Hannah Goes Fishing

A Fishing (and more) Blog

Peace Corps Update: Disappointment and Decisions

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Today I received this email (name and references to the sender have been removed for privacy):

Hi Hannah,

My name is *********** and I am the Placement Specialist for the Agriculture and Environment Desk at Peace Corps Headquarters. As you are aware, your Recruiter Nominated you into a Health program in December. Unfortunately, after reviewing your application, the Health Desk did not find you competitive for a Health program at this time.

However, your application was passed along to me on the Agriculture and Environment Desk for review.  My initial review of your resume indicates that you are a competitive applicant for our Agriculture and Environment programs. The earliest program that I can consider you for will not be departing until early February, 2014.

Please let me know if you are still interested in Peace Corps service knowing that you will not be able to depart until early February, 2014. Additionally, please let me know if you are interested in an Agriculture/Environment sector program.

As you might imagine, this was pretty crushing news.  I had been convinced (my own fault) that my invitation to a country departing in September was surely just days away.  And then: this.  I replied immediately, letting the sender know that I had received the email and would need a few hours to think about it.  I spoke with my family, and tried to consider the pros and cons of the change.  I needed more information (would I have to start the process over again?), and so wrote another email asking:

Can you advise as to how the process would proceed from here if (and likely, when) I would give the go-ahead?  Will I be re-nominated and then start from that point again? Or would I then be just waiting for an invite as before?

I received an almost immediate response:


You will not have to start over at all. The process is simple: you tell me your interested, I do a full review of your file, I make the final decision and contact you.

In my previous email I indicated I did an initial review (looked over your resume); I still need to do a complete review (read everything in your application: resume, interview, essays, references, transcripts, emails, notes from your Recruiter, etc). I will do my complete review in the next one to two weeks. Once my review is complete, I will give you a call to follow-up on anything necessary.

If everything is excellent, I will send out the Invitation for service in about a month. This would guarantee you a spot in the training class.

Essentially, it boils down to having to wait another six months.  I imagine I am a much stronger candidate within the agriculture and environment field, and an aquaculture placement would be very, very awesome.  Health, while interesting, would only ever be a hobby to me once back in the states as  RPCV.  Time spent developing small scale aquaculture and environmental work, on the other hand, plays directly into my career ambitions and compliments my undergraduate and graduate work very nicely.  Still…more waiting. And figuring out what to do with myself for six more months. 

 Other than crushing disappointment (for which I am solely responsible for in as far as inflating my hopes beyond reason), there are a few things to consider:  What if PC pushes back my date of departure again and again? I don’t want to be tread placement water for any longer than is necessary.  Why did my recruiter nominate me for something I wasn’t competitive for?  I remind myself that questions about the past will not help me, and instead I should look to the future. 

I will know my placement in about a month (theoretically), which means I can start learning a language and practicing job skills for my placement.
I will have an opportunity to do some traveling post-graduation (yay!), and perhaps volunteer at a WOOFing establishment or with the Helpx.net site. 
I will get to spend some more time with my family pre-departure.
I may have time to do some seasonal work in the fall and save up some extra bucks.

I won’t get to work in the health field as a primary project.  However, secondary projects abound, I hear.
I will have to wait another six months for departure, which means re-arranging my housing, work, travel, and other life plans (mostly due to a lack thereof past September).  Not really a con, but definitely something that will require a lot more planning and thought.
I didn’t think this would be a big deal, but informing all my family/friends of the setback.  It’s a little sad to have to repeat the news over and over.

In the end, it’s my decision whether to wallow in self-pity or get-the-heck-over-it and see this setback and an opportunity to do things that I’ve always wanted to do while waiting to depart.  I am exceptionally fortunate to be debt-free and financially stable, and surrounded by supportive friends and family (seriously, you guys are the absolute best).  Now it’s a matter of moving on, planning out some unanticipated but exciting time between now and then, and hoping that the process moves forward without any more unexpected hiccups. 

My final email response:

I’ve given the change in my PC application status some serious consideration this afternoon, and spoken with my family about it.  I have decided that I am in the PC process for the long haul, and am excited to continue the process in the agriculture and environment sector.  Please let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help progress my application.  Please also let me know if you have any questions.



One thought on “Peace Corps Update: Disappointment and Decisions

  1. So happy that you are moving on with the process!!!!

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