Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Restless Applicant Syndrome

Now that it has actually been a month since Jill in the Placement Office told me that I would hear from my Placement Specialist "within the next month or so" (obviously I'm in the "or so" category), I have once again re-started my frenzied anxiety to hear some news.  This typically means frantically checking the Peace Corps Wiki page and reading blogs of other applicants.  One applicant who blogged about the Waiting calls this Restless Applicant Syndrome (RAS), which I like, though I'm not sure it quite conveys the manic, unfocused, and desperate Internet browsing that happens when someone is suffering from RAS.  Anyway, last night, in reading these blogs, I came across some more news that mostly sucks.  March departure dates are also full.  This only mostly sucks because most of the March countries were not ones that I was thrilled about.  I am not over-the-moon about having to wait into spring/summer for departure, but I would rather go somewhere awesome a little later than, say, Mongolia, a little sooner.  I really didn't think I would still be around in March 2011.  However, there are only a handful of countries that have staging dates listed for April, May, and June right now.  I don't know for sure whether this is only because not many invitations have gone out for April, May, and June yet, or if there are less countries that have departure dates during these months.  It seems like both are true.  But anyway, in addition to Botswana and Indonesia in April, Panama has been added.  I would put it in the "OK" category.  In May, Armenia has been added, which I would put in the "DON'T WANT" category.  Mongolia, my night terror, has been added to June.  Obvious "DON'T WANT".

It's hard to explain, but as this process has been going on for so long, and I knew I would be applying to Peace Corps since late 2009 or early 2010, I just started thinking of "lasts" as they came up.  For example, I thought that Feb. 14th, 2010 would be my last Valentine's Day for awhile.  Then Evelyn's 2nd birthday came, March 12th, and I figured that it would be the last I'd get to celebrate with her until she was turning 5 or 6 (five or six! I can't believe I probably won't see her until then).  Then we had a Memorial Day picnic and I thought, this may be the last picnic I throw at the house before I leave.  But it looks like I'll be celebrating Valentine's Day with Colin in 2011, three with Evelyn.  I wonder how many other "lasts" I thought I had that won't actually be my last.  It's disappointing because I savored those moments and now they feel sort of cheapened or even fake because it has turned out so wrong.  The uncertainty of it all is what's driving me crazy.  Then again, I could die tomorrow and then my "last" Christmas that I thought I had ahead of me would actually be last year's. 

As applicants with RAS are want to do, I looked for any reason to get in touch with the Placement Office just as another reminder that I am still alive and still Waiting (Waiting will henceforth be written with a capital W when it refers to "Waiting" in the RAS sense, as opposed to just "waiting").  When I spoke to James on the phone two weeks ago (?), he mentioned that I might want to update my resume again and send an email to rather than bugging Jill again.  So, last night, I updated my resume.  I revised some of the stuff about AIDS Care and added my Project SHAPE training in college since that was pretty significant.  I also changed my Objective portion to be Peace Corps-specific.  In case it wasn't clear that I actually am looking to join PC.  Anyway, I emailed this around midnight, and this morning I had a response (from Jill, great) saying that it would be added to my file (which is currently with my Placement Specialist) and that my Placement Specialist would be in contact "within the next few weeks OR SO."  Again with the fucking "OR SO".  I hate this category.  It's clear that I am destined to be relegated to "OR SO" for the rest of forever.  Jill appreciates my patience during this process.  !!!!!!!!!!!!

One thing that I am looking forward to once (and if) I receive my invitation is getting the constant loop of  "The waaaaaaaiting is the hardest part" out of my head.


  1. Hang in there will NOT be "or so" forever, only for now :)

    Also, in reading your link to the wiki the terrifying Zuds of Mongolia, I saw this and laughed heartily b/c I am a child:

  2. Ha ha ha ha. If I end up in Mongolia, I think that will be my new nickname.

  3. Hey, reading your blog is partially freaking me out...March dates are full!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!!

    -- fellow nominee with RAS nominated for March

  4. Hi Caitlin! I don't know about March dates for sure... just a rumor I read on another blog. And I don't even remember for what program it was. As I understand it, some people are still getting invites for February, but they were nominated for different programs than me. The only solid PC substantiated info I have is that Health Extension, Feb, 2011, Sub-Saharah Africa is full. I probably shouldn't be spreading rumors about March, especially since I don't remember whose blog said that March was full. SO I wouldn't worry if I were you! You can always email your placement contact to find out... mine has been pretty helpful. What's your status and for where are you nominated? Best of luck to you!