Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Peace Corps Application Journey is OVER.

To my friends and to my followers and to everyone I've met along the way, my Peace Corps experience is over. I received the official email from my Placement Officer today. You can read that below. I just want to thank everyone for the support. I could not have made it this far without it. I also want to thank the fellow applicants that I met. Craziness, right? For those that get an invite or already have it, I wish you the best on your travels! This blog will remain open for future applicants to have as a resource. Again, thanks everyone! PMA


Thank you for your email and I appreciate your explanation of your interest and motivation to join the Peace Corps. Unfortunately every country I have spoken with has agreed that they would not be able to accept you into their program because of your visible tattoos and body modifications. The reality is, Peace Corps Volunteers must be able to conform and assimilate into the cultures and communities they serve, and this includes their appearances. Because your tattoos and other body modifications are permanent, you would not be able to conform/modify properly enough as to ensure that 1) your safety and security would not be in jeopardy, 2) you would not ostracize yourself, or be found unapproachable, from local citizens, and therefore 3) you would be able to successfully perform the duties assigned to you for 27 months.

I understand your arguments, however you must be aware that surely the Peace Corps can say “whether or not [your] tattoos would cause any problems”. I am not making this decision sitting in an office in Washington DC. These decisions were made by the staff (both Americans and Host Country Nationals) in the countries we serve in. And trust me, the staff in Ukraine, or Jamaica, or Eastern Caribbean, or wherever, knows better than you or I do regarding how your visible tattoos and body modifications will be regarding in their countries.

I am deeply sorry Joey, however we are not going to be able to offer you an invitation to serve in the Peace Corps. This is not a reflection of your motivation nor your skill set, both of which are solid. This decision is based solely on your inability to modify your appearance in order to maintain a safe and productive service as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.


Jason Bowers"

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Well This Isn't Good...

Finally heard from my Placement Specialist today. It has been weeks. Unfortunately, it wasn't good news. It was quite the opposite. He said that he had spoken to two different countries, both of which did not want me as a volunteer due to my tattoos (note: none are offensive). He said that he is going to talk to a third country and I should hear something within two weeks, however, he said that the outcome will most likely be the same. This being said, it was followed by a "you will not become a Peace Corps volunteer" more or less. Needless to say, this left me feeling completely horrible. I'm going to start job searching now. Oy. I wish I was told this three months ago while I was still in school. This messes up plans a lot. It also leaves me with a lot of anger towards discrimination, even if the Peace Corps says the other country didn't want tattoos. It still comes down to the PC's decision, and this is how it ended up. Lucky me, huh? Official PC decision in a couple weeks, I suppose. I don't expect it to change.

Good luck, fellow applicants.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Official: More Waiting

Just got a phone call from my Placement Specialist. He said the Placement Office is doing somewhat of an internal audit. Basically, he said that this means I most likely won't hear anything regarding an invitation until early January. This really spoils my holiday season. I was really looking forward to being able to tell family and friends about where I'd be going to in March. So much for that. I really just don't like having my life dangle on a string held by the PC. It's so annoying. January isn't too far away, though, and my holidays are relatively planned out anyways. It's just annoying. Ha, at least they didn't tell me I suck and that I'm never getting an invite.

Monday, December 13, 2010


I was supposed to talk to my Placement Specialist on Friday. Left messages, emails..still didn't hear back. I called the main desk and left a message today. Got a call back from Imani...ha. She put me on hold to go talk to my Placement Specialist real quick. Basically, she told me that he said he hasn't heard anything from the country yet so that's why he hasn't been in contact. So now I'm just waiting. Yay... I'm okay with that for now, I guess. No matter how much anxiety I may get from this lovely waiting game, a phrase from a manga/anime that means a lot to me keeps coming up in my head: you can give up on me giving up! That's basically where I stand with that now. Good luck, applicants! Keep up that PMA and things will start working out! BELIEVE IT!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

In-Class Phone Call

I was sitting in ethics class when my phone rang with the 202 number (I had been waiting on this all day). I literally ran out to answer. It was my Placement Officer. He decided that he wanted to have a final interview with me. :D :D :D

The interview was about an hour and a half of intense conversation..mainly about my tattoos. Long and incredibly scary story short, he said that I was a special case, as they've never had anyone apply with as many tattoos as me. Ha, he also asked about my hand and neck tattoos. I said "I have black X's on my hands, a blue bull (like Paul Bunyan) on my left neck, a gryphon on my right neck, and a cartoon symbol behind my left ear." When he asked what the symbol was, I bashfully said it was the Hidden Leaf Village symbol from the anime Naruto. FYI guys, I'm a huge nerd. Haha. He also decided that he didn't like the program I was originally nominated for since my skills weren't so great for Community Development with a focus in Environmental Education (found this out the day before via email with him). Instead, he finds me much more suited for a Youth Development project with a focus in At-Risk Youth. This is perfect for me. He said he needs to contact a few countries to see if they want me even though I'm covered in tattoos. He said he was pushing my file foward for an invitation based on my skills and experience. He said if I don't hear back from him by next Thursday to call him on Friday. I believe next week I will be told whether I'll be getting an invite (or not) and to where it may (or may not) be.

Overall, great conversation. Very informative. So I guess now I have a week to do more research and spaz out. Keep up the PMA everyone! It's working well. BELIEVE IT!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dining Hall Phone Call

Today was the day I was expecting an above average phone call (in terms of positivity) from the Placement Office. I ran outside to answer the 202 phone call, possibly looking like a lunatic to everyone else eating there. It was from my lovely Placement Assistant, Imani. Yes, I've resorted to sarcasm folks. We discussed the message I left on her phone last week. I mentioned the email I sent to her over the weekend to which she responded "I was out of the office." Well, yeah, I get that, but do people not check their emails?? She works in an office..come on. She said my nomination is for early March. Yet again, I get that. I've been told this for a long time now. Let us note this, though: TOMORROW STARTS DECEMBER!! 8-week rule? Psh. She said "We're working on applications leaving in December, January, and February." 8 week rule? I tried to explain to her that I graduate in less than 3 weeks. I said "You must understand the situation I'm in." She didn't really seem to get where I was coming from. However, I am still optimistic about this week. Many of you reading this entry may see everything above and question that, but here are my reasons why that's the case. The first reason is that I have decided I'm not going to deal with Imani anymore. I never seem to get anywhere with her. The main office was more helpful than she has been. The second reason is that I will be calling my actual Placement Office, Jason, on Friday if I don't hear anything else from the Placement Office this week. One good thing that actually did come out of this phone call is that Imani is marking on my application that I can leave earlier than March. Why? BECAUSE I GRADUATE IN LESS THAN 3 WEEKS. I still have my sanity and my optimism about this week. Nothing is going to get me down.


Monday, November 29, 2010

"Early" Phone Call.

So I was in bed. Asleep. It was 11:06am. I'm a college with it. I didn't sleep very well last night so when I heard my phone make noise, I assumed it was my alarm clock. I reached over to turn it off only to realize that it wasn't my alarm going off. It was ringing...WITH A 202 AREA CODE! I jumped out of bed, cleared my throat, and hoped I didn't sound like a buffoon to the person on the other end. It was the Placement Office returning my call from last week (they moved). She gave me some information about what was up and I asked her some questions, too. Ha, she was very polite. Um, basically she said the person I thought was my Placement Officer is just a Placement Assistant, I guess. This isn't the first time something like this has happened to me so I just kind of brushed it off. She did tell me that she believes my file is in the Final Review stage of things because 1. it's not infront of her and 2. because I've already been in contact with a Placement Assistant. The nice lady on the phone also gave me the extension of the person that is actually my Placement Officer so I plan on contacting him at the end of the week to discuss things (mainly that I'm graduating in three weeks and I have no invite and no job and will be unemployed for awhile and...many things relating to that).

HOWEVER, fellow applicants (especially those nominated for January, February, and March), I feel that this week is going to be a good week for all of us. I don't know why, but I just feel really good about this week. Positive Mental Attitude!!!