Yesterday, I received and accepted an offer from the Foreign Service.
When I took the FSOT last June, I never expected to pass (OK, I kind of did, but I was more stressed about what my coworkers would think if I didn’t pass than I was worried about actually becoming a Foreign Service Officer). After passing the written exam, I never expected to get past the QEP (OK, I kind of did, but I really didn’t ever think I’d becoming an FSO, so I didn’t care). Once I got over the shock of passing the QEP, I went into the orals with minimal prep, and expected to fall flat on my face (turns out, I’ve actually acquired some social skills over the last few years in Benin). And of course, passing the orals meant I still had to get through several layers of clearances, before languishing on the register for a few months.
About 6 weeks ago, Bertrand and I discovered that we’re expecting. I’m now at 11 weeks, the baby is growing as it should be, and we’ve been slowly sharing the news with the world. Getting knocked up has been a wild and unpredictable journey that I have deliberately not documented here.
Six years ago, I didn’t think I’d ever have children. I didn’t think I’d be married either. I certainly didn’t expect to fall in love with Bertrand, start a business, and then have to transform it completely exactly four years after we opened our doors. We’ve got a few short months to transfer our entire life to Washington, DC. We’re looking forward to it, but it’s very scary too.
The best advice I can give anyone who wants to become a Foreign Service Officer is to get a job as a local hire in an embassy. Barring that, read, read, write, and read some more. The more well-read and well-written you are, the easier it is to pass the gauntlet of exams and clearances.