Guest Blogger Alyssa: How I Handled My JET Rejection

Sometime this week, the results of the first leg of the JET Program application will be out for US applicants.  I remember anxiously checking my email a million times a day, waiting to hear whether or not I had been granted an interview, as I’m sure everyone is doing now.

I (obviously) got through the first hurdle to the interview, but the sheer volume of applicants to the program means that not everyone will be so lucky.  Unfortunately, last year one such person was my friend, Alyssa, who was kind enough to be a guest blogger and tell us about her experience.


Guest blogger Alyssa (right), pictured here with unidentified brunette (left).

The first time I heard of the JET Program was after my mom mentioned to me
that people actually get PAID to live and teach in Japan. It took me a few more years,
and the suggestion from a friend (yo Amanda!) to decide that it was definitely something
I wanted to pursue.

When I started explaining the program to friends all of them told me, in different ways,
that this was the perfect thing for me to work towards. I’ve always held a fascination for
Japan, one that was, and still is, extremely hard for me to verbalize. I never had some
moment where I realized that this is where I needed to be, it’s just always been there.
I spent over a year preparing for the application, self studying the language, mentally
categorizing things I would need, saving money for the initial move.

Waiting to find out whether or not I would have an interview was a lot of complaining to my friends & coworkers, continuing to study, and a very strong bout of anxiety. The day I got the email, well… It was a Monday, and I had been back home for less than 24 hours after spending a week on vacation with a friend. I had gotten into the habit of checking the JET inbox, and not my email. It was early in the work day, and I saw that I had an unread message in my JET inbox. I had a pact with Amanda, that we would open the letters regarding if we got an interview slot at the same time. I had every intention of holding that pact, but I had a sinking feeling and sensed some bad vibes.

It’s been about a year and I never told Amanda that I opened the email before I texted
her telling her the results were out. Sorry Amanda, but I’m glad I did because it gave me
two minutes to process the rejection I received, and to try and be excited for one of us.
To say I was devastated is probably an understatement. The only thing I wanted to do
was cry, but I was at my desk with several of my coworkers behind me. I eventually got
out of my chair and quickly made my way to the bathroom to cry it out.
I essentially cried the entire day and then some.

I dealt with it by taking a temporary (and fake) boycott against Japan. Any time
someone would bring up Japan, I would brush it off humorously and talk about how I don’t care about Japan anymore.

Well, the joke has always been on me; I could never hate Japan. I wasn’t sure if I was
going to reapply or not–I don’t do well with rejection, and the idea of not being granted
even an interview for the second time was a painful thought. I remember when the
applications went live I immediately created a new user account, but I couldn’t bring myself to actually start the application. It was only after I got advice from my boss that I decided to reapply for the 2018 program with my expectations lowered and guard raised.

The whole process of reapplying has been a bit draining. I’ve been maintaining an
apathetic front towards my closer friends, and I didn’t even tell my mom I reapplied
because telling her I didn’t get an interview last year was bad enough. Though I’m not
sure if the whole ‘be apathetic’ thing is working, because since January 1st I’ve been
obsessively checking my email like I did last year, waiting for the results.

I would be elated if I was granted an interview for 2018, but I am not putting as much
hope into it as I did last year. I am cautiously awaiting the response, but I am not putting
all of my eggs in one basket, and I’m giving myself options and time to worry about
things when they happen/if they happen.

Huge thanks to Alyssa for sharing her experience.  Good luck to her, and to everyone else (but mostly Alyssa, not sorry) waiting to hear their results in the coming days!


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