The sixth and final week of A-100 arrived suddenly on August 4 and there was a new energy in the air. The thrills of week 5 and Flag Day were finally behind us. The knowledge of where we would all be posted generated a kind of “senioritis” which I would describe as a heady blend of elation and concern. A whole new level of questions and tasks loomed ahead as we started to figure out how to get ourselves to post – some next spring and summer, and some as early as eight weeks from now.
During week 6 we addressed such topics as life and training after A-100; transportation, travel management and working with our HR technicians; performance appraisals; crisis management and personal/professional resiliency; and resources offered by the Family Liaison Office (FLO).
We also had a panel with Foreign Service Officer colleagues who have worked in the Operations Center, and participated in discussions about topics like non-proliferation and multilateral diplomacy. We had guests such as ambassadors and undersecretaries of state. We learned about the mysterious hidden gems of the State Department’s intranet.
We worked on synthesizing and incorporating all of our A-100 sessions into lessons we could focus on going forward, and, in a somewhat tragically hilarious exercise in consensus, we developed our 178th class motto: “Service First, People Always.”
On Friday, August 8 our class officially swore in as Foreign Service Officers in a memorable ceremony, which I will make the topic of my next post.