Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Looking Forward: Third Year Extension

Yesterday marked the deadline for third year extension applications to be turned in to Peace Corps. In true Tija fashion, I submitted my application two weeks ago. While most would regard my promptness to be a positive attribute, it is causing me anxiety. Why? Because it is requiring more patience than I would like to muster. I want to know about my future and my extension now. After all, I have already been waiting for two weeks, right?! Sigh. This brings me back to my initial application to Peace Corps... Oh the waiting!

It turns out that TEN people from my Bots 10 group have applied for an extension (and I am unsure of how many from Bots 11 are pursuing extension and would begin shortly thereafter). That is an unprecedented number of people to apply, especially from a group with so few volunteers. That's nearly half of all those who are still here from Bots 10. If all of us were guaranteed placement, this would be exciting beyond compare. These people are my family here and I would love to share the rest of this journey with them. Unfortunately, placement for third year assignments depends on available funding, volunteers' skill sets and experience, and fit with the limited number of potential host organizations. Even still, I will remain optimistic that we all get accepted for extensions within our chosen fields. I believe we each have what it takes to make great contributions here and enhance our own capabilities. That being said, we will have stiff competition this year it seems.

The competitive nature of this third year application cycle makes me all the more anxious to hear back from Peace Corps about the next steps. I know most of us are already questioning the process and are ready to hear more. I, personally, would like the opportunity to begin a dialogue with the staff and look forward towards the upcoming year. And I would like that year to be in Botswana and working with my proposed organizations. Is that too much to ask?

I have been told this process is fluid and comes from a number of meetings with staff and potential host organizations. I have also heard that it is like a mini version of our initial application to Peace Corps, requiring renewed medical clearance and interviews. I am hopeful that it falls somewhere in the middle. And that it happens quickly.

Fingers and toes crossed for expediency with this application and with my future placement. Deep breath, though, just in case it takes a while...

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