Applying for my job with the Minnesota Reading Corps was a rather lengthy process and not without its amusing moments. It started with an online application separate from the regular AmeriCorps application. (Cue my annoyed face.) Then there was an initial phone conversation with a current Reading Corps member. Next a group interview at the headquarters in Minneapolis. (Cue flashbacks to my disastrous group interview for the Gap.) Lastly, an on-site interview at a school. Here were a few of the weird moments along the way.
The group interview lasted about two hours with group discussions, a Q&A session, and a rather surprising skills activity. However, the weirdest part came at the end when we were ushered into a different part of the building for a reading test. I was about to graduate with an English major from Carleton, and I needed to prove that I could read. Surreal, for sure. As I entered one of the offices, I felt a ridiculous wave of nervousness. Then the woman handed me a piece of paper that contained what appeared to be an excerpt from a sixth-grade science textbook. For the next minute, I regaled her with factoids about the rainforest. I was focusing on speaking clearly more than the words themselves, which naturally resulted in stumbling over one sentence. This isn’t supposed to be my specialty or anything! But as Ma Ingalls would say, all’s well that ends well. (We were almost burned to a crisp in a prairie fire, but…all’s well that ends well!)
Now that I’ve been offered a position, there’s another set of steps. Yesterday I signed up online for the training session in August. There were typical questions about transportation and dietary restrictions. Then I discovered that I would get some swag: a fleece jacket and my choice of polo shirt or button-down dress shirt. Wait — my choice? I was stumped by this completely unimportant detail. Would I want MRC duds for fancy, dress shirt type occasions? Or would a short-sleeve shirt be more practical?
Then I remembered my on-site interview. As I found my way to the office, two women passed me in the hall. “We don’t have air-conditioning,” one of them stage-whispered to me. “Just to warn you.” Polo shirt it is.