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Tookit Update: Invitation in the mail (?!?!)

So, I woke up this morning to a toolkit update; thinking nothing of it, given the conversation I had yesterday with the Placement Specialist about waiting for the budget, I calmly opened it.  In my Invitation section there is a big red exclamation point and next to it:

Peace Corps sent you an invitation kit on April 27, 2011. Within 10 days ofreceiving your kit, please call us regarding your decision to accept or decline our invitation. If we do not hear from you within this period, the assignment may be offered to another applicant

I have no idea what happened or how they figured out the budget so quickly, but I guess this means I am invited? Like, for reals. I hope this isn’t some joke or weird quirk of the system and I’m still waiting on budget issues.

Federal Budget Concerns

So, I had my placement interview. It went well. I imagine in any other normal situation it would’ve been ended with “OK we’re sending out your invitation in two weeks…”

Instead I had my Placement Specialist tell me that she has to wait two weeks until the Federal Budget numbers come in to see if the program I am being considered for is being cut. If it is, then hopefully I would be placed elsewhere, pending budget.

Oh dear. This is not going to be an easy two weeks.

We have contact!–Final Interview Wednesday


I was happily chugging away reading a godawful-boring book for class when I took a break to open my e-mail and lo and behold! Peace Corp e-mailed me.

My Placement Specialist (since when did I get one of those? last time it was a Placement Assistant) e-mailed me with a list of questions and considerations, and told me to either respond via e-mail or to schedule a time to call. I went the call route since some of the questions were rather complex (though about the same as the initial interview) and more time-efficient to answer via phone.

However, I am also not-too-secretly hoping I get invited on the phone after the final interview, cause I’ve heard that happens a lot.

Squuuuuuuuuuueeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!! I had to wait all day to write this so it wouldn’t be capslock gibberish due to excitement.

Also, pertinent information regarding placement: in the list of questions it asked if I was still OK with my nomination in Asia (yes!) and if I am able to ride a bike 1-3 miles a day (sure, and at least I’ll be in good shape). Also, I know it’s not Indonesia (my family has concerns about there that I told my PA about).

Money is on Cambodia but in all cases I should KNOW SOON.

…and, now I can’t focus on the final two weeks of class.

How I keep my mind busy and stave off RAS:

Lest you think I only sit around and think about the PC, here is what I’m busy doing in addition to the usual senior year of college shenanigans:

1) Organizing a production of the Vagina Monologues. Directing this would be a lot of work on any campus, but try on a Catholic campus that has skirmishes around this happening/not happening every year. On the up side I now know lots of people in upper administration. I have also conquered the world of graphic design, stage sound and light tech and acting.

2) Class: If I didn’t actually, genuinely truly and really like all my classes this would probably not be on the list, because I wouldn’t actually be doing work for class. Thank you, senioritis. Since I do like all my courses I am doing the diligent student thing for the last time (at least until more school post-PC).

3) Being a College Senior: Self-explanatory. Yet oddly time-consuming.

4) Teaching ESL: Through my uni’s Spanish Honors Society I’ve done ESL tutoring for the last couple years; however, starting in January we decided to completely reorganize the program. Instead of a different group every week doing one-on-one lessons based on whatever a student wanted to learn, we’ve worked with the parish to set up the ESL lessons like classes. They’re still completely free and voluntary, but we now have 3 groups, the teacher coming every week for each group, and lesson plans/syllabi. I plan for/teach the intermediate group. Not being an education major I was surprised how long lesson plans take, especially sans books or other materials to work with. See, look PC, look at what a good potential education volunteer I am :).

5) Thinking about my future…oh wait, I guess that is just sitting around and worrying about the PC. Oops. Sorry I lied.

OK, so that also involved declining my acceptances to law schools, arranging recommendations and whatnot for when I return and other miscellaneous tasks.

Mostly thinking about PC stuff though. I’m going to ask a few professors for summer reading lists so I don’t go crazy if I don’t get my invitation by before graduation.

In which I quote Yoda and have a one-person pep rally

So, I just got hit with the scope of a sad reality: my ESL classes will end in two weeks. The classes in the program I helped create and cultivate, that will hopefully have a legacy of actually for-reals educating people and not just making we Spanish majors feel good about our Spanish skills. Oh yeah, so, those classes are ending soon.

Because I am graduating. Crap.

I also just read a PCJ about someone actually being rejected after reaching the Placement phase. This is my nightmare. Thankfully I am prone to action AND addicted to coffee. I went in for my fourth caffeine fix today (thank you all-nighter last night) and spied a flyer requesting volunteers in literacy/ESL work at Literacy Services of Wisconsin.

One google search later and I’ve submitted a request for information to become a tutor. Once I get the info I will e-mail placement with a delighted cackle and an even-more-updated resume. No, they cannot get rid of me. YES I WILL VOLUNTEER. SÍ SE PUEDE and all that jazz.

I am probably blissfully ignoring the fact that I have volunteered about 50 hours in ESL over the 30 requested to fulfill the continuation requirement at my interview (yeah…that’s 80, kids).

2 things to learn from this post:

1) I am loopy as heck from lack of sleep

2) I WILL get an invitation. In the words of my role model: Do, or do not. There is no try.

Wherein I almost cardiac arrest for no reason

Thursday night I came home from a lovely banquet with my mentoring program, opened my inbox all innocent-like and saw an e-mail from my lovely placement assistant with a subject line of  “Peace Corps Check In”

oh. em. gee.

Here is how I deal with this.

1) Excitement: skim the e-mail. No immediate sense of the words ‘invited’. However, any contact is good contact. What could this mean? See that the e-mail began with:

hope this email finds you well!  I’m writing to you from the Peace Corps Placement Office in Washington, D.C. We are busy reviewing and evaluating your Peace Corps application to be sure that everything looks good for you to be approved for service. I reviewed your file this morning and I identified a couple items that needed follow-up.

2) Fear: after the excitement brought by the initial statement, I am scared by the last sentence. What if what they NEED from me for follow-up is something I can’t provide??? What if the follow-up is some sort of superhuman gauntlet trial-by-fire??? What if they want someone else??? See this:

At this time we need a final copy of your transcript that shows your degree was completed in full. Do not send this information until after you have actually graduated.

And this:

I would also like you to send me an updated professionally formatted resume which includes the following: Name, Address, Phone Number, Permanent E-mail, Summary of Skills, Education, Volunteer and Work Experience and Additional Interests or Skills

3) Perplexed: as you may recall, I sent them an updated resume a few weeks back. As you may recall this is oddly similar in format to the e-mail I received from the Education Desk right after medical clearance. Huh.

4) Paranoia: What if they sent this e-mail because the updated resume I sent was insufficient? What if it wasn’t ‘professionally’ formatted enough and this is some sort of passive-aggressive comment on the insufficiency of my experience?

OK, most likely not.

However, I did quick send off the same resume again in response, and later realized it didn’t have an “additional interests or skills” section and I didn’t include my work experience because the relationship between waiting tables and teaching English is minimal (whereas I volunteer as an ESL teacher). Plus, they have that from my original application, right? Which brings us to…

5) Sublime restlessness: I realized this is probably a boilerplate message and not a commentary on my resume. I was mildly irked it was basically the same e-mail as the last one, but I did gain new information, namely that my file is being looked at by a real-live honest-to-goodness human being. What it does mean for my RAS is contained in the last paragraph:

Once you submit your updated materials it may take some time before you hear from your Placement Specialist regarding the final evaluation of your application materials.  You will receive notification as soon as you are qualified for service.  Your Placement Specialist will be in touch about a possible invitation to serve in the weeks following this qualification.

I think this is the home stretch. I’ve knocked on wood, kept my karma right and am throwing salt over my shoulder to make sure this continues to be a smooth process (or as smooth as it can be). Wish me luck, and next time I will be more prepared when I open my inbox.