State Department 3, Me 0

On Friday, October 1, I took the Foreign Service oral examination for the third time.

I took it first after I graduated from college and once more just after graduate school. All three times I have been unsuccessful...

One needs a 5.25 to pass. The first time I got a 4.9. Two years of graduate school and an MPA got me up to a 5.0, so I put it aside and decided to just go to Iraq on my own.

I did. So, seven years later, one trip to Iraq, a second foreign language and international work experience brought my score up to... wait for it... 5.1.

For reals.

I have signed a non-disclosure agreement about the exam, so I can't say much. Suffice it to say, I apparently don't work in groups well - I know some people from my time in Iraq who are probably not surprised- and I can't sell myself.

I have a pretty good idea of how I could probably get the remaining .15 points. The question is: Is it worth it? Maybe, maybe not. I need to decide what my true motivation is.

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