Today was my orientation and it was great. I met a ton of really interesting students from all over the country (and representing a pretty wide section of the bureaus at state). I also got to meet a few of my fellow Pickerings, though not many. It was good to have a chance to compare experiences and I hope we get more opportunities to talk later.
As I mentioned before, I got my first choice for the internship this summer. The other Pickerings I talked to got their first or second choices as well, though I did hear of one didn't get either internship she applied for. I'm not sure what the deciding factor is, though I think it helps to apply to bureaus where you have an applicable skill set or some in-country experience.
I would really, really love to go into detail about the orientation and security briefing process, because I found it fascinating, but if there was one thing they drilled into us today, it was discretion. So sorry to disappoint, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. What I can tell you is that I'm very excited for tomorrow, when I actually get to start working.
I'll post my tips about the internship once I've got a bit more experience, though today we got plenty of good advice from the civil service and foreign service people who administer the program. Basically, they advised us to make the most of our time at State - to learn, make friends, and expand our fields of interest - something I definitely intend to do.