Greetings current/aspiring JETers! I'm not sure if there's a dedicated thread for this kind of topic but I'd appreciate any advice before I put all my hopes into applying and crossing my fingers. My name is Will. I'm 28 y/o white american from California. I graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2011 with a BS in computer science and game design (summa cum laude if that matters). I've worked a lot of different IT jobs from web design to mobile apps for the past 5 years. I originally planned to apply right after graduating but I got into a serious relationship for several years and kind of put it on the back burner. But I've finally decided that now's the time to make the big leap! I'll be applying to a few other programs, but ideally of course, JET would be my first choice. So here's a run down of my pros and cons.

The Positives:

I come from a teaching family. Mom teaches 3rd grade. Dad used to teach Political Science.

I tutored High School and college kids in CS and math when I was an undergrad and also did a short stint within an after school program at a local elementary school. Since 2015 I've been working part-time, 20 hrs/wk at a tutoring center as one of the head instructors. We teach K-12, math, reading, writing and Pre-SAT. We do some homework help, but most of the time we use our own lesson plans/materials. Both 1 on 1 and small groups. I've had all kinds of students, from over-achievers to ADD kids and really enjoy it most of the time. It feels closer to being a teacher than a tutor and I've definitely learned a lot. Especially the need to be energetic.

Like a lot of aspiring JETs, I fell in love with Japan from a young age through video games and anime. I've always been fascinated with Japanese history and have a notebook full of scribbles for game projects I've wanted to pursue. I'm self-taught in Japanese equaling about a semester and a half and I have pen-pals I practice with. So, suffice to say, living in Japan would be fulfilling a lifelong dream.

I have one good recommendation letter from my boss at the tutoring center. (Not sure who else to ask other than profs, but it's been almost 5 years since graduating.)

Personally, I love ramen, video games, basketball, reading and taiko.

Now for the negatives:

I don't have a TEFL certificate. Money was tight and I had to work long hours (low level IT amirite?)

I had some anxiety trouble in my college years and have been on meds sine then. Haven't had any anxiety issues since college but haven't weaned off of the meds yet. Handling stress isn't an issue anymore, but I'm not sure if this is a deal breaker for JET.

I also have weak hearing in one ear. It's usually not a problem but in super-quiet office environments I sometimes needed to use a hearing aid.

Currently working on my personal essay and waiting for transcripts in the mail. Hopefully someone around here would be kind enough to read it once it's done . Any honest opinions or advice on my situation would be greatly appreciated!