MM: What to Expect when Attending an Official Event
Our Official Events and Conferences usually involve large crowds and lots of people, new experiences, and stressful situations. This is a guide to surviving those times.
- People at events tend to hang out in groups. With the number of people we have attending events now, sometimes those groups are larger, particularly during opening ceremonies and such, and sometimes those groups are smaller, particularly during the day when people drift off to play games, chat, be crafty, or other things. Please realize that you will not be able to talk to everyone or get to know everyone personally. It's very easy to become overwhelmed by everything and feel very alone, even when surrounded by friends. If this occurs, find a quiet spot to rest for a little while, or grab one person for some one-on-one time. After a bit, you'll find that you're ready to jump back into the social fray. A lot of us are computer geeks and, as such, are used to more private time. Expect that you might feel this way, and don't worry if it happens.
- To go along with the above point, living in close proximity with close to 100 people for several days can cause tension. Someone will invariably annoy or piss off someone else. We have a lot of different personalities (many of them quite strong) and not all of them are going to click. Do your best to remember what you like about that person, give yourself some distance, and be generous with your forgiveness.
- Living in close proximity with close to 100 people for several days can also cause other issues. Please remember to take care of personal hygiene. Your roommates, and everyone else, will thank you for it!
- Our events are, for the most part, adult parties. We are doing our best to make it slightly more family friendly, but it is at its heart a bunch of adults staying together. People will undoubtedly drink too much, people will hook up, and people will do or say stupid things. What happens at an event stays at the event. We don't gossip about who slept in whose room, or who had a hangover in the morning.
- Many of the members on this site tend to joke a lot and enjoy making fun of ourselves (which may include self-deprecating comments about us being a cult, or desires to take over the world). It is vitally important to understand that this is all said in jest. We are not a religion. We are not trying to take over the government. We are not going to all go live in a commune. It is quite safe to drink the Goldschlager (if you are of age and are not allergic). We cannot channel, despite how much we wish we could. And no, we do not think we are better than anyone else. If you hear someone say something that you find alarming, and you are not certain if it is in jest, please ask them.
- At events we tend to refer to each other by a mix of our Tower and our real life names (though Tower names are more common at larger events). It is perfectly acceptable to use either. Titles are generally not used.
- Yes, novices do dishes and recruits take out the trash. But so does everyone else. Everyone will be expected to pitch in and help throughout the weekend. Remember that everyone wants to enjoy the event, and cleaning up after yourself will help ensure that this happens!
- Have one or two "buddies" that you keep track of over the weekend. A lot of people use their Aes Sedai/Warder, roommates, members of their Ajah/Company, etc. for this purpose. It's good to have someone know where you are and how you're doing, particularly at our events that are hosted in larger cities.
- Try to say "hello" to everyone at least once at the event. You will surely not be able to have a long meaningful conversation with everyone in the span of three days, but do try to meet and greet everyone. A good way to do this is to eat with a different group of people at each meal.
- Get involved in the activities. There is usually a wide variety of activities to choose from, so pick one that suits your mood and spend time with everyone.
- Sleep, and water, can get pretty scarce at our events. Both of these things are extremely important and can have a drastic impact on your mood and how much you enjoy the event. Please get enough sleep, and stay hydrated!
- Have a means to access money. Even at our events that seem to be pretty all-inclusive, unexpected expenses pop up. You want someone to buy you a particular kind of liquor, or you need to give someone gas money for giving you a lift to the airport. Having a couple of checks or a little bit of cash on hand is always a good idea, even if you don't think you need it!
TarValon.Net events can be daunting when attended for the first time. It can be especially challenging for people who have never met friends off of the Internet before, or for people who are generally not accustomed to being around a lot of people for a few very intensely social days! Our events usually last for an extended weekend, which is a lot of time to spend around people you may or may not have met before.
Our members are usually a very friendly group. Many people are initially surprised by how many people recognize them on sight and how warmly they are greeted. Many of us view our friendships here as being just as valuable as our friendships elsewhere. We do a lot of hugging and snuggling, particularly on the first day when we are just seeing a lot of our friends for the first time in weeks or months. However, please keep in mind that everyone has their limits, and some of us are more physically affectionate than others.
Because we have been a community with real life gatherings for so long, many of us have met in person several times. As such, we are comfortable around each other. We have each other in our homes, our family members have met community members, we talk on the phone with each other—we are involved with each other both online and off. At events, we spend a lot of time snuggling, laughing, telling stories, and hanging out in groups.
If this is your first event, you may feel a little uncomfortable jumping into what appears to be a close-knit group. Be assured, we welcome seeing new faces! We have an incredibly diverse membership, and one of the great things about our events is getting to know all the different people. If you're a first-timer, jump right in! If this is your tenth event, reach out to someone you don't see much or have just met. We're a stronger community because of our real life interactions, and that includes meeting new people.
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