Let’s have a few minutes of honesty.
In June I signed a contract with the recruitment company to complete another year of teaching at Princess Norah bint Abdulrahman University. However, I spent the summer wondering whether we were going to receive our official contracts or not. It was basically a waiting game and I had absolutely no control over what may or may not happen. It was a bit stressful, but I did my best to not even think about it as it wasn’t going to do me any good.
Before I left KSA for my trip home I had to go to the company office to get some paperwork done and hand in some of my cards. Even at that point there was no news about the situation with PNU. The woman in HR just kind of shrugged and said that they still hadn’t heard anything from the university. She looked a bit stressed herself which wasn’t very reassuring.
Once I got back to KSA there were still a few days of waiting, but not long after a message came. PNU is out of the picture and in its place: another university here in Riyadh. I have to say that I was only disappointed because I had become quite comfortable at PNU, but I was happy because it meant that there was a position waiting for me at a very prestigious university.
A couple of days later a message arrived in my inbox stating that work would start at the university with an orientation day on Sunday the 17th. I tried to get myself ready for this new experience, which included packing some of my things to return to my company apartment.
Saturday night Y drove me to the accommodation, helped me bring some of my things inside and then took me to get a few things that I needed from the shops before returning me back. While we were driving around I got an email stating that the start day would be delayed until further notice. That meant that it wasn’t quite time yet to go back to staying alone. I can’t deny that I was a bit relieved, especially because I was still feeling quite ill.
I had a couple more days with Y before receiving an email in the evening stating that we were to go the university for interviews the next day. I have to say that I was a bit shocked, but I tried to just go with it. However, when I received an email asking me to prepare a lesson plan I started to get a little nervous. Then when I went back to the accommodation and met my friend T things felt a bit worse. She mentioned that she had heard that we were going to be required to actually give the lesson that we prepared. At that point I was more than anxious and nervous.
I got to sleep at about 2am and woke up around 4am. Unfortunately I couldn’t fall back asleep after that and I tell you what, 7:30 came way too quickly.
On the bus the tension was thick. Everyone had this same terrified expression. This continued throughout the morning until the first girls came out of the interview room. After their explanations and quick reassurance the expressions changed and we all had a chance to relax slightly.
The interview process included various forms,a 250-500 word essay about various teaching topics and an interview. The interview was a bit rough. Some girls came out feeling fine and some came out feeling like they had been grilled. There were definitely a lot of difficult questions, but it was over.
We were at the university from about 8:30am (after a 50 minute bus ride) to 3pm. By the time I got on the bus to go back to the apartment I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I fell asleep and woke up as we were turning the corner. I lasted about 5 minutes in the apartment before falling fast asleep in bed.
As stressful as these situations can be, they begin and they end. We just have to get through it and look back on it as an experience. We learn, we grow and we try to figure out how to deal with the things that make us nervous or anxious.