Friday, January 28, 2011

Ah grad school... it's good to be back.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A song for the end of January

Just the right feel for a quiet winter evening spent working on research.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


As expected, it turns out that I am not being unceremoniously kicked out. Instead I got an information sheet forwarded to me with separate instructions for accessing the OA. I get the feeling this information was covered/handed out at the mysterious Orientation that I didn't attend, but either way I got it in time and that's what counts.

I'll try to update the Pickering FAQS page as well, but for the most part fellows, upon completing the written test (and passing of course) directly email the testing people and schedule their orals. Also, as I expected, State much prefers fellows to finish the written and oral before starting A-100, so I've got a year and a half. And then, as mentioned in the FAQS page, if I haven't finished the oral I sign a limited term appointment and have 5 years to get off my 'probation' or hit the road.

I guess that's all the new info for now. Hopefully this really does help someone out there who's thinking of applying to Pickering. It's about that time of year too. So good luck applicants! Now, if you'll excuse me I have to finish some reading, and some presentations, and go to work, and email my mentee, and my language tutor and my assigned office and ...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hitting the Wall

So I was running along today and I hit the wall, the Bureaucracy wall, to be exact. There's the impasse between the medical claims people and my insurance people, there's the tuition payment morass that is a mystery to everyone involved, including me, and now there's the tricky issue of how I am supposed to get to the Oral Assessment.

I mentioned a few months ago that I was not required to submit personal narratives. (I have that one in writing, thank goodness.) But apprently by failing to submit the personal narratives I, well, failed the personal narratives. So I got a letter from the QEP saying that my candidacy was over. Huh. I would be more flipped out if I actually thought they were terminating my candidacy. As it is, I'm still pretty sure that whoever is in charge of the fellowship just doesn't really communicate with the QEP people and I will get my OA invite later, probably at the last minute when I have 1,000 other things to do. Pretty standard. Still, a bit of a rough letter to get, even under the circumstances.

I tried to call around and get it sorted out, but as anyone familiar with the system can relate, the people who answer their phones don't know what's going on, and the people who do know don't answer their phones. So it might be awhile.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Meet the newest Foreign Civil* Service Officer Intern (yeah, it's me)

I am the proud owner of a new internship placement in my top choice bureau and office. While I feel like it would be wrong for me to share which office (not really all that interesting to people who aren't me anyway) I will say that I chose carefully, and very strategically and ended up with a choice that hadn't even been on my radar to begin with. I guess that's the great thing about the process. It has gotten me outside my box. Take the studying for the OA for example. Without the motivation to pass the Oral I would never have signed up for a public speaking class, or volunteered to lead a class presentation, or several of the other gutsy things I'm trying out this year. So thanks for that State. And, you know, thanks for the internship deal too. It'll be my first chance to really see how well I fit into the State environment and whether I can keep up (of course I can!) Oh yeah, and I get paid. In money. !!!

*Actually, I'm not sure whether this counts as foreign or civil service work, but either way, intern. That's me.

Monday, January 17, 2011

10 things I'm loving this fall/winter #8

#8 Making Posters

Found a great site for making your own motivational (or demotivational) posters. I just had to make one about this poster I saw at the American History Museum this past weekend. Just think, all those years of driving alone... if only I'd known!

Friday, January 14, 2011


It's been a long time since I posted anything State-related, so I thought I'd update on my status. I'm currently in my second semester (out of 4) as a fellow. This is supposed to be the month that I find out which bureau I'm interning with in the summer. I, along with all the other fellows, applied for jobs in 2 different bureaus, way back in the fall. (September, maybe?) I got an email yesterday about the stipends for the summer internship, so I'm assuming the assignments will be handed out any day now. Can't wait!

In the meantime, grad school is chugging along nicely. I've learned all sorts of useful and important survival tricks: skimming is 99% as effective as reading, the drop-box outside the library is actually a solar-compactor, it is possible to check out all of one's textbooks from the library via inter-library loan, and I'm sure the list will go on. Most importantly, I've decided to give myself a bit of a break from preparing for the Oral Assessment. In the interests of having a life (outside of my full time student and half time worker status) I decided that every conversation counts as practice for the OA. And come to think of it, every conversation should count. All this week I gave mini-'interviews' to introduce myself in new classes. I problem solved with the group at work, I case managed my social life. It was brilliant. I'm not sure if this laissez-faire attitude will last for long, but it's a welcome respite from the type-A rut I'd gotten into and I'm grateful for it.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

This arctic chill reminds me of something...

Yes, it's very ookyook (or is it ukiuk?) and it's very cold outside.

And it just so happens that I got a cold yesterday. Only a day after being trapped in a plane full of health-challenged strangers. Coincidence? I think not.


Friday, January 7, 2011

The big picture

So this video was made by Louis Vuitton, but it does a good job of explaining why I named my blog what I did. So ignore the advertising and enjoy!


It has been a great winter so far. Of course, we're only 1/3 of the way through, and that third did include a gigantic Christmas vacation, but still, I think I've become something of a winter fan.

I cross country skied for the first time ever (thanks for letting me use your skis mom!) and really loved it.

I also went ice skating for the first time in at least 10 years.(The picture above is my mom, not me.) It was a little scary. The ice makes all sorts of weird noises and you can hear it cracking at times. But my wonderful father gave me a very detailed explanation of why it wasn't dangerous, and I guess he was right because I lived to tell the tale.

And of course, there was Christmas. I got to meet the newest generation of the family - I cannot believe how many people are having babies all of the sudden- and hung out with some family I haven't seen in ages. And I got all kinds of loot: a fancy camera for updating my blog, tons of clothes so I can stop dressing like a homeless person, all sorts of random little goodies.