My application process

For those curious souls who would like to apply to the PC, or if you're just curious about the application process, here is MY timeline of events....Let's just say, it takes, or will teach you, LOTS & LOTS of patience!!

12/12/11 - Finally sent in my (online) application! (This involved a resume, 2 essays, 3 references who had to fill out an online form, a lengthy health/medical questionnaire, and basically, my entire history of education, volunteer work, language skills, and the rest of my

12/20/11 - received a packet in the mail with papers to fill out, get fingerprinted and return to get legally cleared! Also included in this packet was more info on the PC. With my education/work background, they pretty much decided I would be in the Health sector (go to this link to see the other options and what the Volunteers do: What Volunteers Do). Well, the info they sent me also said that Health Volunteers usually go to either Africa, Central Asia (Georgia, Kazakhastan, or Ukraine, for example), or the Pacific - such as Micronesia and Fiji!!! Wow, could you even imagine??

(of course, I applied right before the winter holidays, so now, I wait.....)

1/3/12 - Received email from a PC recruiter in Atlanta about setting up an interview for the following week!

1/12/12 - Interviewed in Atlanta! We discussed lots of things, including him explaining to me the conditions I may live in, the type of work I could potentially be doing, etc. I was asked how I would be able to handle different situations - such as dressing in traditional clothing, not having access to my religion, my language skills/background, potentially being the only volunteer in the village, and so much more...They really want to get a good idea how you could handle these situations. We also talked about how my family and friends are handling/supporting me. Another question he asked me, which really opened my eyes to what I was about to get in to, was "What do you do when your bored, stressed or lonely? And what will you do when you no longer have access to your typical/common coping mechanisms?" i.e. You may not be able to just pick up the phone and call mom or a friend. So, yes, this interview gave me lots more to think about and consider.....(though there was no doubt in my mind that I am doing this!!!!!)

I was told in the interview that there were NO openings for the 2012 year! (WHAT??? It's only January!!). But there may be more openings coming up, and he would know around the end of February if any of them would apply to me and my health background (they pretty much decided what type of work I would be doing, due to my history in school and work). So I wait....

End of February 2012 - contacted Toby (my awesome recruiter!) to find out about possible openings for this year. I was told there were none :(  He told me to call back around mid-April, and he would know about the openings for 2013. *sigh* Let the controlled-patience begin.....

3/23/12 - The PC has now changed the process a little, but when I was applying, I could sign in to their website to track my application process. At this point, I hadn't checked - there was nothing to check. I was at a stand-still - just waiting to find out what positions would be coming up for the following year. BUT this morning, I woke to an email from the PC telling me that my status had been updated! I thought, what, are they telling me "Thanks for applying. Sorry, you're not accepted. Good luck with your life!" lol  

So I logged in, and it said "Congratulations, you've been nominated!" WHAT???? I never heard from Toby about this! And of course, it didn't give me any info about where, when, etc. So I immediately emailed Toby - wondering if, maybe, the PC made a mistake? (Side note - Toby had told me that once he found a spot for me, he would "nominate" me for this position. This would allow me to move on to the next steps - legal, dental, medical clearance.) Well, it was a Friday, and as soon as I emailed Toby, I got an immediate "out-of-office" reply. He was off that day from work! Which means, I have to wait till Monday to know anything at all! What a tease!!!!

3/26/12 - Toby calls!! I gave him a hard time for making me wait out the weekend, he laughed and apologized, and told me that that Thursday late afternoon, an opportunity came up for about a minute, and he just decided to nominate me! (I'm thinking that MAYBE, in some cases, you get an option? But not in my case.) The position was to teach HIV/AIDS prevention in Sub-Sahara Africa. There was no language requirement (which meant I didn't have to take any classes), and I'd have to walk/bike 3-5 miles a day (which means that my job would require me to go to area villages/towns. Ok - no problemo! And Sub-Sahara Africa!!! Apparently, this means the part of Africa right below the Sahara Desert, around the western "curve" of the continent. (Not areas such as Kenya, South Africa, etc.) If you'd like to see where the PC serves, click on this link: Where Do Volunteers Go?

At this point, Toby said that I would be receiving a packet in the mail, with info on beginning the process of getting medically cleared. This is the part that takes the longest! It's based on the questionnaire you filled out on your application. He also said that I should get everything done as soon as I can, and that I probably wouldn't hear from the PC until after the summer, because they will be getting those volunteers, leaving at that time, ready to go. Ok - at least I know when things will get moving.

May-June 2012 - lots of doctor visits, blood drawn, basic shots received and finally send in my medical info!

The summer - I wait.....

September 24 - received email from the Medical Office to send in a few more pieces of info, for clarification purposes

Early October - required to get a few more tests in order to get medically cleared....

October 17 - Medically cleared to GOOOOOO!!! (I actually didn't think this would be a problem...but they are very specific in what is acceptable, and what isn't. And there was a close-call point, where I actually almost didn't get cleared.)

And now - I was not given any info on the next step, or when it would I wait again...*sigh* I like to call this part of the process (again) "In Training"! Apparently, you learn LOTS of patience while in the Peace Corps. And this grasshopper has much to learn....

October 29 - I couldn't take it anymore...I finally tracked down the number to the Placement Office and called! No answer :( So I left a message....

November 9 - I never received a I called again! lol! (Apparently, I have a TON of patience I need to learn...although, at this point, I truly thought I had gained lots of ground in this area.) This time, someone answered!! He told me he would contact the person who is supposed to be contacting me, and that if I don't hear from the PC by the following Friday, to call him directly (he gave me his direct number).

November 15 - Just under a week later - on a Thursday - I got the email! In this email, I am supposed to respond with my updated resume and answer a questionnaire....lots more questions I thought we already discussed during the interview...but either way, ok...whatever I need to do!

November 17 - Saturday - Sent updated resume and questionnaire

November 19 - Monday - Received the email that my info was passed on to a Placement Officer. I will be contacted by the PO within 4-6 weeks *ugh*

November 26 - I got the email from the Placement Officer! At this point, I decided - no more email! I have made myself crazy, checking my phone for an email 100 times a day! So I called and talked to her....We discussed my volunteer experience, and she told me I needed more experience in community health, family planning, or HIV/AIDS testing/education/etc. She also thought it would be a good idea to get certified as a CPR Instructor. I told her, "Whatever I need to do!" That afternoon, I found CPR certification centers, and signed up to volunteer at Planned Parenthood. Apparently, there aren't any positions available right now. *sigh* But the PO said that she can see that I am attempting, and that counts for something. (I have been volunteering at Nashville Cares - an HIV/AIDS organization in town, but not really getting much education/testing experience). 

November 27 - The very next day, I got the email from my PO that said I'm accepted!!! I should be receiving an email in 2-4 weeks with the Official Invitation!!

December 3 - The following Monday, I got my invitation to be a Health Volunteer in Namibia (Africa), leaving March 11, 2013!!!!!  I also received LOTS of documents to start reading...and then accept the invitation, electronically. The day after I did this, another email was sent, with more info to read, and letting me know in a few days I would be getting a packet in the mail with even more info - 

I've heard that it's a long process, with a lot of waiting...but once it begins, everything moves at warped speed! Let the fun begin.... :)

Ok, so it's dated 2009...but still, it's from the White House 
AND I have Barack Obama's signature!!!

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