Monday, September 5, 2011

Update Time

So, like many other Peace Corps Applicants, I gave in and e-mailed my placement assistant last week for an update.  I asked for any kind of updated I could get and really just wanted to know if I should try to take sign language 3 here at Southern Miss.  Unfortunately, this is what I got back:

Dear Leigh Ann,

Thank you for your email.  At this time you are no longer being considered for the program to which you were nominated.  Unfortunately our programs departing in 2011 have filled, and we will be considering you for placement in a program departing in 2012.  As I stated in my original email to you, like all federal agencies, Peace Corps is looking at its operations in light of budget reductions. This has resulted in fewer service opportunities available overseas in 2011 and 2012.  As you will not be placed in the program to which you were nominated, your Placement and Assessment Specialist will conduct the final suitability and skill review to determine if we can match you to the next available program that best fits your skills and qualifications.  Unfortunately this does mean a significant pushback in departure date for many of our applicants, and may mean a departure as late as June 2012.


Additional flexibility in geographic preference, program preference,  and departure date will be even more important, as another program like the one you were nominated to may not be available until many months after your original departure timeframe.  Given this, please let me know as soon as possible if there is any reason that you would not be interested in remaining under consideration for a future program at this time.

Also, you likely will no longer need the sign language experience that you would have with your nomination.  It never hurts to gain additional experience before your departure, but you don't need to pursue sign language for your application at this time.  Instead, I would strongly recommend you pursue classroom teaching experience if possible.  This will greatly help strengthen your application and give you a very solid foundation to work with when you are at your post.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Best,
XXXXXXXXXX

I think my favorite part was that the paragraph that starts with "Additional Flexibility..." showed up in maroon via the 'you already have this in this conversation thread' indicator in gmail.   Of course, they probably send a very similar e-mail out to everyone who inquires about wanting to know more.  So now, I am just waiting to hear something else.  I am trying to figure out how to spend my time in Hattiesburg wisely-- applying for fun jobs like teacher's assistant in the Hattiesburg Public Schools and hoping to volunteer for a community center downtown. 

My mom asked me today "do you regret moving home so early knowing now that you aren't going to leave so soon?"   I must say that I do not.  I am happy that I am home, seeing Hattiesburg in a new light, and getting to just fiddle around (for a lack of better words) for a few months.  I am not upset that I am not in school.  I needed a break.  Of course, I could do without the tropical storm conditions, but I will just take what I can get for now. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Update

So I guess I should have updated this earlier, but on the Tuesday of the Placement Assistant's return, I received an e-mail saying that she would update my file.

So now, I am just waiting to hear from my Placement Officer.  Fingers crossed that it will be soon.  Monday August 29th is the 6 week time stamp for the program that I was invited to.  For those of you who don't know, 6 weeks is the soonest to your departure date that they can notify you that you are receiving an invitation.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

You have GOT to be kidding me...

So, I finally got the long awaited email from the Placement Assistant that asks for your updated resume (13 days after my Toolkit was updated to say that I have been medically cleared).  It went like so:


Dear Leigh,
I hope this email finds you well!  I'm writing to you from the Peace Corps Placement Office in Washington, D.C. I reviewed your file this morning and I identified a couple items that needed follow-up.
We appreciate your patience during the placement and assessment process. We also would like to update you on the current status of Peace Corps programming.  Like all federal agencies, Peace Corps is looking at its operations in light of budget reductions. This will result in fewer service opportunities available overseas in 2011 and 2012.  Unfortunately, it is too soon to tell what impact this will have on the program you were nominated to as Peace Corps is currently reevaluating our needs for the upcoming months.  Please note that these changes may affect your potential placement.  If you are not placed in the program to which you were nominated, your Placement and Assessment Specialist will conduct the final suitability and skill review to determine if we can match you to the next available program that best fits your skills and qualifications.  Please note that this may mean a significant pushback in departure date, perhaps until January 2012 or later.  We will be in touch with more information should this be the case and anticipate that we should be able to provide you with more information over the upcoming weeks.  Please also keep in mind that a final invitation is contingent upon the completion of this final suitability and skill review. 

Additional flexibility in geographic preference, program preference,  and departure date will be even more important, as another program like the one you were nominated to may not be available until many months after your original departure timeframe.  Given this, please let me know as soon as possible if there is any reason that you would not be interested in remaining under consideration for a future program at this time. 

I would 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. Please use a format similar to the following:

 English Teacher-8th Grade                                                             March 2008 - Feb 2010
Kline Middle School, Chicago
  • Develop curriculum and implement interactive lessons
  • Teach 100+ students daily
  • Classroom and records management
  • Parent/teacher communications
  • Afterschool English Tutor

**Please be sure to tailor your resume to highlight the volunteer and work experiences that are most relevant to your nomination.
Please keep in mind that many computer word processing programs provide nicely formatted resume templates which you can use as a guideline.  This document should be no more than two pages long and have exact dates (month/year) for employment/volunteerism.  For volunteer experiences please note the approximate hours per week.
**Please submit the request materials within the next two weeks.  Failure to do so will result in the withdrawal of your application.**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.  Please keep in mind that the application process is a competitive one, and we encourage you to take this waiting time to continue to gain additional experience relevant to the program to which you were nominated.  This additional experience will also make you a more valuable resource to your potential future community overseas.  In the case that you are not placed in the program to which you were nominated, your Placement Specialist will do their best to match your skill set to the needs of our host countries in a different program.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions, but we will contact you as soon as we have further information about your potential placement.
Best,
M


So, I emailed "M" back with my updated resume and received an immediate e-mail back.  It said: 


Thank you for contacting the Peace Corps Placement Office.

I am currently out of the office.  I will be returning Tuesday August 9.  I will respond to all emails at that time.

If you are an applicant in need of immediate assistance please email the Education Desk at educationplacement@peacecorps.gov or call 202.692.1840, option 4.

Best,
M



I just want to scream.  You have GOT to be kidding me! Why would you even send the e-mail today if you aren't even going to read it (and the 200 other applicants that probably email you in a week) until Tuesday at the earliest!?  AH!!!!!!


Gotta love the Peace Corps!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Medical Complete!

This morning, I received the every ordinary "Peace Corps has updated your Application Status account. Log in to http://www.peacecorps.gov/mytoolkit to see the latest information." email.  Thinking it would just be the top "Your file is currently under consideration" circle being checked to let me know that someone had finally picked up my Medical Packet, I just turned over and remained in my ever-so-comfy bed.  

However, when I finally got out of bed, it was not that at all!  Instead my Medical was checked off at the bottom and said "Complete. A decision has been reached regarding your medical review. Please look for a letter in the mail."  For real, Peace Corps, you resort to snail mail?  I really wish you would just e-mail me.  Of course, I immediately 'google' the phrase, and I find many other blogs mentioning that their nurse was right and that they did receive clearance among other "medically cleared" statuses!  So I can't help but be super excited!  But I never even talked to a Peace Corps nurse.  So I am kind of just banking on the fact that my double checking and the lady at UHS double checking that we did it right the first time! I guess I am in that 15% (or whatever it is) that actually turn it in perfect the first time!

So now I wait, probably until next Friday, to see if I will indeed receive medical clearance and/or contact from my placement officer!  I am hoping that I am still going to get to leave in October, but I am not really sure what to think now that I feel like it is so close!
 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Good things come to those who wait... maybe...

So after 3 full weeks, the Peace Corps finally updated my toolkit to indicate that I am dentally cleared.  However, it still does not state that my have received my medical packet, but it says on their website that it make take a few days extra for that to show up.  I cannot tell you how freaked out I was that all of that hard work had been lost in the mail.  I was frantically looking at other people "Peace Corps Timelines" to see how long it took for their toolkit to update, and most of them were about 9-10 days from the day that they mailed the packet.  It took mine a full 21 days to fly from Madison, WI to DC and finally be opened by the Peace Corps.

So, I am guessing that they are just a little behind in the office, so who even knows when I will get medical clearance or even hear from my medical nurse.  Speaking of which, I still have that 'My medical nurse can e-mail me' contract that I need to sign and mail in.  Oops.

I am also excited to say that I have a really awesome weekend planned!  Headed to Milwaukee for some camping, fireworks, brewery tour and a Brewers game.  Then, Devil's Lake and back to Milwaukee next weekend to see Sugarland!! I am super excited!

AND... I have finally lost 20 pounds!  I am actually at 20.8 but who is counting?  MEE!!!!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Peace Corps Health Forms

So I got these forms 3 weeks ago today, and I have just sent them off.  However, the first two weeks I was at home in Mississippi, so I actually completed these forms in 1 week.

Here is what my schedule was for the week: (UHS is the University Health Services)
Monday: Dental Check-Up ($42 from livingsocial.com)
Tuesday: Dental Cleaning ($89) UHS for Vaccines (Polio Booster, Tdap) & Other Labs (Hep A, B, & C, Varicella titer, TB skin test, HIV, MMR titer, CBC)
Wednesday:  UHS for Health Physical by Physician (she keeps it to wait for lab data).  I also get a urinalysis. ($150)
Thursday:  Sit around and wait for lab results
Friday:  Back to the dentist for two fillings ($450) and get TB skin test read at UHS.  I also pick up the forms from the physician.  Mailed the completed form by 1:45 PM.

**Note:  I already had a OBGYN appt in February, so I did not have to do that this week.  You will need this if you are a female.

Two issues I ran into this week:  

Dental Physical.  At first, I thought I only needed the bite wings.  Then I read it again when I got home on Monday (already had the bite wings) and noticed I needed the pan x-ray as well.  So when I went back on Tuesday, I told them I needed it and a copy was ready by Friday.  Per the PC request, I was able to get the original, and they kept the copy.  Simple fix.

General Health Physical.  So I thought it was good when I checked it out at the clinic (besides the fact the physician had spilled coffee all over it).  But as I was making a copy, I noticed that instead of everything being checked as "normal" it was all "abnormal".  So I had to print off that page from online and got the physician to fill it out again.  She was super nice about it, joked about the coffee stain, and I was out of there in 10 minutes.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Nomination!!!

Official Nomination: Sub-Saharan Africa, October 2011!

On the phone, my recruiter also mentioned something about  having to learn sign language.  So after I looked up sign language on the PeaceCorpsWiki page and also looked at the places already known to leave in October, so now I am betting on a October 10 departure for KENYA!

I am super excited.  So much to do before I leave (i.e. cancel my dish network, rehome my dogs, spend time with the family, try to make some money, can't forget finals next week, etc).  I know it can all be done, so I have hope that it will all be perfect before my departure.  Even my health forms that have to be filled out very soon, so I can get the "official" departure and location in August!

It is all so real now...