One week after my interview, on November 17th, 2015, I was sent an email invitation to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines departing July 1st, 2016. I was ecstatic and also surprised and a little nervous. I had been banking on not hearing anything until closer to the know by date- January at the earliest. That way, if my invitation had come later, I could put off dealing with medical clearance and whatever else until AFTER I had finished my master’s program. Of course, it was a big relief not having to worry about the post-degree job hunt (assuming I make it through all the clearance process).
This aspect of the Peace Corps application process seems to be one of the more unsettling for applicants. There is no single standard timeline or application process. Mine was exceptionally speedy, but I’ve seen faster especially with people applying near the deadline. Being fairly active in the Peace Corps subreddit, I have also read of people agonizing over long wait times, with increasing frustration upon hearing of other’s experiences. So it goes.
Invitees are given a mere 7 days to make their decision and tell the Peace Corps whether or not they will accept their invitation. That seems a bit harsh, but with a high volume of applicants and limited positions, it makes sense. As soon as I received my invitation, I did what any mature, independent 20-something would do– I called my mom.
I was nervous about talking to my family about making the commitment to be out of country for 2+ years, and potentially out of contact for a good chunk of that. I have never lived more than 2 hours from where I grew up for an extended period of time. I thought of missing holidays and special events being out of touch with the people I care about. But, of course, my mom was extremely supportive and agreed; I had to accept. So I did.
Then came some more paperwork and more tasks. I needed to create a PC portal account and a PC learning space account. I needed to submit an updated resume, an aspiration statement, and a hodgepodge of other forms. I had to get fingerprinted for my background check, then send those fingerprints in with more forms to the legal office. I also had to apply for a new passport and visa. Of course, I had to also get started on the dreaded medical clearance process (part I, part II)– worthy of it’s own post.
With all of these little things to do, I didn’t feel like it was real yet. There were so many things I could see that could go wrong and lead to me not being able to serve. But, I did all I could do and began making appointments and submitting forms.