It has been about a month since my experience at A-Kon 23, and while it has faded somewhat by now (as my other obligations arrive to command my attention), the memory lay burned in my memory weeks after the event. Perhaps such a thing is not strange to some, but catching myself thinking about June 1-3 in vivid recollections was a mode of day-dreaming that not even visiting family for the holidays would provoke. I simply was not the type of person to be sad when away from home or anything like that. As days (weeks?) passed after A-Kon concluded however, after skipping a few days of work and class and waking up half-asleep still imagining myself at the downtown Sheraton, I began to realize that I was honestly sad that it was over.
Since my room mate Charlie went to A-Kon 22 the summer before, I had been looking forward to this summer. While Charlie was off with a friend or two at the convention, I was busy studying for MCATs at the time. I am sure that I could have torn myself away for a few days to go, but it just would not have been an enjoyable experience knowing that I had obligations to attend to. One of the main reasons I was looking forward to this summer was because I knew that I would be absolutely free at the time to truly relax. An added bonus came about though when I learned that some of my other friends who usually do not stay for the summer would be around at this time as well… I was excited! Our final summer in college as undergraduate students could be spent together before we would go our own ways.
In summation of the experience, it had been a very, very long time since I had last relaxed to this extent.
Even before the convention started, when I went to pick up my badge I was a little … shocked when I saw the demographic; I simply was not used to the type of people there. See, as a pre-medical student and a researcher, I am sometimes surrounded with the most stuffy fun-hating individuals known to man. I exaggerate of course, but the stage of undergrad that I am currently in seems to be the stage when pre-professional students (most of whom I work with) are starting to adopt “professional” masks where their true natures are more hidden from the public eye. When I saw the type of people in the convention lines and their anticipation for the next few days, seeing such excitement was refreshing. People were there to enjoy themselves, mingle, and have a good time.Goodness, you should have seen me when the convention started– heck, I truly surprised myself about how quickly I fell into the atmosphere. I was running around all over the place. I was not the least bit shy to ask people for their pictures or even pictures with them (which were not posted on the blog entry, haha). I was more than happy to strike up conversation with random people in the lines I was standing in or with cosplayers whose costumes impressed me (in which case I was curious how they made them). The point is, I was really very sociable, outgoing, and willing to humor people at the convention, which is a “mode” that I have not been in for a long time. Even when I decided to ask Vic Mignogna a Star Trek trivia question on microphone to challenge his knowledge, I was doing something that I would rarely care to do normally, much less performing a triumphant Vulcan salute to the audience after having won an autograph. I even enjoyed the attention of a couple people afterwards who were “impressed” with my question… Fun stuff!
Now, it is important to realize that I am not a withdrawn individual– I am a dutiful individual. While I may come across as disinterested in meeting with someone or somewhat unwilling to “let loose” at times, it is because I have a very strong ability to attend to things that must be done; I take my work and education seriously because these are the years in which they matter a lot in determining my future. I suppose it was nice to be reminded about my ability to fully let go and relax. Doubtless the fact that everyone there shared my interests (from Star Trek to anime to gaming) was a major factor in me being willing to speak with some of the people there, I was still very pleased with myself for switching gears so quickly, despite said gears being a little rusty from my more professional obligations. As I move forward to engage more and more in activities that I enjoy (such as the patient interaction involved in the medical field) it is going to be interesting to see how my “cut loose” behavior at the convention will manifest itself in these new situations. Goodness knows that I am the last one to change my ways just because of what is expected of me. The amount I care about differing situations on the other hand, depends greatly on the surroundings.
All I know for now though is that the memory of sitting in a maid cafe and dispensing invaluable game-play advice (i.e. terrible) as a physics teacher to my competitors when playing Jenga shall be among my most shameless and treasured memories with my friends for a very very long time.