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lemurlookalike in peacecorpsfolks

another question...

i've been reading some postings in the community and i'm terrified that some stupid errors on my part in college might keep me from getting accepted. if anyone has any advice or experience they'd like to share, i'd really appreciate it.

first off- it's taken me 6 years to graduate. that's not that unusual for the school i'm at, only i didn't do it in a very good way. i should have taken a break from school, but i come from a really small town that kind of sucks people in and destroys them (there were only 5 kids out of my graduating class that actually went to college), so i was scared to not register, even for one semester. so instead i took F's in all of my classes and for 3 semesters. i am now retaking all of those courses and made the dean's list this past semester. how much do you think this will count against me? i'm completely committed to the peace corps and i know two years is a long time and it definitely won't be like getting burned out with school and not knowing if i even wanted to pursue the subject i was majoring in. during that time i also went to therapy and for a very brief period went on anti-depressants. i was on like half the normal dose and went off after three months and have been off of them for over a year now, i am still in therapy though. is that going to be a huge issue too? i'm completely committed to jumping through whatever hoops there may be, but i'm just scared that my record might be too much to overcome. so... any advice?


and my therapist said that because she was seeing me pro bono and there are no insurance records that i may not even have to disclose that i was in therapy... any advice on that?


It took me 5 years to graduate, and while I didn't fail any of my classes, I came damn close in a couple. I also was treated for depression; it was when i was in middle school but I disclosed it anyway. I think it is better to disclose it -- I had a severe depressive episode in country but since I had been treated a) I knew what was going on and b)since I had had it before, Peace Corps knew what was up and got me treatment right away. a friend of mine was bipolar and didn't disclose it to Peace Corps, nutted up*, a friend had to drag her to the office because she was in really bad shape, was medevac-ed, and almost fired by Peace Corps because she did have a pre-existing condition that she hadn't disclosed.
One of the things they will ask you in your interview is how you handle challenging situations. You can use both your depressive episode and the semester you should have taken off from school as examples of challenges that you have overcome. Keep it positive and clearly describe the lessons you learned from those events. Everybody makes mistakes, it's that you learn from them and keep going that is the important thing.

*I am a mental health professional and thus permitted to use phrases like "nutted up"
"nutted up"- hahahahaha
i think i will disclose it and hopefully should be ok. i never really needed to be on meds, and i'm only in therapy because i'm a student and it's free and it's nice to have a sane adult to talk to.
thanks so much for your advice!
I haven't gone to country yet...but I think the above person is right. Disclosing something like a mental condition will allow PC to place you in a way that you can remain stable and do the work, and will let you access necessary treatment if that's the case. Obviously, know that you will have to go through forms, but they're not that bad, you just have to get through them.
Also, if you have had mental illness problems, there are medications you shouldn't take, like Lariam (the primary anti-malarial the the Peace Corps uses). Or if something horrible did happen and you did freak out, you want to be able to prove that it was due to your service. A note from a therapist saying that you had problems before but that they are all resolved will go a long ways in helping with that. I don't get the impression that the Peace Corps is turning people away right and left for having done badly in school. If you say that you have learned from it, then you should be fine. (I really get the impression that most people back out on their own rather than get turned away by the Peace Corps. Don't stress too much.)
that is soo good to hear about them not turning people away left and right. thank you!
I think you should disclose. Not doing would be irresponsible and possibly dangerous.
1. you have already disclosed on a very public forum, once in an exchange student communtity I mentioned that I had mono and a few months later right before I was departing I go an e-mail saying that I needed to have a doctor sign a form because my health status had changed and they had to have proof that I was fine and recovered from Mono and it said something to the affect of you dind't let us know you had a major illness(I did speak with a volunteer about it and was told it shouldn't be a problem and I didn't think of Mono as a major illness) So since you have disclosed it here then you might as well jump through the hoops and save yourself the risk of it being found. This is a very public place and I am sure there are people that moniter it, and for good reason.

As far as school I am in the same place as you, getting back on track. today I spoke with a recruiter and was told that if I wanted to be nominated for an English teaching position(I don't) that they require your GPA to be 2.5 by the time you graduate. Mine WILL(close but not quite there) be at least that so it wouldn't be a problem, for health positions I guess there isn't a GPA requirment but for at least english there is.
i don't think my gpa will be an issue when i graduate b/c by then i will have retaken all my F courses and should have around a 3.4. i was just worried they would see the 3 straight semesters of F's and be like, "well doesn't look like she handled school very well, better not accept her. "

and i completely didn't think about peace corps finding out info through lj, that's a bit scary. but i guess you never know.

thank you!
I think as long as you show improvement they will understand. And if it is called into question you can always point out that even though it wasn't working out, you stuck with it and eventually got it together and didn't just drop out, that speaks volumes about how comitted you can be to things like two years of service!