Saturday, February 15, 2014

Three Weeks of Orientation, Week 1

After completing my first week of Foreign Service Specialist Orientation, I can confidently say that I must be the worst orientation 'student' ever. With my sickness on Monday, the snow day on Thursday, and ice stopping me from leaving my house for half of Friday... it's been an abbreviated week. Obviously, I'm hoping to improve my attendance in the coming weeks. The commute hasn't been as bad as I'd expected, averaging an hour and 10 minutes each way. This is way worse than I would ever accept if I got to choose my housing, but I can live with it for a handful of months. (Let's face it, many people have much worse for years on end.)

The sessions so far have mostly been interesting, with a few duller ones peppered in (I guess we do occasionally have to learn actual job related information). As expected, the high level guest speakers we've had (ambassadors and the like) have been excellent. The orientation coordinators have also been a wealth of knowledge. Every speaker so far has had many years with the service and has been very forthcoming with anecdotes.

On Friday, my wife and I met with my Career Development Officer (CDO). We briefly discussed our post preferences with her and then went to the Overseas Briefing Center (OBC) to further research the posts on our bid list. We had already mostly organized our list, but between the boxes of information in the OBC and the post videos we watched, we ended up shuffling our top 7 around. That being said, any of our top 10 (or even 15) would be cool. I feel bad for our CDO; the normal IMS class is 5 to 12 students, ours is 23... and optimization of bid lists gets exponentially harder with more people.

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