Friday, April 29, 2011

The New Waiting Game

So I had the waiting game for medical clearance.... now we are on to the waiting game for placement!

Luckily, with the end of the semester projects, papers, assignments, etc, I am staying so busy I am not having a lot of time to obsess about it, which is definitely good for my mental health (or bad, depending on how you look at it - I'm certainly freaking out constantly about Senior Design, so it's a different kind of worry). It's been a week since medical clearance, and still no word from placement requesting a new resume. I know this part can take several weeks, so I'm not worried, but I am hoping it will happen soon! Sadly, with my moving in less than 3 weeks, it probably won't happen before I have to change my address. My fear is that they will contact me in like, 1.5-2 weeks and I will have to tell them to send the invitation to my new address, and then what if it arrives before I get home? Yikes, the anticipation would be killer! I'm trying to avoid thinking about it.

Weirdly enough, even though my letter was sent and I've talked to my nurse and know I was cleared, my letter still hasn't shown up. Damn Columbia Mail Services for taking forever! I keep checking because there was supposed to be something related to my allergies and I was hoping the letter would have more detailed information about it. Hopefully it will show up early next week.

I am also starting to get a little more concerned about my nomination. I was nominated for Central and South America, and from other PC Journals and their discussions with their placement officers, it seems that that is the region experiencing the biggest cuts in programs. My spanish is shaky, and I am concerned that I could get changed regions. I am definitely more interested in what I am doing than in where I am, but after imagining it for 5 months (and taking a semester of Spanish to refresh and improve my speaking skills), it's hard to think how I would react to a change in region. Spanish would also be really useful in my future career, so I really hope that it will still work out. I also am not sure what I will do if I am deferred to leave later than August/September. I have absolutely no plans after graduation. I'm worried enough about having 3-4 months with nothing to do. Should I start job hunting? Look for a temp job just in case? There is so much unknown, and it's really hard to know what to do. Just preparing myself for a curveball and to be sent to Asia or Europe in November or something! Wherever things end up working out, I'll make the best of it!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Officially Medically Cleared!!!

Today I woke up to this lovely email in my inbox:


I just qualified you medically to serve anywhere in the world. There’s a letter in today’s mail. Placement Office takes over now to invite you to a country.


What an amazing feeling. Exactly 11 weeks after Peace Corps received my medical files, I finally have clearance. This is SUCH a relief to have prior to graduation. At least I know I am still on track for my original departure date. Now the waiting game for an invite begins. I know that this phase also varies in time - some people have an invite within a week, while others wait for several months. With less than 4 months until my possible leave date, my invite could come soon, but I know that finishing June and July programs is probably a priority over my August/September leave date.

Also, a question for PC invitees - should I go ahead an email my resume into the Placement desk, or should I wait for them to contact me? I was thinking of waiting until maybe Wednesday next week and then email it in. I should give a few days for placement to get the word from medical that I am cleared, right?

In other news, I became a member of the Order of the Engineer tonight. It was a cute ceremony, and I got a ring to always remind me to be a responsible engineer and that what I do effects others - too bad its about half a size too big!! It's so weird to think I will actually be an engineer in less than 4 weeks when I graduate. I really enjoyed the ceremony though. They spoke a lot about how an engineers job is to help others and ensure that you provide services to others who do not know the information that you do. It really spoke to me as a (hopeful) future Peace Corps member. I will really be able to apply my engineering skills to help solve problems in a community.

Senior design is close to being due, but we aren't yet done. Wish me luck with this crazy weekend I have ahead of me! I thought senior year was supposed to be fun!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Medical Clearance! (almost)

So after over 10 weeks of waiting and nervousness I am (almost) medically cleared! This morning, I woke up oddly early, considering I was planning on sleeping until noon. For some reason, I naturally woke up at 9 AM. I was a bit annoyed at first, but it turns out it was all for a good reason! I first checked my email and I saw there was an email from my nurse! She told me that she was going to start on my application today! I was so excited I started jumping up and down in my room! After over 2 months, I was starting to feel depressed and pessimistic about the whole thing and afraid I wasn't going to make my departure date. 30 minutes later I get a call! Turns out I was missing one of the hep B tests, but other than that, I was going to be cleared. Sadly, because of my allergies and borderline asthma, I am going to have a flag on my account regarding which countries I can go to. I was a little disappointed, but I know that I do have legitimate health concerns, and I appreciate the Peace Corps looking out for my safety and health. I would rather have a flag and be sent to a country where I can safely complete my 2 years of service rather than having to leave early because of a health condition.

I just went to the doctor and got the blood drawn for the last Hep B test. Turns out last time when they tested the Hep B series, they tested for the wrong surface test? antigen instead of antibody? I'm not exactly sure, but the correct test was ordered this time. I should have my results in 2 days, and hopefully clear medical by the end of this week.

I'm seriously on cloud 9 right now! Everyone stressing out about medical - it will get there!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Harry Potter 7.1 (and a side note about Medical)

So I was going to write a long rant about Peace Corps and how my medical is now at 10 weeks. Instead I wrote it, deleted it, and feel lots better! So instead, in honor of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 1's release on DVD, I am going to post my top 5 lists on the movie. It's a happier subject, and I don't want to subject any of you to my whining.

Top 5 scenes I was sad were left out of Harry Potter 7.1
1. Remus coming to 12 Grimmauld place and Harry yelling at him. I always thought this was an extremely powerful scene in the book - it makes Ted's birth so much more meaningful.
2. Kreacher's Tale - what a heartbreaking tale. Plus I loved how Kreacher became loyal to Harry.
3. Potter Watch - the movie could have used a bit more of a comedic break, and in the book, PotterWatch was great for that. It would only have been a short scene change. It was such a fun scene, and it gave a little insight as to what was going on with the rest of the people in the Wizarding World
4. Pettigrew showing mercy and dying by his own hand. This was such a great scene that showed a bit of humanity by Peter. How does he die now???
5. Luna's room and pictures - such a sweet moment when you saw how much they all meant to Luna. I get that it was easy to cut, but it was so cute in the book

Top 5 scenes that I LOVED in Harry Potter 7.1
1. The Opening Scene - OMG, how heart-wrenching. I actually cried in the theaters with Hermione obliviating her parents. They way they showed Harry, Ron, and hermione all preparing for the journey and leaving their parents behind was a perfect way to start it
2. The 7 Harrys. HYSTERICAL. Props to Dan Radcliffe for the fabulous acting.
3. The Ministry of Magic - this entire scene was PERFECT. They really nailed the characters personalities and mannerisms. Props to the actors of a job well done.
4. Malfoy Manor - other than the Pettigrew part, this was fabulously done
5. The story of the Deathly Hallows - such an interesting way to do it!
(I could go on, but yeah, I said top 5. Pretty Much everything).

Top 5 minor things that bugged me
1. Polyjuice potion is supposed to change your voice!
2. Phineas Nigellus! How do you explain the doe now? (No more details - I don't want to spoil!)
3. Why were Harry and Hermione naked in the locket scene? I don't understand...
4. Why was Dobby at 12 Grimmauld Place? I like Dobby and all, but that made no logical sense
5. I wanted Harry to find Lily's letter in Sirius's room. That was such a sweet part of the books.

I hope my little geek out was more enjoyable than a Peace Corps medical rant!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The day I ate meat again, and more waiting...

So I haven't updated in a while, but that's really because I have had nothing worthwhile to update on. Peace Corps continues to be at a stand still - I got legal clearance, but medical still hasn't received any indication that it's going to be reviewed any time soon, even though they will have had all the paperwork for 9 weeks this Friday. April 1st marked the 4 month point from my nomination, so things should start hopefully moving a bit faster now that I'm within that time frame. It's very stressful to not know where I am going or when I am leaving, and to know it could still be several months is killer! For example, my region is Central or South America in August or September. One such country is the Dominican Republic, leaving August 17th. By the 6 week rule that the Peace Corps holds, I might not find out I was going there until July 1st. While I do know that is unlikely, the fact that I could still have to wait 3 more months is killer. Also, if things end up falling through, I'm not quite sure what I will do...

Well, on the subject of backup plans, last week I did apply for my first backup option in case Peace Corps doesn't work out. I applied for the Americorps NCCC Program. It is a 10 month commitment from September to July and you travel around with a small group doing different projects. Project areas include disaster relief, environmental conservation, and others. I think it would be a really fun back up option that I would really enjoy for a year. My only fear is if I get accepted into this program before I know about Peace Corps. It would be a difficult decision.

I cant believe that in less than 2 months I will be graduating. I got my cap and gown, so it's real. This have been so crazy this semester - I think the teachers secretly don't want me to graduate with the amount of work they are piling on to me! Things are finally starting to slow down as we reach the end of the semester. Right now the major thing I've got to work on is senior design, which is really getting to the end. Lots of late nights to be coming up to finish it all on time!

On another note, yesterday marked the end of my pescatarian ways. Yes, I ate chicken for the first time yesterday in 2.5 years. I had chicken noodle soup (actually, technically it was chicken and stars, but yeah). It tasted kinda weird to me... I mean, there isn't much chicken in it, but it's been so long since I've had chicken that it tasted bizarre. I'm going to slowly introduce chicken over the next week or two, and then start moving a little into some red meats. I know with Peace Corps I need to be able to eat meat, but I'm still talking it slow. I think my mom had a celebration - she wasn't very happy when I stopped eating meat to begin with!

That's all for now. Just continuing with end of the semester plan, getting my parents trip up in may for graduation settled, and starting to trash stuff from my room that I won't be keeping. Can't believe these four years are almost over...