So I realize the title is a bit of a spoiler, but it’s now official: I have been shortlisted for the JET Program and will be leaving in July.
It’s been a wild ride these past couple of months and I realize I haven’t written anything here for a long time, so without further ado, here’s something to get you up to speed…
When I last left off, I was waiting to hear back to see if I even had an interview with JET. Things were still up in the air, and I even had another job opportunity that I was considering.
Shortly after I made that post, I went on a week-long vacation to Mexico City. There, I was going through my emails and I realized I had neglected to fill out some information for the Singapore job. I tried to submit the information, but it was too late. I never heard back from them again, and it was entirely my fault.
As disappointed as I was from that mistake, about a week later I got a message from JET saying that I had been chosen for an interview. Obviously, this was very nice to hear, especially coming off of the disappointment of not getting the other job.
I spent weeks preparing for my interview. I can go into more detail about this later, but I looked up countless tips on how to interview for this position. I even went through an entire mock-interview with the head of the Japanese department at my school. I thought that I was more than ready.
Then came the real interview. It was a lot tougher than I had anticipated.
This was probably a result of me being overly confident going in, but when I sat down, I feel like I dropped the ball on multiple occasions. They asked hardly any of the questions I was expecting and hit me with a ton of questions I had no idea how to answer. When it came to the Japanese portion, it seemed like all of the Japanese I knew flew out the window and I ended up mumbling like an idiot.
Leaving the office, I felt embarrassed and drained. All of the confidence I entered with was gone, and although I was still hopeful, I felt that I might have spoiled my chances with such a bad interview.
All I could do was wait. I had applied for early departure and was really hoping to get it, but as time ticked by, it became apparent that I wasn’t selected for it. I saw others online who got early departure, and I tried to brush it off.
After a while, I had started to focus more on my “plan B’s.” I put out applications to several different companies and revamped my LinkedIn page. My main goal was that even if I couldn’t go to Japan, I wanted to leave my state and experience something new.
Eventually, I ended up getting an interview for a job in the city where I already work. Although I was disappointed in the location, I went in for the interview anyway and felt like I nailed it. I spent the next few weeks mentally preparing to stay put for at least a year, even going as far as apartment hunting. I was ready to sign a lease as soon as I got an acceptance letter.
Imagine my surprise when I found out I was rejected for the job.
At this point in time, it really seemed like nothing was working out for me. It was hard to be positive when I was bombing interviews here and getting rejected for jobs there.
To make things worse, I finally got an email from JET announcing that I had been accepted… as an alternate.
My limbo was prolonged indefinitely. Although it was nice to know that I wasn’t outright rejected, the constant waiting and wondering was really wearing me down. I called up the consulate and made sure to submit all of my documents as soon as I possibly could. In my typical paranoid fashion, I tripled-checked all of the documents I needed to submit and made sure that everything was done according precisely to the instructions that I was given.
I know that this is the exact opposite of what you’re supposed to do, but I spent the next little while obsessively checking my phone, making sure I didn’t miss any phone calls or emails from the program. What makes matters worse is that if you’re an alternate, you have the possibility of being upgraded at any point between April and December, which is a long time to be constantly stressing out.
Luckily, this limbo didn’t last very long. On April 10th, almost two weeks after I had received the email about being an alternate, I got a phone call from the consulate letting me know I had been upgraded.
I was flooded with relief.
For months I had been in a state of perpetual waiting, only occasionally having the opportunity to take action. Now, all of the stress that I had endured, all of the paperwork I had gone through, all of the time I had spent waiting on responses… all of it has finally paid off. I get to spend the next couple of months relaxing and saving up some money, not worrying what my next step will be.
I know this is a massive post, just because there was so much that happened in these past months. I will be writing in more detail about some of these things later, but as for now I’m so excited about being accepted that I just had to get it all down in one place. I’ll definitely be writing a lot more frequently now that everything is officially set in motion.
So I guess the point is to not worry. Things tend to work themselves out and it’s pointless to let yourself get stressed out by them. Even though things seemed up and down for a while and I was often left disappointed in the moment, in the long run everything turned out fine, just like I knew it would from the start.