How To Get Through Peace Corps Pre-Service Training (PST)

Welcome to your Peace Corps Pre-Service Training!

By now, you’ve probably made the unbearably long flight from your stateside orientation to the country you will be calling home for the next two years. HOLY CRAP, right?

You’re also probably entering your first or second week of PST and you’re either scared shitless about what’s to come or you’re excited about the new adventure. The important thing to do at this point is to take a breather, but please don’t hyperventilate.

What Can I Expect During Pre-Service Training?

During this week, you’ll have more shots and immunizations swirling around in your arm than you can imagine, and your brain will be overloaded with a billion things you are going to have to remember for the next two years, not to mention the pressure of learning a language. If you have that moment of, “Fuck.. what have I done?” Don’t worry most of us have had that feeling and it’s good because it means you are present and aware of what you are feeling.
During my first few weeks, I remember missing my parents a shit ton and being so emotional about it, that I felt like I couldn’t even hang out with people. The WIFI in our hotel was terrible and I could never get a good connection with my parents to call them. Whenever I couldn’t get a connection in the hotel lobby (which is where it was the best), I would sob uncontrollably like the world was ending and curse the hotel. The lobby staff looked at me like a crazy, unstable foreigner and I did my best to tell them I was an overgrown child who missed her parents.
So, you guys. I have some advice for you that will help you get through these next few months, barring you have some internet connection, sweet friends, and a little free time.

How To Get Through Peace Corps Pre-Service Training (PST)

Go hang out with people!

Get to know your fellow PCVs for the next two years! They will be a support group. Whether you are out at a bar, chilling in a mud hut, or lounging on a beach somewhere (yes, some places have that for PCVs), go get out. It is really easy to get stuck in a shell and never come out to see or do anything.

Listen to Music.

We all listen to music, duh. And I am certain you brought your favorite tunes with you on this fantastic journey. If you do ever decide that socializing is just too much for you that day, retreat to your headphones and tunes and relax a little. There is nothing wrong with that.

Resort to some good ol’ humor!

There are a number of hilarious Tumblr pages dedicated to the Peace Corps and Pre-Service Training experience and they highlight the humor in the toughest of your days. Over the next two years, you will be able to read through these and relate to them on so many levels. I personally loved reading these when I had some days of defeat. How a PCV Puts It Gently or Everyday Happenings With PC are both great resources for when you need a laugh.

Do Yoga or Mediate

You don’t have to be all hippie-dippie to make this your thing. This is a proven method for relieving stress (not to mention it’s good for healthy). Some of my favorite yoga videos to get down with are videos from Yoga with Adriene. She has dozens of short and sweet yoga videos for you when you need a positivity fix. As for meditation, a good YouTube channel for meditation would be The Honest Guys.

Write in a Journal.

You don’t have to be a writer to do this and believe you me, it helps to write out your sadness, frustration, anger, and excitement. A journal is where you may jot down some of your greatest stories and memories too!
Don’t Complain. I did this a lot, and it never served me. It actually made situations even worse for me. Don’t let your ego get so big that is gets in the way of you adapting to a situation and finding the best of it and yourself (I did this too).

Realize You Got This.

You are magical, smart, talented, and you have the strength to get through these next two years. Don’t give up on yourself and when you are having your toughest days, confide in those who want to see you succeed.

Don’t let these first few months intimidate you.

And try to ignore that irritating little graph they show you during PST with the periods in which you experience happiness and depression. My advice to you is to make your own fate, your own adventure, and take control of your feelings and emotions. Feel them all and acknowledge that feeling them will be a part of your individual growth. Six months down the road, you will feel like a Rockstar for all that you have conquered during that time. Your service will only get better if you give it all you’ve got and love yourself while doing it.

Enjoy Pre-Service Training PCTs!

You’re going to have a blast! There are tons of volunteers out there, past and present, ready to support you so feel free to reach out when you need it!