Building community and heart into the Firefly 'verse
"Joining the Companions was to [Teran] a dream and a last resort rolled into one, as he sought acceptance and sanctuary. To his delight and mine, the community has been immediately welcoming."
Being accepted into the Guild has felt almost like a last-minute rescue from the jaws of crippling failure. Eleven weeks into a fourteen week semester and I have finally found a community that I want to know more about, and that I want to share with my academic peers.
My name is Kate. I am a graduate student at New Mexico State University and I am studying archaeology and museums. This semester, I signed up for a course in ethnographic field methods in hopes that I would learn how to better interview a contact for my master's thesis project. What I discovered instead was that the course objective was to become familiar with a community of people through Second Life -- a vast, varied community of people interacting in a world entirely defined by choice -- and learn how to navigate the life of an ethnographer. For the majority of my semester, my focus was on dying roleplays I was directed toward through Social Island portals.
Unfortunately for me with my social anxieties, ethnography includes actually talking to people. I could do that, I thought. I've been doing it for years! I've spent over a decade on forum sites getting to know people entirely through the internet. I thought I knew. But I didn't, and I don't. Like every other student in class, I struggled to make contact with anybody. For weeks I struggled to find someone I could talk to about roleplay areas that were either empty or populated by people who did not speak the same language. It was when one of those worlds (one of two, I should say,) disappeared completely that I lost focus. Here was this well-developed area, ripe for story creation and research development, and suddenly it was just... nothing. Not even a trace left. No world, no forums, no nothing.
I could cry, looking back just two or three nights ago when the anxiety of having no direction kept me awake until the earliest hours of the morning and knowing how lucky I am now.
Joining the Companions saved Teran, a social pariah recovering from an assault that could have killed him.
In a way that is not nearly so drastic (but a great personal relief nevertheless) joining the Companions has restored my faith in my work.
It is a vast understatement to say that it is a pleasure to be among you, fellow Acolytes, Companions, and Priestesses. My new contacts in Fergus IV have assured me that there is much to learn, and that no question is too small for the potential of a group to learn something new as a whole.
Let's learn together.