Yesterday, I passed the Foreign Service Oral Assessment examination. It is step two of many many steps over a really long time (think years potentially) to becoming a Foreign Service Officer.
I still can't believe I passed the test. It was grueling - just the paperwork alone to prepare for the test was insane. But it actually happened. To learn more about the test itself and what a Foreign Service Officer is, go to the State Department website. Basically a Foreign Service Officer is a representative of the State Department overseas in the embassies. It's more complicated than that, but that's the super duper basic definition.
Some of my favorite moments of the day:
1. My suit is about 6 years old and juuuust fits. The pant legs however are a little too short. So I wore knee high black socks so that when I sat down and the pant legs came way up my legs, it wouldn't look too weird. Tee hee. I teased someone later by saying that I was just dressing like the stereotypical government worker.
2. The giant hug I got and gave to C.B. who also passed with me. He is a wonderful guy from New York. We hung out at the Botanical Gardens in DC for a little bit while waiting to find out our scores. We were the only two that passed and neither of us was hopeful. To share that experience with him was and always will be amazing for me.
3. Making the assessors laugh. They are supposed to be stone faced during the entire process, but I was just being myself and made them laugh. I think that's why I passed.
4. Riding the train home afterwards and listening to the song "How Bizarre" on my iPod. One of my favorites and so apropos to how I was feeling about the entire experience.
To put the magnitude of this event into perspective:
Last April I sat for the written portion of the exam. Approximately 35,000 people worldwide also took this test and roughly 20% or so passed it. Of those 20% who passed (let's say six thousand), we have guesstimated that about 20% pass the oral examination. So with lots of guessing and some real numbers from the State Department, I am one of about a thousand or so who have passed both the exams.
But it's not over yet, I still have to have a security clearance/background check which could take months, I have a medical clearance, and then I'm put on a list to sit and wait for a maximum of 18 months to get offered a position. So there's no hurry or worry.
I'm just glad I passed. For now, that's all I wanted!