Hello, fellow Alternates!
I've been lurking on this board for some time now, but I finally joined this morning because I couldn't not say anything to you, miami_coordinator. You've nailed exactly how I feel on the head-- I cried when I read this, haha. Thank you for taking the time to write to all of us and be so encouraging. It might sound a bit melodramatic, but being Alt-listed for JET has been one of the toughest things I've had to deal with. I've wanted to do nothing but JET since I was in high school (It effected what school I went to, the major I chose, pretty much everything. I'm obsessed!
) and getting so close
but not close enough has been... Crushing. Especially when I know quite a few Atlanta short listers and it's so hard not be unreasonably angry at my friends (They didn't do anything wrong!) I'm trying to carry on like you suggested but I'm not gonna lie. It's hard.
Sorry for the late reply, but I do want to address some of the points you're raising. I've seen other candidates just like you, sometimes to the point where I'm a little concerned for what would happen to them if they didn't get in! Truth is, though, sometimes the best thing that you can ever endure is not getting something that you really want. I know that sounds heartless, but there's method to my (apparent) meanness! We all need to experience failure and disappointment. We all need to know what it's like to see a dream unfulfilled. And we need that not so that we end up bitter and disenchanted with life, but rather because it acts as a grounding moment. Someone who has never tried hard and failed doesn't know what it's like to pick yourself up, learn from the experience, and try again. Someone who has never felt such extreme disappointment has no resilience for working through problems to come.
Moving to Japan was one of the most important things that ever happened in my life, and I can only say that now after it's been a few years. I had some really extreme culture shock, and I learned a lot about myself, my country, and how another part of the world operated. Quite a few JETs find their romantic bubble view of Japan popped rather rudely upon arriving. We all build up expectations for what our JET experiences will be like, and while some of those things can be met, usually the reality is far removed from what we thought we'd see. That's not a bad thing, but it takes a strong person to work through the disillusionment to appreciate the reality.
So, if you are not upgraded (and, remember, it's not over yet), then take this as an opportunity to learn. Realize that this decision is not a personal reflection of you and your abilities, acknowledge that your dream is not forever crushed, and start planning for next year. You have three advantages over most of next year's applicants: 1) you know how the application and interviewing processes work, 2) you have the advantage of time to start planning, and 3) you can watch what your friends are going through and learn from their situations.
It's OK to feel jealous and disappointed. You don't need to apologize for that. Acknowledge your feelings for what they are, pick yourself up, and try again. And if you are selected next year, it'll only make you appreciate the experience all the more and feel an even greater sense of accomplishment at having met your goals.