I had the great privilege on Friday of volunteering at this year's Pickering GFAF (graduate foriegn affairs fellow) finalist interviews. It was fantastic to meet all (well, half actually) of the finalists and I can say without reservations that I would be pleased and proud to serve with any one of them. So finalists, if you don't make it this time, keep trying!
It was also very exciting to know that about half of my new friends are about to get some life changing good news this week. It reminds me of the question I asked the examiners, once we were chatting after I passed the OA. I asked how stressful it was to have to turn so many people away. I thought for sure it would be a difficult and unpleasant job for that reason. But after the (admittedly limited) experience I had this week I think I agree with the answer they gave. They said that watching one person have their dream come true makes everything else worth it. Hopefully this is a lesson I'll take with me to the visa line...
So good luck to the 40 finalists whose stomachs are all in knots this weekend. Whatever the outcome, you did your best and I'm very proud to have met you.
*One bonus of hanging out all day the selection was re-connecting with the Woodrow Wilson staff, the student programs people from State, and my fellow fellows. Either I've been very lucky in who I've met or this program is surrounded by a lot of great people, because it's always a good time when we all get together. Another bonus was that now I have the lowdown on how the selection process has changed this year, so I owe you all some edits to my Pickering FAQs page.