So this “timeline” is a thing.
Part One: Pre-Application
- April 7, 2017: Callie (my Mom’s Rottweiler who inherited me) passes.
2. April 10, 2017: Started grad school. Masters in Marketing online at SNHU. (Because evidently you need multiple advance degrees now to go help the world?)
3. April 12, 2017: Receive email from friend & alumni PCV Jeff Y. about a Peru Business Advisor position with the Peace Corps. Now that I am down to one dog… maybe… hmmm
Part Two: Peace Corps Initial Application
- April 19, 2017: Submitted Peace Corps application. Instead of writing another grad school discussion blog response post
- April 19, 2017:
- Automated email requesting self-evaluation health history form from Medical Services;
- AutomationManager email message with my applicant number and a prompt to complete my health history form;
- Automated message from Medical Services confirming my medical portal registration to start completion of my health history form.
- Guess what. I filled out my health history form. It was 60 minutes of un-checking all the boxes. Evidently you start your self-evaluation as a decomposed corpse.
- 11:30am MST Automated message from @noreply approving me for all countries. It was sure nice to be automatically validated.
3. April 21, 2017: Email from a Real Person named W. in Washington, DC:
Thank you for submitting an application to become a Peace Corps Volunteer. I am writing to follow up on your Spanish language proficiency.
Applicants must meet a specific level of Spanish proficiency prior to receiving an invitation. To meet the minimum language qualifications, applicants must have completed college-level Elementary Spanish II within the past six years or finished four years of high school Spanish coursework within the past eight years. Given that your qualifications do not fall within those parameters, we are requesting documentation of your Spanish language ability.
Whiplash. Yeaaaaah. I took French 5th grade through high school. Twenty three years ago. And American Sign Language and Japanese in college… twenty years ago. Not so much Spanish.
4. April 24, 2017: Phone call from a Real Human with a caller ID like it was the CIA.
“Let’s discuss your application vs. the Spanish test”
Let’s discuss how much testing costs to clearly fail an exam
“Without any indication of how your resume stands in the applicant pool, I think it would be wise for you to take an exam and see where you stand.” “Also, TAKE THIS EXAM AS SOON AS POSSIBLE”
But the ending deadline for this application is July
“TAKE THIS EXAM AS SOON AS POSSIBLE”
5. April 24, 2017: Research where to take a CLEP Spanish Exam. (I live in rural WYOMING, y’all. I half-expected to take a covered wagon across the Oregon Trail.) I found a testing appointment slot at the local community college CWC, during finals, for May 8th.
6. April 24, 2017: I purchased along with the exam a study guide: CLEP® Spanish Language Book + Online (CLEP Test Preparation) (English and Spanish Edition) for $21.77.
7. Side note: No amount of “come-to-jesus” studying (and during full-time work and grad school, no less) would allow me to pass this test. Peace Corps was off the table in my mind for now.
8. May 8, 2017: I drove 35 miles to Riverton, Wyoming, to take the Spanish CLEP $80.00 at Community Wyoming College. Many students were in the testing room taking their real finals. I was the one with the headset laughing my cabeza off, sweating through my layers, because I did not understand a single word spoken. Since I was taking statistics, it was in the forefront of my mind I could get a score of 25 if I picked “B” the entire test. To continue my application process I needed a 50 or higher.
Note: I watch English TV with closed captions since I am a visual learner. In my native language of English. This was exam was entirely aural. Not my strong suit. No pause button, no asking to slow down, no repeat, no non-verbal cues. Even the multiple choice ANSWERS were read out loud.
9. May 8, 2017: …Three under-boob sweat hours later, final exam: Score: 53. To pass Level One (equivalent of two college semesters) is 50. For Level Two it is 63.
10. May 9, 2017: Send PC my “passed” Spanish exam. @noreply sends:
- “Dear Jessica, Peace Corps is reviewing your application for the Business Advising Volunteer position in Peru departing March 12, 2018. You will be notified no later than September 1, 2017 with a decision regarding this application.”
- Sent online scheduling interview poll for Skype interview AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
Part Three: Interview and the Summer my Life was on Hold
1. May 15, 2017: Fingerprints card mailed notification via @noreply. Action to schedule interview. References contacted for review
2. May 22, 2017: Practice video hangout mock interview with RPCV Jeff Y. over Google
3. May 23, 2017: Video interview from South Portland, Maine to Washington, D.C.. (I was visiting family that week.)
- I tried, but I could not comically break Real Person “W.” during our interview script
- I asked many questions that I was told “it would be covered in training” which doesn’t help in making a decision if I am invited
- Included in my questions was how many applicants… 300+ for 16 positions = 5.34% chance acceptance, based on pure math
- It was approximately 90 minutes of boiler plate questions asked in any interview for any 20-something interviewing for a big job
- I was told to “look for an email between now an September 1” where I would have three calendar days to accept an invitation. (That’s 101 days of waiting for 3 days of response = 2.97% return rate.)
4. May 31, 2017: Receive a legal packet with finger prints. Email my handler, WTF? I also may have sent him a math chart about how much the government could save if they didn’t send this packet to the 300+ hopeful applicants. I am sure that email was filed under super helpful and useful.
5. June 2, 2017: Response from W.: “The Peace Corps sends out legal kits to all candidates who are under consideration, thus receiving your legal kit is standard practice and does not indicate an impending invitation.”
6. July 14, 2017: Perky email to my handler: “Just sending a email to say hello, and not-very-subtly reminding you how excited I am to be in the applicant pool for the Peru Business Advisor position.”
7. August 17, 2017: Another follow-up email to W.:
Hello again W., In our video call in May you said to look for an email anytime “between now and Sept. 1.” Just checking in.
We are getting closer to the September 1 deadline and I am feeling anxious to make plans. (I have a business opportunity on hold waiting for news on the Peru position.)
Are you allowed to tell me where you are at in the selection process? Or if you have made offers yet for the first round of chosen applicants?
Part Four: Acceptance
1. August 23, 2017: “Hi Jessica, Apologies for the late response as I was out last week and getting through my emails. We are filling our last spots for this program and we have decided we would like to move forward in the consideration process and offer you an invitation to the program. You should be receiving the official invitation shortly. Please let me know if you have any questions.”