The past week of orientation has largely been focused on managing expectations. Expectations about working for a large bureaucracy (money, vacation, paperwork) and expectations about that mystery location where we will serve our first 2 years as diplomats. No matter where they have served along the way, long time FSOs often reflect vividly on their first tour and talk about how much it shaped their entire career. And we've also heard from very senior officials that their own first tours were almost always amazing and positive, even if they were sent to one of their lower picks.
So with my bid list due next week, I've been spending the weekend doing my research and managing my own expectations. I didn't think this process would be so difficult. After all, I joined the Foreign Service very much willing to go anywhere and do anything. But what I didn't expect was for there to be one position on our list that fits my skills, experience, and passions perfectly. If I could have designed a dream position, this would have been it. While I may stand a decent shot at being assigned to this position, there are a lot of moving pieces in the assignments blackbox, and I also have to prepare to go just about anywhere.
Outside of class, I've been trying hard to balance my personal life. A-100 is full of lunches, happy hours, and other bonding activities but I also need time with my friends and loved ones here in D.C. I'm still trying to figure out to do everything and see everyone while allowing some "me" time, which has made these last two weeks particularly full, but exhausting. And things are not slowing down in the coming weeks, with more classes, a camping trip with friends, and waiting until Flag Day. I really need to just chill out like my friend at the Baltimore Zoo, below.
|Polar Bear at the Baltimore Zoo being much more chill than I am right now.|