I was accepted to the Peace Corp some time in November, and since then have heard almost nothing.
The process was much less painful than I had anticipated. I received a phone call from my recruiter, Antonio, maybe a week after I submitted my application and went in for an interview where he asked me questions like “What motivates you to seek service as a Peace Corp volunteer?” and “Please tell me about your most successful experience in a leadership role. Be specific.”* It was way more formal than any interview I have ever had, but I was in the ‘zone’ and passed with flying colors. I walked home feeling good, but still unsure. Antonio seemed to react well to all of my questions and answers, but at the end of my interview he tilted his head slightly and told me that since the economy had gone to the crapper a lot of people had been applying to Peace Corp mid-career, and although he thought I was a very good applicant, it would be hard to compete as a college student against someone with 15-20 years of practical experience.
I got an email from him the next day telling me I had been accepted.
But it’s not that simple. From what I understand, being accepted is less like actually being accepted, and more like not really being rejected. It means that my application will sit in the Peace Corp database for a year. On a quarterly basis, assignments and programs are opened and recruiters scour the database for applications that fit the qualifications they are looking to fill. If a year goes by and no programs open up that I am qualified for, or rather, the most qualified for, then I’m SOL, and must go through the entire process again.
As much as the Peace Corp seems like the right decision, I also feel like I have so much time to pursue things right now, and I don’t want to limit myself. So I decided that if I did not get an assignment in the next year I wouldn’t apply again, at least not for a little while. And I started pursuing other post-grad options.
Since then, I have come up with 2 job offers – one in New York, one in Boston, and have made it through the first round of a Teach for America application. I also applied for a summer internship with the Student Conservation Association. And through that program last Tuesday, I accepted a position in the interpretation division of Canyonlands National Park.
I have started looking at some other alternative forms of travel – like working in hotels or cafes in foreign cities, or trading work for room and board in a bed & breakfast or on a sailboat somewhere in the middle of nowhere. An adventure is what I’m looking for, and many amazing options have begun to pan out for me. After not hearing from my PC recruiter (Antonio had since been replaced by a new recruiter, Ally) for so long, I began to plan out my life on the assumption that the Peace Corp would probably not happen.
And then on Wednesday, the day after I accepted the job at Canyonlands, Ally called me. She told me she had a potential assignment for me. I would be working somewhere in Latin America (she didn’t know the specific country), in a program for small business owners, as well as teaching a class on entrepreneurship to high school students. It sounded amazing, and I was so excited. There was only one problem – the assignment started in mid-August, and my job at Canyonlands goes until September.
What a tease.
Ally apologized for getting me all worked up, but promised that a new round of programs would be opening up soon, and that I was at the top of the list to be nominated for one of them. My Peace Corp dreams seem suddenly real again, where as for many months they had sat so idly I had almost forgotten them.
I don’t know what will happen in the future, whether or not I will actually ever be successfully deployed. I don’t know if Ally was being serious, or just nice because she felt bad that I had been so close to an actual position. Either way, I am sure the next few years will be spent pursuing many adventures, and whether they are PC-related or not, I see no reason why I shouldn’t document them here.
So over the next few months I’ll keep you updated on my PC progress, as well as my preparations for Canyonlands and any other plans I might solidify. Hopefully they will entertain someone. Maybe they won’t. But writing it all down is definitely giving me some sort of satisfaction, so I guess I’ll continue on with this little blog. At least on the days that I remember it exists.
*Note: On the off chance this blog picks up any readers and someone at some point might want a little more incite on what the actual PC interview is like, I have since stumbled upon this wiki that would have been very helpful. My interviewer asked me almost every question on here, word for word.