Path to Service: Autistic and Pre-July 2014 Application Process Edition
Note: Everyone’s timeline is different and mine applies to the pre-July 2014 process. However because I required medical pre-clearance, I am including it to serve as a benchmark. If anyone wants to create “I survived the Peace Corps application process” t-shirts, I would invest in one!
Finally please read the Autism PAQ, to understand why I sincerely have no ill feelings towards the medical staff and a better explanation of the medical holds.
Bold: General Timeline
italicized: My medical pre-clearance time line, beyond general application tasks
normal: extraneous events outside of Peace Corps but they got me to South Africa
March 2013: Visit a CHOP Volunteer at their site in South Africa. Decide I want this experience.
May 2013: Talk to a Peace Corps Botswana staff member and learn that many volunteers serve with mental health labels.
June 2013: Started the Peace Corps Application Process
August 21- 23, 2013: Submitted my final application and finish health history form
September 11, 2013:Talked to recruiter tabling at my college and receive e-mail about my missing references.
September 18, 2013 :All references are completed and recruiter scheduled an interview
September 27, 2013: Skype Interview (as I misplaced my phone that week) with recruiter and told to anticipate a nomination!
October 1-15, 2013: Government Shutdown: 2013 Edition
November2013-January 2014: Email the recruiter each month to check on progress.
January 16, 2014: Call my recruiter and find out there is a medical hold and I cannot be nominated for a few weeks (at minimum).
February 3, 2014: Meet with the recruiter on campus, and find out there are 3 programs I could be nominated for.
February 6, 2014: Find out there is only one country I can go to, South Africa. The health extension program looks incredible, but I am anxious of having one potential country available. Decide to proceed with the nomination and see if the medical office will eventually offer more countries. Start applying to graduate school.
February 10, 2014: NOMINATED!
February-April 2014: Entered the Medical Pre-clearance process. Submitted mental health treatment summary, mental health medication summary, prescription medication summary, asthma evaluation, and personal statement on mental health forms. All providers indicated no concerns about my ability to serve. Also submitted fingerprints and criminal background check for legal clearance.
April 11, 2014: Receive Medical Pre-clearance!
April 15, 2014: Receive Legal Clearance!
April 25-30th, 2014: Accepted to graduate school, email the placement officer to see if there are additional options. She sends a reply that I am still being considered from South Africa, as the medical pre-clearance contained restrictions on placement. .
May 3, 2014: Graduated college!
May 5, 2014: Asked the medical office for an appeal to reevaluate my case on the Medial Applicant Portal (MAP). Leave the country on the 6th for 18 days.
May 8, 2014: Response in the MAP in the portal states my situation is not eligible for an appeal. There is list of 10 countries where Medical will let me serve: 5 have health extension programs and one does not require a language: South Africa.
May 28, 2014: Sent another message on the MAP asking for a revaluation of my case.
May 29, 2014: Once again, denied an appeal on the MAP. The explanation provided was I had to be placed in a country with a psychiatric Intervention support and mild asthma support.
May 30, 2014: 30 minute phone call with a compassionate nurse from the medical office. She explained the support definitions and said that an independent psychologist reviewed all my paperwork and recommended the restrictions. Call the recruiter and discuss my options. Accept the offer for Graduate School.
June 4,15, 2014: Received health placement questionnaire while on vacation and submit it on the 15th.
July 14, 2014: Invited to South Africa!
July 18, 2014: Peace Corps announced the new application process. E-mailed the placement officer to see if reapplying would provide more options, but she confirms I probably would have the same outcome. Accepted my invitation to South Africa!
July 24, 2014: Started the Final medical Clearance exam with a physical and lab work
August 6, 2014: Started the final Dental Clearance with a dental exam
August 21, 2014: Uploaded the last of my forms after a few errors and received…Final Medical and Dental Clearance!
August-December 2014: Attended graduate school for a semester
January 20-21, 2015: Staging in Philadelphia and depart for South Africa!
March 30, 2015: Sworn in as a US Peace Corps Volunteer…at last : )!