I'm waiting on a security clearance.
A friend sent me this article by Derrick Dorch. It outlines how the whole thing works--which is really helpful to know, even if you don't have a lot of control over things.
Word from the wise (in this case, I now feel somewhat well informed on the topic):
-Keep good records (of addresses, all former landlords, their contact information, all former employers, what happens to them after you leave, etc)
-Prepare: take a look a the SF-86 form in advance
-Be nice: Keep in good and friendly contact with many many people. I don't know how true introverts complete a security clearance. You'll have to list all former roommates, bosses, etc...so never leave a relationship in a bad state.
-Be nosy: You have to politely find out which of your friends are dual citizens or foreigners...lots of fun...since that's a pretty personal topic.
-Be honest! They want to know if you're trustworthy...so BE trustworthy...its tough, and scary. Unfortunately I wasn't raised going to confession, so I'm out of practice listing all my sins to a total stranger.
-Be patient--and get another job while you're waiting. This will take awhile. You'll need to be able to eat while you're waiting.
-Be sympathetic--no one understands how painstaking and time-consuming this process is except those who have gone through it. I certainly didn't!
Any other advice? Feel free to share.