With a little over a week left before the final due date, I submitted my online application and sent my paper application in the mail. Now, there isn’t a whole lot left to do but wait.
It didn’t go exactly how I had imagined it. Like everyone else, I planned on being much more organized when the time came around. Today felt more like a mad dash than the cumulation of years of research and effort, but I guess things rarely go according to plan.
There were a lot of delays that were partially caused by a lack of planning on my part as well as some unavoidable circumstances. A couple Saturdays ago, as I wrote about here, I finished up my essay and sent it off to various people to have it reviewed. These reviews were absolutely necessary and one advisor had me come visit her office. Unfortunately, she could only see me the next Wednesday at the earliest.
After I met with her and made some changes, she recommended that I go to the writing center and work with someone else who was particularly good with essays for scholarships and jobs. I tried to make an appointment as soon as possible, but he wasn’t available until the next Wednesday.
So I ended up sitting on a finished essay for nearly two weeks, just waiting to be reviewed. When I finally got the revision finished, I attempted to submit the online application and noticed there was a bizarre error asking me to fill in an answer where there wasn’t a place for me to fill it in. It was too late at this point to call the office, so I had to wait until the next morning to take care of it.
Regardless, everything ended up turning out ok, but there were a lot of added issues that I could have never predicted. I realize I could have avoided all of this by taking care of the essay much sooner, so partially it is on me, but once again I have to point out that you should always expect the unexpected.
This seems to be a recurring theme with what I write about, but this point can’t be driven home enough. I thought that I was more than ready to complete my application when it opened in late September, and while I was mostly prepared, I still faced so many issues that I didn’t even consider in the first place.
When I first started, I envisioned myself with all of my papers in a neatly organized stack, ready to be reviewed and sent off with weeks to spare. I planned on going over every page individually with multiple people and marking each item off to be completely sure that everything was there. What ended up actually happening was making last minute phone calls, dealing with printer issues, and scheduling essay revision appointments in between work and school.
Life gets in the way of your plans, so be sure to have everything ready on a realistic schedule that gives you a cushion of at least a couple weeks. A month and a half might seem like more than enough time to complete your application, but like I’ve been saying, things can sneak up on you.
All of this being said, I’m glad I waited to make sure everything was perfect before sending it off. Even as recently as today I was noticing things that could be polished up or altered. The two essay review sessions were crucial, and I made a ton of massive changes that significantly improved the quality of the writing and the clarity of my message. I recommend everyone to have multiple people read their essays and give honest, critical feedback, because that truly is the most important aspect of the application and others will come at it from a different, fresh perspective.
I hope this site can be helpful to anyone who is planning on applying to JET in the future. Hopefully it will give you an idea of some roadblocks to expect during the process that you otherwise might not have considered. While I doubt you will have the same experiences that I had, I feel like any heads-up could prevent an issue down the line.
But now, there is nothing further I can do to increase my chances. It is probably best to not think about it, but I’ve got a lot riding on this. I won’t know if I even got an interview until January, and I won’t know if I have the job until March at the earliest. Considering that I graduate in December, that leaves a period of at least three months where I will have no idea if I have a full time job or not. That puts me three months behind the curve for job-hunting. It’s scary to think that my future is essentially a gamble, but this is what I really want to do. Now all we can do is cross our fingers and hope for the best.