Torch: WI - Page 9

on first conventions

by vivian tang, colorado jcl president

Above: First-time Wisconsin delegates bond during fellowship. PC: Steven Chen.

It was blisteringly hot outside and I could hear the merry yells of fellow JCLers just below my window. But inside, the AC was blasting frigid air, the curtains were closed, and I sat, alone. Day one of my first NJCL National Convention. I was the only delegate from Colorado, and the one thought resonating in my head was ‘I want to go home and I’m NEVER coming back’. Yet, as I sit here writing this a year later, NJCL National Convention is the only thing I’ve been looking forward to for months. So what happened?

It’s almost unimaginable that the language of Latin can draw so many people so close together, but I felt the full impact of that force last year. I came in as the only kid from Colorado, my enthusiasm for Latin dulled by teasing eye rolls and groans from my fellow school mates. But at NatCon, I was shocked to hear people giggling and obsessing over the same Latin jokes as I had laughed at, shocked to see people by the hundreds proudly wearing their Varsity Latin t-shirts. And before I could remember my loneliness, I became to smile. At NatCon, I met people that I could be unapologetically myself with. Gone were the days where I had to restrain my boisterous laughter at ‘Caecilius est in horto’ jokes. I connected with all that I met, never having to worry about a lull in the conversation, always ready to listen to someone’s oratory. There’s something special about the people you meet at Convention, the bonds that you form. These are the people that you can comfortably complain about Vergil’s Aeneid to, the ones that will answer your complaints with more complaints. These are the people that you can tag in twenty Latin memes every day and expect to receive forty tags back. JCL forms a bond that taps beneath our surface similarity of all loving Latin, it taps into our personalities and links us all together through the crazy nerds we all really are. This one is for all the first-timers out there, or all the people heading into Convention scared, lonely, or anxious. You may go in alone, but we all come out together as one.

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