People ask me a lot for advice on attending Clarion or Clarion West.
You can find all sorts of information online about how to write, how to manage your time, and general coping techniques. The welcome packet is full of great suggestions. But here’s my single best piece of advice.
Remember that you, and your classmates, will be under a ton of stress. Everyone reacts differently to that stress. Some panic. Some withdraw. Some cycle rapidly between highs and lows. Some overreact to the smallest slight. Some blurt out hurtful things without thinking.
Remember that many of your classmates are at their worst. You will see their ugly sides. The best thing you can do is forgive people their imperfections. I’m not saying you have to be a doormat, nor that you have to take abuse. I’m simply saying: Give people the benefit of the doubt. Assume the best of them. Shrug off the occasional personal conflict over something unimportant. Have faith that as the years pass, and you see them at conventions, you’ll get to know their real self even better. And you may be surprised at who you bond with and who you stay close to over the years.
I was lucky enough to like all my classmates. But there’s several I like even more now that I’ve gotten to know them in a more relaxed environment.
Good luck, everyone!