The Pink Elephant

It’s a funny old week, this.

You see, there’s a seven day gap between being able to enrol as an applicant with FPAS and being able to see or otherwise interact with the application form.

This was for the best, really, as we had had access to the website for less than two hours before the first of what I fully expect to be many bureaucratic snafus came to light — there was a technical problem in the Foundation Programme office that led to a considerable number of applicants being unable to enrol until Wednesday evening and a handful who still hadn’t been able to do so by early Friday. Incidentally, if at any point I appear cynical about their expected level of competence, it’s because this is the updated version of the system that five years ago accidentally deactivated the security settings on the application website.

But I digress.

I did get enrolled on Monday morning and I didn’t have to spend the better part of my week refreshing Firefox. So, what was I supposed to do this week? I could have tried not to think about it, but it’s been demonstrated over and over again that there is little point in trying not to think about a pink elephant.

Well, I did a few useful things. I spent a good chunk of one night looking for the degree certificate from my last degree, which I haven’t needed since I came for my interview here and which had in the intervening years hidden itself at the bottom of a drawer. I refused to spend an evening singing Christmas carols at Dobbies Garden Centre, as much because my own sanity cannot cope with carolling in October as because I’d prefer not to take on any additional commitments for next week until I’ve seen what sort of questions I’ll need to invent answers to. The really useful thing I could have done, but haven’t, would have been to finalise my list of foundation schools: I’ve decided on my second and third choices (except that they keep swapping places) and I’ve decided on those areas that I’d really rather not go to (with apologies to my assorted relatives), but that still leaves me with a lot of decisions to make about the middle of the list.

The rest of the time has been pointless speculation about what our questions could be and several hours trying to recall the details of half-remembered incidents that may or may not be good examples of things that we may or may not be asked about.

I’m not the only one thinking about the elephant, though. In the conversations I’ve had with friends and colleagues, I’ve learned that our minds are mostly on one thing. Internet searches for FPAS related advice are being done up and down the country. Since Monday, the search terms that have resulted in people being sent to this site have included: “FPAS”, “FPAS person specification”, “FPAS answers”, “applying to FPAS tips”, and “FPAS South Thames Deanery 2012”. If I’ve gone a bit mad this week, then at least I’m in good company.

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