10 Tips for Surviving JordanCon
A Practical Guide for First-Time Attendees
This article does not contain any spoilers for the Wheel of Time book series or the TV series on Amazon Prime.
With JordanCon2022 fast approaching, I’ve been reflecting back on my experience as a first-time attendee (aka Novice/Dedicated) last year. While I could wax poetic about how amazing it was (and I probably will, in a future article), it would not be much help—JordanCon is a phenomenon that cannot be truly understood until you’ve lived it. If you’re attending your first JordanCon this year, I can't guarantee that your experience will be as joyfully mind-blowing as mine, but I can offer some tips and tricks to help you survive.
Before reading my advice, a disclaimer: I am not a JordanCon expert, and although I will be a panelist this year, I am not affiliated with JordanCon in any official capacity. These are simply my reflections on what was helpful for me as a participant last year, and what I wish I had known before attending. (For official JordanCon advice, check out their Newbie Survival Guide, and follow New Member Services Director Ebony Adomanis on Twitter for more information, updates, and opportunities to interact.)
While I suspect my advice will still apply, please also keep in mind my experience is based on a sample size of one (1) COVID-restricted JordanCon that was very different from any other JordanCon, and a fraction of the size it will be this year. This list is also biased towards people like me who interact heavily with the online fandom through Twitter, Discord, and YouTube LiveChat. I'm sure I am overlooking advice that would be helpful for those who have not met people online ahead of time.
Speaking of online fandom, on to my first piece of advice: if you are unable to attend this year’s JordanCon, try joining FomoCon, an online meet-up for Wheel of Time fans with FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). A 72-hour marathon Zoom meeting hosted by #TwitterOfTime’s Snakes & Foxes, FomoCon has no rules or requirements other than a desire to hang out with other fans and cheer each other up across any time zone.
Highlights from FomoCon 2021 include serenades by Androl the Bard of Time, informal chats with content creators, bad erotica readings, and virtually accompanying participants on mundane tasks like going shopping or mowing the lawn (I’m looking at you, Malkier Talks).
If you are attending JordanCon and have FomoCon FOMO, don't worry: you are still welcome at FomoCon, if you can spare some time to hop on the Zoom call. Last year, some JordanCon attendees logged on to say hi and shared glimpses of the happenings in the hotel lobby.
For more info on FomoCon 2022 and/or the link to the Zoom call, send a direct message to @FoxesSnakes on Twitter, or join their Discord server and find the FomoCon channel.
Now that we’ve reviewed your online options, let’s move on to how to survive JordanCon 2022 in person. Here are my top 10 tips:
1. Leave extra room in your suitcase
You are going to accumulate so much swag. Content creators will hand you stickers, bookmarks, tokens, t-shirts, and more. You’ll have the opportunity to buy books, gifts, JordanCon merch, and items from the Charity Auction. Your badge will overflow with ribbons. Talk’aran’rhiod will give you a Garth Brooks Anthology.
When it’s time to bring all your new favorite things home with you, you will thank yourself for leaving the extra room in your luggage. And don’t be surprised if you end up checking an additional large item on the way back: at last year’s Charity Auction, someone won a didgeridoo owned by Robert Jordan.
2. Snap selfies with people as soon as the opportunity arises (with their permission, of course)
Almost everyone I've talked to or listened to on a podcast agrees the best thing about JordanCon is the people. I interacted with dozens of amazing people last year, but much to my regret, I only have a few photos of myself with them.
While there’s something to be said for putting your phone away and enjoying the moment, it’s worth the few extra seconds of screentime to get some photos with your new friends. The weekend goes by in a whirlwind, and despite your best efforts, it’s impossible to remember everyone you talked to—but you’ll want to remember. When you are back home in the throes of your post-JordanCon crash, seeing all those smiling faces again, including your own, will comfort you.
But why the urgency about getting a selfie ASAP? Believe it or not, you may only be able to talk to certain people once the entire weekend. Things move fast, people come and go, panels and events are happening all over the place. It’s easy to lose someone in the crowd, and next thing you know, the opportunity for that perfect selfie is lost forever—or at least for another year until the next JordanCon.
So take lots of selfies, and take them ASAP because you might not get the chance again. Bonus for social media lovers: you’ll have photographic evidence to support your stories about rubbing elbows with WoT VIPs like Recappa Sedai, Kritter XD, and LezbiNerdy. I shared an elevator ride last year with Taylor aka “Ladfear” from The Dusty Wheel, but I’ll never be able to prove it. Why? I did not have my own advice column to read, and I didn’t take that selfie when I had the chance. Speaking of VIPs…
3. Talk to Ebony
Being new to JordanCon can make you feel frozen with anxiety, but Ebony Adomanis is like a warm ray of sunshine, melting away all your fears. As the New Member Services Director and Melanin-Blessed Empress (may she live forever), Ebony guides tours, answers questions, and runs the New Member Meet & Greet. If you’re feeling lost or nervous, just find Ebony in her tiara and Green Ajah shawl, and she will put you at ease with her warmth and cheerfulness.
As I battled overwhelming amounts of anxiety during my first 24 hours at JordanCon last year, just putting myself in close proximity to Ebony immediately made me feel much, much better. So if you feel like you don’t know anybody, or you struggle to initiate conversations, start by introducing yourself to Ebony. You’ll know you can feel safe with her, and not just because it's her job to make you feel welcome.