Somewhere around 5pm Central Time this past Tuesday, while in an utter state of shock over what was happening, I was congratulated, and advised that it was time to make an addition to my "List of Future Career Options": Foreign Service Officer.
Well, it seems I have passed the FSOA. One of only two candidates to do so, out of 11 total to test with me that day. Now how on earth did this happen?
I tribute the unexpected (but very welcome!) success to a few things: the FSOA Yahoo Group and its wealth of excellent prep materials - particularly the files and documents; friends and family who let me whine or obsess or simply just left me alone to my studies; my sister's awesome editing skills and unwavering assurance that "You will pass - like, duh."
But most of all, I have to thank that mighty little TV show "Glee" for providing the day's soundtrack. My morning-of, listen to while getting dressed and while en route to the testing site, fire-up, go-get-em song was this: Lea Michele's fab rendition of "Don't Rain On My Parade!". Yes, I realize this may make me the biggest nerd ever, but who cares. It worked! I went in feeling good, feeling ready, and feeling as though nothing - not even bad news at the end of the day - would get me down. In the center of the table of the candidate waiting room was a tourist brochure for Chicago, with the words etched across "Feel Magnificent". All day long, at every opportunity, I meditated on that brochure and its excellent bit of advice. I knew that no matter what the outcome, I was giving it my all. I couldn't ask for anything more from myself. I felt magnificent all day long, knowing that nobody, not even State, was gonna rain on my parade.
And so I offer this advice for future FSOA test-takers: on the morning of the test, relax. Breathe. Do some yoga if you need to. Whatever it takes to kill the nerves and go in feeling calm. Be yourself, feel magnificent. And trust that whatever the outcome, life absolutely will go on.
But perhaps most importantly, find your own theme song for the day to get you fired up. You are welcome to borrow mine. Or if it's too nerdy for you, check out Shakira's World Cup song "Waka Waka":
"If you fall, get up, eh eh
When you fall, get up, eh eh"
I couldn't have sung it better myself.