Waiting room: My personal experience with patience, hope, and surprises

A time like this  in 2012 I came across Global Health Corps’ (GHC) call for applications for the 2013-2014 fellowship class. Actually, it was my second time applying for this opportunity.

This time, I started assembling each and every element carefully, reviewed each position of interest to me many times to weigh it against others, carefully compared my skills, knowledge, and interests against the descriptions, searched the GHC website for important information, and attended both the Rwanda job day workshop where GHC was present as well as information session events, in case further information was provided. There was one more essential step – submitting two recommendations to complete the application.

This application process was long, but it was an opportunity to reflect on and share my contributions to social change thus far, to learn about numerous efforts put in by organizations, and to think about my added value to scaling up efforts towards global health equity. This was an important time to reflect on my core values, passions, vision, and beliefs. Put simply, it was a thoughtful journey of learning and reflection.

The time passed by and I was selected for semifinal interviews. I prepared well and felt ready for the question and answer session. The final hour came, and following a reception, we quickly got to the agenda of the day, went through the interview, and waited for the results. Unfortunately, when the results were published, I was not chosen. I was disappointed, of course, but felt like I had done my best and would wait for the next opportunity. I snubbed voices telling me to give up.

Despite those disappointing times, there was a small part of the story that gave me a little hope – the following short sentence picked from email I received. It reads as follows: “While we are unable to offer you a position at this time, circumstances sometimes change, and there is the possibility that you could be contacted for an interview at a later date. Unfortunately, we are unable to guarantee or predict the likelihood of this happening.” Honestly, I would not rely on unpredictable chance and was thinking about future opportunities, but there was some room for hope. It created a miracle.

On August 6, 2013 at about 10am, I was at home when I received a phone call from the GHC program manager inquiring about my interest in the fellowship. What do you think was my response? “Of course I am!” I replied. The following interviews with PIH staff were not always easy due to some challenges with internet connectivity and dropped Skype calls, delays due to distances separating parties, and busy schedules. But with patience, just a short time after the last interview, an email was sent to my inbox with the heading “GHC Fellowship Offer – Congratulations!”

Due to differences in beliefs, different people will attribute the results to different sources. Some might say it is the law of attraction, others that it is God’s plans. But the important thing is that I am here. I belong to an amazing, knowledgeable, supportive, and caring community. I received welcoming messages from fellows that are evidence of what is commonly known as GHC love. I liked that terminology, “GHC love.”

This is a golden opportunity to join with others who dedicate their time and energy to the cause of global health equity and fighting against social injustice. It is a time to collaborate, learn with people who share the same passion and interests, and walk hand-in-hand towards a common vision of a better world; or, to use Michael Jackson’s words, in the “world we stop existing and start living” (from Heal the World song lyrics).

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