But by Sunday, when my dad’s car rolled in front
of the hotel to pick me up, I was distraught- but not
because my weekend had been horrible. In fact, I
didn’t want to leave. Because during that first
convention, I learned a few invaluable lessons about
#1. If you don’t have the foggiest clue what’s going on in your
first GA, you’re not alone. Hardly anybody else does
#2. Spirit before said GAs will be, well, an experience. But, no
need to worry there either: making incoherent noises as
loud as possible will do the trick, and you’ll fit right in.
As a lower-level student, your performance on tests will
surprise you. You don’t have to know a whole lot to come
home with several ribbons, you just have to not-know a
little less. So when you know the answers to exactly 2
questions on the Roman History test, don’t worry, because
there’s still hope.
#4. Contests aren’t stressful in the slightest; the judges are
super nice and understanding. Just do
#5. Sharing a room with your friends during a benevolent
cult-like experience will form wonderful bonds. Suffering
through completely exhausting nights together will bring
Yes, nights at OJCL are exhausting, and you will leave on
Sunday incredibly tired. But everyone else will too- it’s
how you know you’ve had an authentic JCL experience.
You will meet some of the most intelligent people you’ll
#7. ever find. Seriously though, JCL kids are wicked smart.
Making new “JCL friends” is inevitable. Because yes,
everyone else is just as strange as you are, and happy to
And I’m happy to say that as I’ve accrued more
years in the OJCL, these realizations I had at my first
convention have been true for every one since. Yes, I
stilled get waxed in Certamen, and yes my Roman
History is still atrocious, but I wouldn’t trade it for the
world. So take the leap, and join the fun that is OJCL
State Convention- you won’t regret it.