Half oriented

With tomorrow off for a mid-week Veteran’s Day break, the 149th has officially completed 1/2 of the A-100 orientation course.  Never have I felt more taxed by an 8:30 to 4:30ish schedule.  I confess to not quite understanding why it’s has been so tiring, but I’m confident I’m not alone.  Perhaps I am just out-of-practice.  I haven’t been in a regular classroom setting since the first half of 1992 (and let’s face it, the last semester of law school did not involve that much classroom time).

Each day has had a completely different schedule so the time definitely doesn’t crawl.  After announcements and a quick overview of the day’s agenda at 8:30 sharp, we typically cover 2 or 3 topics before lunch, and then another 2 or 3 topics in the afternoon.  Often we will have 15 minutes to grab something to eat before a “brown bag” lunch discussion with a visiting dignitary.

The class segments cover a wide range of issues, from procedural (e.g., how to submit travel and per diem vouchers) to substantive (e.g., 18th and 19th century diplomatic history).  With very few exceptions, the segments have been interesting and well-presented by an energetic staff.  In addition to the orientation staff, we hear from an ever-changing cast of guest speakers including Ambassadors, Assistant Secretaries, specialists, and historians.

It’s been great stuff, but a lot of sitting and listening in an exceedingly crowded room.  With the diplomatic hiring surge, the limitation for our class size does not come from the State Department budget or a dearth of qualified candidates.  Rather, it’s the room’s fire code restriction that limits the number of new officers.

I find myself taking notes for no reason other than to force myself to stay 100% engaged.  Although there are no tests or quizzes, note-taking precludes my mind from wandering to my bid list, what my kids are doing, or what I should do for dinner.  By the end of the day, I’m done.  That is, until it’s time to meet everyone at a bar for happy hour, or some other event.  I’ve hit about half of the social committee’s events so far, typically those on a Friday night and/or close by my apartment.

The 149th is an impressive group and I’m looking forward to hearing about everyone’s exploits for years to come.  In the meantime, we are counting the days until Flag Day on Nov. 23rd.


4 thoughts on “Half oriented

  1. hahaha! I would tend to disagree with you…I am in my last year of law school as well, and they say that 3L is the easiest of them all…But, for some strange reason, I find myself on campus and in class more this last semester than any other semester yet. I think it has to deal with the fact that I have to be in tax clinic for 15 hours a week, plus sit in my other 4 classes. Definitely not a huge fan…

  2. Only about a week until Flag Day! Let us know when you get your assignment. I just submitted my PN last night. I’m nervous and I wish I could speed this process up. Right now I’m planning three different possible directions my life could go. Good luck with the rest of A-100. Do you get to go home for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas?

  3. Always happy to have readers. The time between register and offer depends on a few factors including the length of the list for your particular cone, your score, your additional points, where you land on the list, where they are in the process of filling the next class, etc.

    I received my offer about two weeks after hitting the register. It was the first or second day they started issuing political cone officer offers. The registers are getting pretty long now because ours was the last class for 2009, so there’s a 2 month gap between the 149th and the 150th. I’m chairing the welcome committee for the 151st which starts in mid-February.

    Thus, it’s pretty hard to predict, but once your husband hits the register, he can call or email his registrar to find out his place on the register and the likelihood of getting the call for the next class. I emailed Pat Evans and received a very prompt reply saying that it was likely I’d get a spot in the October class. She was off by a couple of days, but I did receive the offer.

    Good luck with the rest of the process.

  4. Any idea when the offers are going out for 150 or 151? [My wife’s on the register – yay!]

    And I concur, this is an excellent blog… much thanks for the info.

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