Thursday, March 30, 2006

Candidate #0000 - Post 19

37 days until graduation.

“Out of the dark
Hörst du die stunde, die dir sagt
Into the light
I give up and close my eyes
Out of the dark
Hörst du die stunde, die dir sagt
Into the light
I give up and you waste your tears
To the night”
- Falco, Austrian rock star (1957-1998)

Sometimes I feel like my life is a graveyard of broken dreams.
In the Anne of Green Gables books (one of my favorite books), someone warns Anne about the dangers of putting your whole heart in dreams and new ideas and getting too excited and happy about something, because when things don’t work out you’ll be extremely disappointed.
Anne argues that this is the only way to live your life to the fullest and that she wouldn’t want to give up the highs, even if she knows they come at the cost of severe disappointments.

Anne and I have a lot in common. And usually, I would agree with her, but today I’m seriously questioning if it’s all worth it. But then again, I know I couldn’t NOT get excited and invested in my dreams. I just don’t know how to only put half of my heart into something.

Today has not been my day. No, that’s an understatement. Today, I feel like my life has become a graveyard of broken dreams. And as I mentioned before, I put my whole heart into my dreams. They are like my babies. And when they die, part of me dies. And after that, I’ll never be the same again.

I don’t know if any of this makes any sense, but I don’t know how else to describe how I’m feeling right now.

But I probably should have started from the beginning.
I had already scheduled an on-campus interview with this school. But when I scheduled the interview, I also asked whether or not they would be able to sponsor me for a visa, as I wanted to find out that information prior to coming on-campus. They had to check with Human Resources and today I got my answer…and it wasn’t the answer I was hoping for. So I had to cancel the on-campus interview.

Let me just say, the ResLife staff there was really great and I really feel like they tried their best. It had nothing to do with them and I really appreciate that they went through the hassle of looking into this for me.

But after I got the phone call, I felt like my world was falling apart. This school had been on the top of my list at the moment. I really liked the staff members I met. The more I learned about the position the more I liked it. I really felt like this would be a great fit and I would greatly enjoy working there. I was starting to fall in love….

The rest of the day I just felt like crying. All my energy went into trying not to cry in front of anyone. I spent about an hour in the office trying to do work and just didn’t get anything done. I had the hardest time paying attention in class today and of course we had to talk about conference and job searching, which just made me want to throw up.

I know I shouldn’t take this so too heart, but it was just one of those nightmares that suddenly came true, caught me by surprise and totally knocked me over. My brain tells me that I’ll get over this – life goes on, right? – and then it’ll be just one of those unhappy memories that I try to block out. But right now, it feels like this is the end. I’m probably going to spend the rest of the night curled up on my couch under a thick blanket as if I was sick, eating ice cream (yes, I eat ice cream when I’m sick) and watching TV. I taped tonight’s One Tree Hill episode and it promises to be sad one, so I’ll be able to have a good cry and pretend it was just because of the sad storyline.

Sometimes I just really feel like I’m not wanted in this country, and I don’t know why I keep insisting on staying here. Why do I put myself through this torture? Is it really worth it?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Candidate #0000 - Post 18

40 days until graduation.

Song I’ve been listening to all day: “Blaue Augen” by Bluemchen
(Yes, I’ve rediscovered German ‘Eurotrash,’ as one of my friends would call it. I haven’t listened to this stuff since 1998, when I was a little sophomore in high school and obsessed with dancing. I actually bought the CD – The Dome Vol. 6 – only because it had Ricky Martin’s ‘The Cup of Life’ on it and my dance team was doing a routine to that song. But somehow listening to some of the other songs on the CD has been very therapeutic for me lately.)

Strangest development of the past few days:
So I’ve actually started watching basketball on TV. Me! Ms. I-don’t-even-know-what-a-3-pointer-is. Okay, so I haven’t really really been watching it. I only try to catch like the last ten minutes, so I know what’s been going on. But that’s a lot for me, because I usually don’t believe in watching any sports on TV (except for skiing of course but that’s part of being Austrian).

Okay, so here we go: I’ve been back from ACPA for 4 days. It’s been rough being back. I’ve been struggling to catch up on work, while I’m also fighting a bad case of “no motivation.”

On the job search front, the emotional roller coaster continues. I’ve gotten an offer for an on-campus interview – and I turned it down. It just really wasn’t the type of position that I’m looking for and I figure I’ve been unhappy with my job for long enough…I really need to find something I love again or I don’t know how much longer I’m going to make it. But of course, as soon as I had turned down the offer, the panic set in. What if this was the only on-campus interview I would be offered? What if this was my only chance and I screwed it up because I’m too obsessed with finding the perfect first job? Well, it doesn’t have to be perfect…just better than what I’m doing right now (and this isn’t asking for much, trust me).
Then, I got another on-campus interview. For a couple minutes, I was in seventh heaven. Then, panic set in again because now I had to tell them that I’m an international student. I had mentioned it in the interview at ACPA, but wasn’t sure if they realized what exactly that means. So I called back and brought that up and it went surprisingly well. They had actually figured that I would need sponsorship for a visa eventually and were prepared to help me with that. Yay! But of course, things couldn’t go that easy. After I had set up an on-campus interview with them, I realized that I had messed up the date and that I had a prior commitment on that date. So now I have to contact them and ask if I can reschedule. That’s going to make me look like an idiot! Way to go me!!!
I did get another on-campus interview and it was even from a school in California. Wow! I could feel a huge grin spreading across my face. But of course, once again, I hadn’t told them about me being an international student yet. I ended up e-mailing them this weekend. But now I’m freaking out that they may change their mind, once they realize what my particular situation is, or just tell me that they won’t be able to sponsor me for a visa next year…and what’s the point in working there for a year then? So once again, I’m panicking.

This emotional roller coaster is really making me sick. I spent most of the weekend in bed because I just had no energy to even get up. I’ve been trying to hide away – read a little Harry Potter in an attempt to forget about the real world, but even that hasn’t been successful. You know something is wrong with me when I can’t even escape into my Harry Potter dream world. I just really wish this whole process were over. I’m ready to know where I’ll be next year, ready to settle down in and relax in the knowledge that I’ll be in that position for at least two or three years, ready to sleep through the night without having crazy nightmares about messed up on-campus interviews and people telling me to ‘go back to my own country.’ I’m ready to have a life again!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Candidate #0000 - Post 17

44 days until graduation.

Quote of the Day:
Patience is a virtue.

How am I feeling today?

So...I have no idea where to start.
ACPA is over. These past few days have been an emotional roller coaster and if today was any indication, this involuntary roller coaster ride will continue for a while.

As I’m staring at my screen, I’m starting to release that summing up the past couple of days in a few paragraph is absolutely impossible. So I will try to give you just a little snapshot on what’s been going on:

Top 5 Frustration Factors:

5) The Questions. Once you return to campus, EVERYONE will ask you how the interview went and what your favorite schools were. And at least for me, I have a hard time figuring out how well an interview went because my perceptions have proven to be totally wrong at times, and my favorite schools are the ones, who will hire me. I’ve been trying very hard not to fall in love with schools that do not seem too interested in me, because I don’t want to get my heart broken. Even worse is the question, “Have you heard anything about campus interviews yet?” because immediately, you’ll start asking yourself, “Should I? Did other people get offers yet? Does this mean they didn’t like me?”

4) The “I don’t know what that means” factor. If someone sends you a really nice Thank You note, does that mean they didn’t like you and wanted to make you feel better or they liked you and will contact you about an on-campus interview soon (especially in regards to those institutions, who didn’t have second interviews)? If someone sends you a note after the second interview that says, “I enjoyed meeting you and we will be in touch,” does that mean that they really enjoyed meeting you and are going to invite you to campus or that they just liked you as a person but you may still not get an on-campus interview? If an employer stops when he/she sees you and starts a conversation outside of Placement, does that mean they liked you or do they just want to be nice to everyone?

3) Colleagues who treat Placement and this whole job-searching process as a competition. Maybe it helps your self-confidence to tell me exactly how many interviews you’ve had and how great you think they went, but I’m sorry, this not-emotionally stable grad student CANNOT handle this. I have enough self-esteem issues without others trying to destroy all my self-confidence!!!

2) Nightmares are not just nightmares. For the past two years, I have been worried that because of not having the traditional residence director experience but instead spending my first-year as an Assistant Hall Director with no supervision experience and then being placed in a Family Housing area with very different responsibilities, I would have a hard time getting my dream job (Hall Director of a traditional residence hall, preferably with first-year students). Supervisors and friends have been trying to tell me for the past two years that I had nothing to worry about. Well, they were WRONG. Many institutions asked for the number of student staff members I have supervised, the number of residents in my building, etc. and once they heard my answers, they clearly seemed to loose interest in my candidacy. So after two years of hard work, I feel like I have NOTHING to show for it. (And yes, maybe I’m being a bit of a drama queen and I’m making it seem worse than it was, but that’s how it felt. And after being unhappy in my positions for two years now, I don’t think I deserve having to deal with this…in addition to all the other stuff I already have to deal with as an international student.)

1) Once you make it through Placement, the torture isn’t over. Now, actually it has just begun. I have no idea how I’ll keep my sanity in these upcoming weeks where all I can do is sit around and wait to hear from institutions.

Top 5 Happy Highlights:

5) Placement is not as bad as you may think it is. Yes, it was stressful, nerve-racking and exhausting, but it could have been a lot worse. I soon got used to concentrating on the person across from me and ignoring all the distractions and conversations going on around me. After the first day, I felt like I knew where to go and what to do. You fall into a routine and are able to leave some of the butterflies and fear behind.

4) You’re so busy that time just seems to be flying by. Before you know what really happened, Placement is over.

3) For once, it pays off to be a geek. Having a folder with sections for each school and a cover sheet that summarizes some of the most important aspects about the position was really useful…and for once, people didn’t make fun of me for being a nerd but thought this was a really good idea.

2) You get to meet some amazing and extremely supportive professionals. I really had some good conversations – some during interviews or around Placement afterwards or at Socials – and really appreciated working in Student Affairs again.

1) Getting text messages, cards and phone calls from colleagues and friends, who are really trying to support you and brighten your day.

This is my update for today. Now, I’m just trying to wait to hear from schools about on-campus interviews. I’ve thought about ranking schools and then given up on it. I just can’t think about all this right now because it’s making me way too nervous. Now, being back from ACPA, the whole international-student issue is causing anxiety for me again. How do I tell an institution that I am an international student? I feel like I need to do this prior to accepting an on-campus interview? I don’t want to go and waste my and their money and time with interviewing for someone, who may not be able to sponsor me for a visa. Yes, I have the Optional Practical Training for a year, but I don’t want to just go to an institution for a year and then have to go through job-searching hell again next year to find a school that’ll be able to sponsor me. No, I need to know that they would consider sponsoring me (as long as I don’t mess up in my first year and that they really like me and want to hire me back for a second year). But how do you ask that? How do you bring that up? How? How? How?

Sometimes, just going back home and working at the local McDonald’s sounds like an amazing idea. Or I could always take a year off, travel to Australia, work random temporary jobs and just put my life on hold for a year. Maybe in a year, I’ll be more ready to deal with it.

But in the end, I know that’s not possible…or at least not a good, practical idea, so I guess I’ll just have to deal with this stress and hope that I won’t crack up in these next few months. Sometimes I feel like I’m getting horribly close to cracking up.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Now Hiring?-Post 16

Post 16 (16!) from Now Hiring?

WOW. I just had my last interview during Placement. Let me say that I am extremely tired, and for good notice, my feet really hurt like hell. It's good to be back in my hotel room and relax for a few minutes. However, I have a business meeting to attend, dinner with a colleague and fellow Placement survivor, then a network meeting, then sleep. This past week has been non-stop...I don't even know what day it is. I finally got to see a session (one of my grad school cohorts presented, and did a great job!), and tonight I get to mix and mingle.

Well, I'm guessing you want to know how Placement went. Let's just say, if I have this opportunity again, I won't schedule a lot of interviews back-to-back. It was a lot harder to shift gears from one school to another in the span of, oh like, 2 minutes. I had a lot of interviews, and many went well. I had 6 second-interviews, and they went fairly well. I hope to start hearing back from places next week (pretty much everyone's time line is the same). Now I'm realizing the proverbial professional ball is rolling, and all I'm doing is trying to relax and pace myself.

For those of you about to do Placement or are curious about the process, lemme detail some things you won't learn at orientation:
1. You can be professional, but don't try to be outlandish. I saw a lot of professional wear, some stand-out outfits (pastel color shirts, colored hair, piercings), but don't go into your top-choice interview dressed like a clown or in a pimp-suit. You can be individualistic but not tacky at the same time.
2. WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES! Placement is in a spacious area, but walking on concrete for 4 days straight is not fun. Ladies, keep this in mind (I saw a lot of limping women in high heels, especially today).
3. Your ACPA bag is nice, but it only handle a small load. During Placement, schools will give you a lot of nice goodies. One recruiter was right with this assertion: You'll get so many folders, you won't have to buy your kids any of those when they go to school.
4. My untested theory: If you get a nice parting gift (not a folder, but something really nice), you probably won't hear back from them. However, a colleague of mine disproved my theory...he got a pretty nice gift, but got a 2nd interview. If you can prove or disprove my theory, lemme know.
5. Thank you cards...let's just say that Hallmark made a killing this week. I brought everything but the cards, and almost paid $17 for them at a hotel shop (that's why you have friends with extra cards). Make sure to buy them early and bring them...and expect to get some nice ones back from schools.

Well, I have to get back to the festivities (plus housekeeping is waiting patiently for me to leave). I have a campus interview on Thursday, so when I get back I'll blog about that experience. Take it easy, and stay safe around all this damn snow (I thought it was Spring around here...ain't it?)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Candidate #0000 - Post 16

ACPA Day 2

It's Sunday, March 19th, 4:01 p.m. I have 29 minutes before my next and fortunately last interview of the day. My throat is definitely starting to hurt from talking too much. I'm starting to get a bit tired and it's harder to convey my energy and enthusiasm in the interview. But overall, these past two days, while crazy busy, haven't been all that bad.

I have to say, I absolutely love my friends, colleagues and supervisors. Everyone has been so supportive...leaving me notes in my mailbox, giving me little present, encouraging me and most of all believing me in. Their support has meant so much to me and has really made this experience a very positive one.

The interviews have also been going pretty well. I have had a couple of invitations for second interviews and now my Monday is just as busy as my Saturday and Sunday have been. But hey, I'm starting to get in a routine and even waking up early in the morning hasn't been as painful as I thought. I can do it, right?

Leaving at least half an hour between interviews has definitely been helpful. At least, you get around to taking a quick break, writing some thank you cards and refreshing your knowledge on the institution that you're about to interview with.

Okay, it's 4:06. Time to get back into the Placement Center, write two Thank You notes from an interview I had this afternoon, then read up on the next institution I'm interviewing with...a quick stop by my mailbox (which has become a bit of an obsession for me) and then I'm off to my next and LAST interview for the day. And then, the Opening Speaker and all that fun stuff! It'll be good. I'm excited about getting out of placement and actually getting a chance to see a bit of the conference.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Now Hiring?-Post 15

Post 15 from Now Hiring?

My Feelings: Pretty damn tired
On TV: "Walkout" on HBO

Well, today was my first day at ACPA and at Placement. It was a long day for me; I had 5 scheduled interviews today, and for the most part they went pretty well. I didn't realize how tiring the process could be, but I'm glad to get the first day out of the way without major trouble.

Yesterday, however, I was a nervous wreck. I went to the first Placement orientation session, and there were a lot of people there. My main concern was "Are there going to be enough jobs for everyone?" It was the only time that I was worried about the competition. At that exact moment when I walked into the room, I was fearful that I would not get an offer. My greatest fear was that I was going to have a lot of interviews but recieve no offers. Also, during the tour of the Placement area, I was completely lost on how to check my messages, set up interviews, or how to ask questions. When I got back to my hotel, I was a mess; I didn't want to even take part of Placement.

That night, I was reviewing my notes and doing some last minute research. When I finished, I said my prayers and just asked only that I could survive the entire process. When I walked into Placement this morning, I felt at ease with the entire situation. I sat down and told myself "just do your best, the rest will fall into place." Tonight, as I sit down and reflect (ugh, that dreaded word) about today, I'm proud that I was able to handle myself professionally and do the best I could. I also saw and met some fellow anxious Placement participants, and I realized that I wasn't alone in this journey.

Well, I'm trying to get ready for tomorrow. If you're in Placement, best of luck to you. In the end, we'll all do just fine. If you're at ACPA, enjoy yourself and, as the Placement folks have been telling me, just smile!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Candidate #0000 - Post 15

49 days until graduation.

Leaving for ACPA: TODAY!!!

Music I’m blasting (let’s hope none of my residents will call and complain):
Dawson’s Creek Soundtrack

tired, anxious, excited, nervous, exhausted, thrilled, apprehensive

It’s 1:30 a.m. What am I still doing up?
One of my friends is picking us (another one of my friends, who is coming to ACPA with me and will be rooming with me) up at 8:30 a.m. to drive me to the airport. Our flights leaves at 10:40 a.m. We’ll get there around 1 p.m., which will give us enough time to settle into the hotel before going to registration and then the Candidate Orientation and getting ready for tomorrow.
My bags are half packed. I have two folders with crazy amounts of information about every institution that I’m interviewing with (which is way too many…haha). I have glanced over the information and made little summary sheets for me, but there’s still a lot more reading/research I need to do. When? Who knows!

Today was kind of a day from hell (excuse my language). I had only a few hours of sleep (because of doing research the night before). I spent the morning trying to deal with an issue with compensation for my student staff, which has been an ongoing concern since the fall semester (VERY VERY long story…let’s keep our fingers crossed that it’s just a miscommunication because otherwise 2/3rds of my staff may quit next week). We had our Complex Staff Meeting. Then lunch. A One-on-One with my supervisor followed by a meeting with my complex manager to discuss my draft of a new rental handbook for my area. At the same time, I was trying to work out some issues in regards to a program that is supposed to happen on Saturday and lots of things have been going wrong. The whole time, I was thinking about a concern, which a paraprofessional staff member has shared with me, and trying to figure out what I could do to help the student. Potential residents kept calling inquiring about vacant apartments and wanting to set up meetings with me and not understanding that I was not available from Friday through Wednesday. I had a two-page To-Do-List of things that needed to happen before I could leave that I was slowly trying to work through. And then class in the evening, while I was still trying to work through some of the problems mentioned above.

But then things got A LOT better. My colleagues gave me a Good Luck card…well, I’m not supposed to know yet what it is. They told me I can’t look at it until ACPA. And I’ve been good…I put it in my bag and haven’t read it yet. I will some time Saturday afternoon, I think. That was just such a cute gesture! Oh, I love them. And some of us went to dinner after class and it was so nice. Now, that graduation is coming closer and closer, I’m starting to think more and more about how much I’ll miss everyone. The other graduate students! The staff! My students (One of them just told me that she is going to Colorado for an internship next semester and she won’t be going home for Thanksgiving…so if I end up somewhere on the West coast and since I also won’t be going home for Thanksgiving, we could totally meet up somewhere. How much fun would that be?)

So I should really get back to packing. Most of my clothes are still on my bed instead of my suitcase. But I have a feeling I’ll be too much in an emotional turmoil tonight to get much sleep anyway. I get really nervous/anxious/excited before any big event in my life. I remember the night before I came to the US as an international student during high school – I was 16 – I didn’t sleep that night at all. I was reading a book to try and calm my nerves but most of the night, I lay awake and wondered what it’d be like. Then, the night before I left for college – now 18 – all I kept thinking about was what if something goes wrong. My parents won’t be there. Nobody I know will be there. What if my English isn’t good enough and nobody will understand what I’m trying to say? What if I get on the wrong bus and never make it to campus? What if I didn’t find the way from the bus station to the campus? After all, I’d never been there before – had no idea how far the campus was away from the bus station. And I wasn’t even sure where exactly I had to check in.

Okay, enough reminiscing about scary nights. Tonight shouldn’t be all that bad, but I still have this weird feeling in my stomach…butterflies. Maybe some vanilla ice cream will help. Vanilla ice cream makes you happy! (I truly believe that. It’s always worked for me.)

Well, wish me luck and I will let you know next week how ACPA went.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Now Hiring?-Post 14

Post 14 from Now Hiring?

My Mood: Pretty relaxed
My Music: Next Level "Player's Paradise"

My usual posting this week has been circumvented by an event that I had been planning for some time: My spring break "getaway" to Las Vegas. I'd been saving up for it, and my girlfriend and I had been anxiously awaiting the day we'd drive to the airport, fly to Vegas, and just chill. Let's just say that Vegas is a wonderful time with a lot of sites, and the buffets were pretty good, though I've had enough scrambled eggs to last me a year. I also dropped a couple of dollars in the slots, and only won $3. My girlfriend, however, won $40 (as if I'll see any of it). If you haven't gone...make plans to do so. If you've got the "Dean of Students" or "University Professor" gig, I suggest the Bellagio or Wynn (their Ferrari collection was wonderful...some were on sale for only $131,000!). If you're like me, Bally's or the Flamingo will provide plenty of entertainment and comfort for nominal costs.

Well, tomorrow I'm driving to ACPA, and to tell you the truth, I'm pretty excited. I'm anxious to get there, stay downtown, and relax. I'm not too nervous about Placement yet...I just hope I have all my interviews written down and I don't start blubbering like a fool when they ask me questions. I think that the on-campus interviews I've had has helped me with what to expect. I'm more nervous about bringing my resumes and business cards...

That's the thing about me; I can bring all the small items I might not need, but I'll completely forget the important item that I really need. It's like this...I can bring my power cord, memory stick, and mouse, and completely forget...THE COMPUTER! Or, I'll bring my suit, socks, shirt, and tie, and forget my dress shoes. So, I'm going to spend most of the evening making sure I have everything. I don't want to get to the interview site and realize I'm missing my dress shoes (I have a short memory like that...dunno why I'm like this)

Here's my gameplan: I'll post before and after Placement to give you a head's up on how I'm feeling. I hope you're looking forward to reading my experiences, as I'm excited to share.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Candidate #0000 - Post 14

53 days till graduation.

Music I’m listening to:
Billy Joel

Favorite Quote of the Day:
“I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.” – Robert Frost

Okay, so I know I haven’t posted in a while. We had Spring Break, which was fortunate, because I was in desperate need of some “alone time”. So I locked myself in my apartment and let my mind do the wandering. Sometimes, I really don’t enjoy reality and then there’s no better cure to melancholy than daydreaming.

Other than that, there wasn’t much going on this week.
I meant to do all this research on institutions that I’m interviewing with and I didn’t. Oh well, I still have a couple more days before ACPA, right?
I got some of my homework done, so I won’t have to stress too much about it this week and can actually prepare for ACPA.
I had dinner with some of the other grad students from my program. We definitely all have the job search on our mind 24-7. Whenever we get together, that’s all we talk about. Some days, I enjoy the conversations. At other times, I hate it because it just causes too much stress and anxiety. I’d much rather avoid thinking about all this and just deal with it, when I absolutely have to. I know denial doesn’t solve anything, but it does make life so much more enjoyable…at least for that moment. And things always do work out in the long run.

I do have a little story to tell you from last night:
It was about 11 p.m. when I realized that I should have gotten my next Netflix movie that day (for those of you, who don’t know what Netflix is, it’s a Video Rental, where the movies are mailed to you). So I threw on a sweatshirt, got in the car and drove down to the post office to check my box. The movie hadn’t arrived yet, so slightly disappointed and shivering in the cold night air, I got back in the car and drove back. I don’t really know what made me stop, but for some reason – let’s call it female intuition – I decided to stop and check my mailbox in my apartment complex. I hardly ever check that mailbox because all my mail goes to my P.O. box. Well, this time I had mail, and it wasn’t just the usual advertisements and mail for residents, who haven’t lived there in three or four years. It was a letter from the Department of Homeland Security. I think my heart literally stopped for a second. I got back in my car like in trance. At first, I was going to open the letter right then and there, but then I figured that might not be the safest option. Depending on what the letter said, I might, in joy or shock and desperation, hit the gas pedal and crash into the garbage cans on the other side of the parking lot. Trying very hard to be sensible, I decided to park my car first, get back to my apartment and then open the letter. Any emotional outbreaks would be much safer inside.
I don’t know how I made it to my apartment. My hands were clearly shaking as I tried to turn the key. Finally inside, I ripped open the letter and….

It was a receipt just letting me know that the Dept. of Homeland Security had received my employment authorization application and will review it. Processing time: 60-90 days. I don’t know what I expected. After all, I had just sent out the application two weeks ago.
I don’t know what I’ll do when I get the actual letter either granting or denying my employment authorization. I may need someone else to open the letter for me. But then again, if my request were denied, I wouldn’t want anyone to witness the nervous breakdown that’s inevitable after that.
Okay, so you probably think I’m a total drama queen now. Maybe I am. But this is my life and there are people making decision about it, who have never even met me.

Wow, just writing this caused me a little too much stress and anxiety for my last night of break. I think I need to do some major daydreaming before going to bed and returning to reality tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Now Hiring?-Post 13

Post 13 from Now Hiring?

Mood:VERY Tired
Music: Destiny's Child "Girl"

Well, I'm back from an on-campus interview I had yesterday. I'll break this up into two important sections...travelling and interview.

I have three conjectures on this section...
1. I love flying. I have an aeronautics background, and I'm working on getting my pilot's license. I have to sit next to the window so I can gaze at the clouds like a 5-year old. If I couldn't work in student affairs, I would definitely be a pilot.
2. I love Chicago. It's a wonderful town. Many of my students are from the South Side, and there's a certain pride you'll have there. Plus, my best friend is from Chicago (the letter avenues on the South Side) and is the hugest (make it the only) White Sox fan I know.
3. I hate flying through Chicago. It is the most awful airport in the country. I used to like it, but aviators joke that if a mere cloud forms overhead, the entire place shuts down. Here's a chronolgical order of the past two days...
-Get to Airport in my hometown. Flight to Chicago "on time"
-Get to gate. Flight to Chicago delayed 30 minutes to "weather"
-Flight now delayed an hour to "air traffic control"
-Flight boards 2 hours after it's supposed to. Take off.
-Land in Chicago. I realize I missed my connection. Go to customer service, get seat on next plane. Leaves in 2 hours, is "on time"
-Run to Dunkin Donuts (you know me), pay for 3 donuts and coffee. Run to gate, realize I recieved 2 donuts and coffee.
-Time to board. One plane. Flight delayed to "aircraft availability"
-Flight finally comes in. People get off, I get on. Sit down...breathe
-Pilot comes on...maintenance problem with rear inflatable slide door. 15 minutes, he tells me.
-30 minutes later, flight is delayed for another 25 minutes. Movie "Aeon Flux" starts showing.
-25 minutes pass...delayed another 15 minutes.
-15 minutes pass...flight cancelled. Go to customer service, try to get on another plane
-No flights available...get a hotel room. I also get $60 voucher for taxi. Go to taxi line, get in cab, realize NO cabs in Chicago take travel voucher.
-I get smart, call hotel. They have a shuttle. Wait 45 minutes, cram on small van to hotel.
-Get to hotel, wait 30 minutes to get a room. Finally get to bed. Wake up 3 hours later to catch early flight.
-Early flight delayed. Got the plane, got the passengers, got the pilots.
-Finally get to destination. Start interview on drive to campus.

Due to my travel woes (which continued after the interview...that's another blog entry), the interview was very fast paced. What was scheduled for 2 days was compressed into a 4 hour block. Despite my lack of sleep, I still felt very prepared for the interview. I also had to give a presentation on an activity I do for my classes. I also met with some students, and they gave me a great glimpse on what life is truly like at campus. I also talked with the search committee, and they too gave me insight on what I was like to live and work on campus. I felt very at ease with the students and the campus partners, and I felt a very strong vibe when I walked through the dining area of their Union (that "gut" feeling I was talking about).

So, the moral of the story is...when you go to an on-campus interview, keep in mind that the completely implausible scenarios can come up...anything can happen! But, on-campus interviews can say a lot about the job and how interested the school may be in you. I told some colleagues today that no matter how prepared you may be for the questions you may be asked or how many times you've looked at their benefits package, TRUST YOUR GUT!

Back to week is ACPA. I'll definitely let you know how that goes. Peace.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Candidate #0000 - Post 13

60 days until graduation.

Sound that fills my apartment:
Silence (except the sound of me typing, the noise my refrigerator makes and occasionally the sound of a car driving by)

“Project” I’m working on:
Making Thank-You cards. (Can you use Thank-You cards that you made yourself? At first, I thought that’d be a really cute idea, but now I’m not so sure anymore. Maybe I should just buy a set of really nice cards.)

It’s Monday, but just not any Monday – Monday, the first day of Spring Break. I love breaks: sleeping-in, watching TV, reading a good book just for the fun of it and not because you have to write a paper about it the next day, more sleeping-in.

We had the interview days for our graduate program on Friday. I was hanging out there all day, helping out and just soaking up the atmosphere. The whole time, I kept thinking: That’ll be me in just two weeks – dressed all professionally, sweating and being nervous, trying so hard to impress everyone. I can feel butterflies in my stomach when I just think about placement. My hands start shaking too. If I’m like that now, I don’t even want to think what I’ll be like when I’m actually at the conference.

Besides worrying about the interview and being nervous, here’s the other thing I’ve been thinking about: There is a couple of schools I sent my application materials to and I haven’t heard from them yet. I know, this is really stupid, but I just can’t help wondering why I didn’t hear from them. I mean, there’s other schools who send me e-mails to ask me to interview with them, but I’m not good enough for these schools? It’s really stupid to even think about this, because my interview schedule is more than full and I’ll be going crazy at placement. But I can’t help it. I just keep wondering why they didn’t respond? Sometimes I tell myself, maybe they just didn’t get around to contacting everyone to set up interviews. But then again, ACPA is in less than two weeks! Then I tell myself that maybe they just had way too many applicants and I wasn’t the most qualified one. That doesn’t really help my self-confidence either. Argh, I just need to stop thinking about this.

Alright, I didn’t even have breakfast yet and it’s almost noon. I should probably get going. But before I do, let me tell you briefly about my plans for break (I figured, if I write it down, I’m more likely to actually do it): catch up on some homework (there’s a few assignments I need to do) AND (and this is the important part) prepare for the ACPA Conference by making cheat sheets about the institutions I’m interviewing with and reviewing their job descriptions in detail.
Let's keep our fingers crossed that I'll actually be productive this break.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Now Hiring?-Post 12

Post 12 from Now Hiring?

My Mood: Really Tired
My Music: Amerie "1 Thing"

It's been a really long couple of days, but I have to keep this short. I've been running around in circles with things in my mind. After the conference last week, I kind of went into a depressive mood. I enjoyed everybody being here, I could be myself, but then they left, and my life went back to reality...and I didn't like it! I was sick on Monday, Tuesday, and yesterday, but I'm feeling a little better. I have another conference tomorrow where my students are presenting. I'm not anxious about it; it's the second time in 2 weeks where my students are the showcase.

I also had an on-campus interview with a local university yesterday. I was pretty anxious to visit a rival school and see what opportunities they had. I was nervous during the drive, thinking about the types of questions they would ask me. When I got there, I could feel the environment was relaxed, and that I could probably funciton in the atmosphere...until I told people where I was from. I got a lot of stares (like the "how the hell you'd get here?" kind) when I told them where I came from. The search committee seemed really nice, and I felt I could work for them without any problems. The drive home was conflicting...should I worry more about the questions I answered or the comments I got from 1-2 people?

During the drive home, I called my dad (yeah, very safe having a conversation flying down the highway at 75 miles an hour). I asked him about what I should do. His suggestion was your gut. My initial feelings were positive; the office was expanding, the university had a dedicated focus on students, and the benefits were good. Even the tour guide made me feel welcome. But I couldn't shake the "oh's" I got. I'll give it some sleep and prayer to see what my gut tells me. It's worked for me thus far, and I'll see where it takes me.

So the moral of the story matter how prepared you are, how much research you put into looking at your job, your gut feeling is something that will trump it all.

Okay, I've gotten little sleep the past few days. It's about time I got some before I just drop during tomorrow's conference. Take it easy, y'all.

Candidate #0000 - Post 12

64 days until graduation.

Movie I’m watching right now:
Three to Tango

Way I’m feeling:
absolutely exhausted and unfortunately really sick.

Okay, so I have to admit, I used to make fun of my parents when they were sick but still went to work. I thought it was the stupidest thing anyone could do. I mean, work is never that important that you won’t take advantage of a nice, relaxing sick day. Lying in bed all day, having your mom make you tea and soup…what could be better?

Well, just a few years later, I’ve turned into my parents. I’ve not been feeling well since Sunday and have had a fever for the past couple of days, but I’ve continued to go to work and classes every day. With Spring Break coming up next week, there is just so much to get done that I don’t feel like I can miss work right now. I’m just glad it is Spring Break next week, so I will get to stay in bed until I feel better.

I should really be in bed right now, but Interview Days for my graduate program are tomorrow (or actually today, since it’s past midnight) and Friday. I’m hosting two candidates and my apartment is a mess. So I’ve spent the last couple of hours cleaning and doing laundry.

The job search has had its ups and downs this week. I have scheduled a few more interviews for ACPA. My interview schedule is basically full for Saturday and Sunday, as I definitely don’t want to have back-to-back interviews. Right now, I have at least half an hour between interviews and I’d like to keep it that way.

My phone interview went really well. I always get so nervous before these things. But I didn’t even have to talk much. They let me ask questions for most of it and then they were telling me all these things about their institution and I got really excited about possibly working there. I’m not sure if I expressed that well over the phone though. It’s just so hard! But I have an interview scheduled with them for ACPA now, so that’s exciting.

I saw another institution that I was interested in, but as I started reading through their position description for Resident Directors, I noticed that it stated that the institution would not be a sponsoring agent for an international student. I was pretty upset after reading this. It just doesn’t seem fair. If I am qualified to do a job, it shouldn’t matter what country I was born in. Sometimes I really can’t remember why I want to be here so badly…I’d be much better off back in Europe, where I’m actually wanted.

What’s really frustrating is that most Americans have no idea about immigration laws. How many times have I been told: Why don’t you just apply for citizenship? BECAUSE THEY WON’T LET ME!!! You have to be a permanent resident for four years before you can even apply for citizenship…and any years as an international student don’t count toward that as you are not considered a permanent resident.
You know what also really annoys me? Every time I fly somewhere, whether it’s leaving the US or coming back, I get checked like five times at the airport. I’m pulling out of the line; my luggage is checked; I’m searched. I was told that I just fit the profile of a terrorist: single, college student…and then, of course I’m a vegetarian. We all know that a lack of meat intake makes you want to kill people, right?
I just don’t get this country: If you have well educated, qualified people, wouldn’t you want to keep them in the country instead of kicking them out?

Alright, enough rambling. It’s time for another load of laundry. TTYL.