’ve been having trouble focusing on my reading today because of this latest little development with the Placement Office. I know it isn’t much of an issue, it’ll work out, but I really want to know what’s happening, patiently waiting for an e-mail that hasn’t come yet. So I decided to relieve some stress in one of my favourite ways. I baked a cake.

My classmates are well aware by now of how much I enjoy cooking and baking. They even started a little fund to help ‘support my habit’ (as I like to teasingly say). I find cooking and baking to be an excellent way to take my mind off of things, measuring out ingredients, focusing on mixing things together, having that sense of accomplishment when it comes out of the oven. I love it! And I love sharing my creations with people, love seeing the looks on their faces as they eat, being able to give somebody something they hopefully enjoy. This is why my classmates love me baking – I usually feed it to them!
Now that my cake is done, I still haven’t received an e-mail back from the Placement Office. But my mind is clear, I feel much calmer, and hopefully I can now go back to focusing on my reading. Plus, I now have chocolate cake to munch on, and what could be better than that!