This is primarily from memory as I didn’t keep a dated timeline until just recently. I did my best to go back through my emails (pretty helpful that my dentist sends emails reminding me of upcoming appointments) and to look at when my toolkit was updated. That said the * marks dates that are approximate.
Since I haven’t been updating a blog so far this is also acting as a first post of sorts to get everyone caught up with how the Peace Corps application process is proceeding. Enjoy:
September 21st, 2010*: Started the ONLINE APPLICATION. I worried far too much and spent more time than necessary on the essays. They are important but I don’t think I needed to approached them as something that would disqualify me from service if they weren’t on par with something Steinbeck might have written. I eventually realized this, only after rewriting each a dozen times. Here are my essays: Motivation Essay and Intercultural Essay.
November 30th, 2010: Submitted APPLICATION and all REFERENCES turned in. I actually did things a little backward and had all my references done before I submitted my part of the application.
December 3rd, 2010: Received the PACKET containing the fingerprint cards and the National Agency Check Questionnaire. I filled the questionnaire in that night and emailed my recruiter to set up an interview.
December 4th, 2010: Got FINGERPRINTS taken.
December 6th, 2010: Recruiter emailed me back and we set an interview for the following week.
December 8th, 2010: INTERVIEW with a campus rep at UC Davis (I got to wear my new suit! Thanks Dad!). She isn’t an actual recruiter so she couldn’t offer me a nomination right there on the spot but she said that she would “highly recommend” me to be nominated. Here are some questions to look over: interview questions. I prepared by writing a quick paragraph for each question, but I didn’t get into too much detail; I didn’t want my responses to seem scripted. She asked pretty much all of the questions and she made me feel very comfortable. It helped that we both knew Tess D., who is amazing and currently a volunteer in Paraguay!
December 9th, 2010*: I picked up my TRANSCRIPTS and MAILED LEGAL PAPERWORK. Legal clearance shouldn’t be much of an issue because I have no criminal history and I have no student loans (Thanks Dad! Thanks Mom!).
December 17th, 2010: Received an email saying that my status was updated on my toolkit. I was LEGALLY CLEARED! Also, I received a letter in the mail telling me I am NOMINATED for NORTH AFRICA/MIDDLE EAST with a departure date of SEPTEMBER 2011 and a for a BUSINESS ADVISING post. The letter also said that it is a French-based nomination and that I should keep up with my French. Of course I wasted no time going to the Peace Corps Wiki Placement Calculator to see where I was likely to end up. Only two countries in that region: Morocco and Jordan. Only one speaks French: Morocco. Only one has current business advising volunteers: Morocco. Only one leaves in September: Morocco. All signs point toward: MOROCCO!!!! That said, I do realize that things can and likely will change when it comes to Peace Corps placement, but it’s nice to have an idea. It’s also easier to tell people “Most likely Morocco, but that can change” when they ask where I am going.
December 20th, 2010*: MEDICAL PACKET arrives in the mail and I start to set up all my appointments.
December 23rd, 2010: FIRST DENTAL EXAM. I have an embarrassing number of cavities (all those sweets, well, that and not seeing a dentist for 2 years) that need to be filled and my dentist says he won’t sign off until I get my last wisdom tooth pulled (fun times). Over the next month I get all the fillings my dentist tells me too. Luckily for me my dentist had filled out a few Peace Corps forms before (yay! for living in Davis!).
December 28th, 2010*: FIRST MEDICAL APPOINTMENT at Kaiser in Davis. Again, living in Davis pays off (lots of Peace Corps applicants come from UC Davis) because my doctor was also familiar with the Peace Corps forms. She knew just what tests needed to be taken and how to go about things, including the ridiculous hearing test. Hopefully this leads to me not missing a form or a test or not checking a box that would cause the medical forms to be incomplete. She ordered all the test and told me to come back for the TB test the following week.
January 4th, 2011*: Went in for the TB TEST and to redo a urinalysis that was barely abnormal. I went back the next day for hte TB test to be read. It was negative and all my lab results came back as normal. 🙂
January 10th, 2011*: Went in for my EYE EXAM. Nothing special here and he filled the forms out splendidly.
January 17th, 2011*: The doctor’s office called and said that all the MEDICAL FORMS were filled out and ready to be picked up. I stopped by Kaiser to pick up the forms and to make sure everything was filled out and complete. Everything was there. 🙂 Also, I didn’t pay a dime for any of the medical appointments or labs. Yay! Kaiser! (Thanks Mom!)
January 27, 2011: WISDOM TOOTH EXTRACTED. It went smoothly and a few days off work (Thanks Carol!) and eating ice cream did me well. The oral surgeon said it was one of the biggest teeth he had ever extracted! He thought the root of the tooth was up in my sinus (which means a much longer recovery and a lot more chance for complications) but after the surgery he said that once he got the tooth out there was a nice bone structure that blocked the tooth root from entering the sinus (good genes, I guess: thanks mom, thanks dad!).
February 7th, 2011: LAST DENTAL APPOINTMENT so that my dentist could look my teeth one last time and to see how the hole from the wisdom tooth was healing. He filled out all the forms and I was all set. After all is said and done I spent close to $700 on dental exams, fillings, and the wisdom tooth extraction. Peace Corps will reimburse $60 or so. I’m not too distraught; I expected the cost and had been saving up for it. I knew I would have a bunch of cavities. Luckily for me I was able to get in and get some of the cavities filled before the end of the year, before my insurance reset.
February 7th, 2011: I double checked all the forms in the medical packet and completed the check list. I think I had everything I needed, but I guess we’ll see. I MAILED THE MEDICAL PACKET back to Peace Corps Headquarters. I did things a little backwards here again. I found out after I mailed the packet that I could have sent all the medical forms back once I had my first dental exam. Then Peace Corps dentists would have told me what dental work to get done. It really doesn’t make a difference because I’ve sent in my medical stuff 7 months before my expected departure. That and my dentist knew what he was doing. (Thanks for the recommendation, Carol!)
February 18th, 2011: I woke up to an email saying that my toolkit had been updated. I checked the website and I’ve got DENTAL CLEARANCE!!! I was starting to stress because I was under the impression that I would get confirmation that Peace Corps had received my forms (I was dumb and didn’t mail them certified :/). I had actually called the day before to see if they had received my forms but no one picked up and I was planning on calling them again today. I ended up not having to. 🙂 Now starts the painful wait for medical clearance, which likely won’t happen for a while because my expected departure date is so far away. It sounds like they don’t even look at your medical forms until as early as 4 months before you’re expected to leave.
May 4th, 2011: MEDICAL CONTACT!! My nurse from called me! She said that I was missing part of one form. She is mailing me the form and then I’ll fax it back. I now have a medical hold on PC Toolkit.
June 14th, 2011: PLACEMENT CONTACT I received and email from Placement requesting an updated resume. I sent it back the same day. A week later I got another email saying I was being passed on the the PO’s desk for a final review.
July 25th, 2011: PLACEMENT CONTACT, part 2: The Phone Interview My PO called today for my final interview. At the end she let me know that she was sending me an invitation for francophone Africa leaving in late November for small business development!!