Guest Blog: How to Survive a National Reunion by Carrie
Thu Jun 02, 11 8:00 pm
Our very own Carrie Nicki advises you on "How to Survive an HSA National Reunion":
I am, sadly, not going to be able to attend the national reunion this year. However, I have attended three in the past. The vast wisdom I have accumulated over all those years of reunion attendance has qualified me to instruct all you less-educated HSAers about the best way to survive your first reunion experience.
First of all. Go. It's an awesome experience, and you won't regret it. (actually, if you're an extreme introvert who absolutely hates hanging out with people, you might regret it, but if you are such an introvert, you probably wouldn't be considering going in the first place, so never mind.)
I will list my tips in no particular order. Some are way more important than others. Some are only my personal opinion.
#1. Hang out with your friends.
This may seem obvious, but let me clarify a bit.
There are usually over 200 people in attendance. And there are about 2 1/2 days. There is not enough time to have an in depth conversation with every single person. There will be people you will not meet, not hang out with, and not become life-time best friends with. However, there are doubtless people there that you already know, or would very much like to meet. Instead of spending your time trying to get to know everyone, seek out the people you want to hang out with. Trust me, I spent a reunion once trying to hang out with everyone and I ended up pretty much ignoring the very people I'd originally come to hang out with. Not fun.
#2. Include new people.
This is not a contradiction of my previous point.
Yes, you should hang out with your friends. Yes you should make it a point to meet the people you really wanted to meet. But ya know what? There are people there who don't know anyone. And you just might make an awesome new friend with them. So make it a point to look for people who don't already have a gaggle of friends around them. Say hi to the people you sit at meals with. You don't have to be best friends with everyone, but don't ignore the people you don't know. I was that shy kid at the corner table, once, and I really appreciated the people who took the time to spend time with me. You don't have to hang out with everyone, but if everyone hangs out with someone, then no one will come away feeling like they made no new friends.
#3. Sit at an empty table.
One of the best ways to make new friends is to arrive at the meal early, at least once or twice, and sit at an empty table. See who comes to sit with you. More than likely, it will be people who don't have anyone else to sit with. Be sure to pick a centrally, or near-to-the-food placed table. If you pick a table in the corner, it's a good possibility that you'll be eating alone.
#4. Don't miss the talent show.
Seriously. You want to be there. It's a blast.
#5. Go to the roundtable discussion.
It's so much fun to hear people spouting their opinions. And be sure you stand up and give your own. It's fun. Unless you hate people looking at you. Then just vote with the nifty vote things they have. Those are cool, too.
#6. Be a team.
There are teams at the reunion (at least there always have been, so I'm assuming there still will be) So be a team with your team members. Get to know your team leaders... they're very friendly! There will be a time at the beginning of the reunion to hang out with your team exclusively, so take advantage of that time and do it! You'll not regret it.
#7. Do the scavenger hunt.
One of the perennial favorites of the reunion. Be sure to carry it with you (and a pen!) at all times, and don't forget to write your name at the top. Go up to strangers just standing around. Pull it out at meals and pass it around. It's a great conversation starter, and, chances are, once you pull out yours, everyone else will pull out theres, too.
#8. Go to the sessions.
They're pretty good, and the speakers always have good stuff to say. Do make an effort to be there.
#9. Don't freak out if you miss the sessions.
It's not like the whole reunion is ruined if you miss one. For example, I missed a couple sessions last year. One, because I was in the middle of a deep discussion with some friends, and one because I desperately needed a nap. Both reasons were good reasons, and I don't regret them.
#10. Do not miss out on the late night chats.
I can't speak for the guys dorms, here, but in the girls dorms, there's at least one night when all the girls get together for a 'tupperware' party. This name dates back a few reunions to when a girl said they were sitting around 'dishing' on their lives, and someone else thought we meant literal dishes "like tupperware!" as she put it. Anyway.
So yeah, be sure you know when these late night, chocolate filled, gab infused, everyone-in-a-circle parties.
#11. Know why you're there.
This may seem odd to say, but seriously. Did you come because of the speaker? You'd better make it to his sessions, then. Maybe you're there because you want to have deep conversations with people? Make sure you prioritize, and make time for that, then. Are you there to dance? Better make it to the ECD and the swing dance events.
#12. Go to the ECD.
Really, you should go. Even if you don't dance. Plenty of people who don't dance, still go. Usually the non-dancers will congregate and play games or some such thing. And if you do dance, it's a must. Don't miss it. It's awesome fun.
#13. Plan some free time.
A lot of the reunion is scheduled, although there is also scheduled free time. Make sure you don't fill up all your free time with other activities, though. Leave time to just hang out with your friends, talk, walk, or do whatever.
#14. Bring an instrument.
Ok, if you don't play anything, you don't have to, but if you do play, be sure to bring it if you can. Plenty of jam sessions happen at the reunion and they're great fun. And if you don't play, or don't play well (like me) then be sure to look around and see if you can find a jam session to sit in on and listen to.
#15. Optional sessions.
Often, during the course of the reunion, there will be several things going on at the same time. A fun-sounding lecture at the same time as the swing dance. Ultimate frisbee during the optional discussion group. And of course, your personal set of friends may plan something. "Let's get together and practice our talent show skit!" or "Hey, we wanted to have that real-life discussion from our online forum discussion, lets do it at this time!" and you'll be in conflict.
The important part about this is to prioritize. What do you most want to do? What are you most going to regret? Ultimate frisbee might be fun, but if you play it all the time at home, and you never get to swing dance, you might opt to do the swingdancing. Just make sure you don't try to do everything and wear yourself out.
#16. Bring a camera.
Don't forget your camera! You want to make sure you get plenty of pictures. Particularly for the end. You'll want a picture with all of your friends, old and new, and you don't want to have to hope that someone else is taking the pictures you want for you.
#17. Your autograph book.
Make sure you write your name at the top!!! Carry it with you all weekend, and be having people sign it. At least all day Saturday, since by then there will be plenty of memories to write about and remember later. Also, something fun to do is, don't read your autograph book until the trip home. That way you have stuff to laugh and smile about when you're starting to feel all sad and down in the dumps that your awesome weekend is over.
#18. Get plenty of sleep.
#19. Have fun.
Obviously. You're there to have fun, so whatever you end up spending most of your time on, do it for all your worth and make the most of the few days you're there. It will be a weekend full of awesome memories and awesome new friends, so enjoy what you do, don't regret what you missed out on, and have a blast!
So, for all you other National Reunion Alumni (as opposed to Homeschool Alumni, which we all are) what are some tips and tricks to help a newbie have the best reunion of their lives?
For more like this visit the page about What People Are Saying
Fri Jun 03, 11 9:00 pm
Don't wear high heels to the dance. Wear something that will stay on your feet and has a bit of grip to it.
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