I wasn't sure what to even title this blog post as I head into the FSOT tomorrow. I went into the process last year knowing that I wanted to do something geo-political, but didn't have any really strong feelings about the State Department. Going into the test last year I honestly had no idea how I would do, but felt that the BIO and JK section would be my strengths and the EE and Essay would be the wildcards.
I wound up doing OK on the test. As you learn going through this, once you pass one hurdle it is more about what is up next. The value of your past performance sort of exponentially decays. Then at the OA nothing else matters except what you do from about 8:30AM - 3:00PM.
Since not making it through the OA (5.2), I have spent more time abroad and have had more exposure to State and USAID. I have realized that the realities of both of those organizations are much different than the perception of what you think you will actually be doing. Especially when it comes to USAID. Knowing what I know now, I am still taking the test tomorrow, but I am viewing the opportunity and the process much differently.
Good luck to everyone taking the test and just remember that this is an imperfect process, but the process is the same for everybody.