The Junior Members Journey: Soldiering to be Accepted
I recently demoted. I’m in no rush and taking my time to experience the journey all junior members undergo. I decided I would take time in each group to learn the glue that binds each of them. While taking these steps I have interacted with the totality of our junior membership, found two distinct paths that have nothing to do with the channelers or Gaidin, and come to understand some unique challenges junior members face. In this experience I’ve found dynamics I wasn’t anticipating, and cannot stress enough that the community needs to understand what it’s like to be a junior member.
There is No Sorting Hat Here
In Harry Potter a magical hat is dropped on first years’ heads and uses some magical formula based on students’ personality, desires, values, goals, and history to decide which house the students would be most suited for. Thus, their home for the duration of their years at Hogwarts is generally decided within a minute. Done. The White Tower is not Hogwarts and the process of finding one’s home here is a lot more complex than putting an old hat on the head — and hoping the student in front of you doesn’t have lice. Here, individuals make the choice for themselves and the best way to do so is by guesting with Companies and Ajahs. This is where things get tricky and where the senior membership bears the burden of improving.
Not all Junior Members Are The Same
Since the inception of TarValon.Net, a major struggle has been defining the differences between the book-world, and our world. Members have long-allowed their understanding of Ajahs from the books heavily influencing finding their home within TarValon.Net. With a sometimes more urgent need to find that home, the disconnect between our differences from the books can become lost to new members. This has always been the case and a challenge. Now we are facing further complexities as we anticipate adding another world into the mix; that of the television show. We are not servicing anyone by leaving members to understand our groups from only outside media.
Personally I’ve been a member of TarValon.Net for many years. I know many on and off the boards. I’ve met many and I have relationships with many outside the site. I went so far as to marry one! This brings both benefit and burden to my guesting experiences. Let’s face it, there are preconceived notions on all sides. What we need and have asked for is the opportunity to hit a reset button and get to know Companies and Ajahs anew.
We have another set of Accepted and Soldiers who are climbing the ranks for the first time and being new(er) to the tower, their path is very different from my own. The preconceived notions that I have may be incorrect — but they don’t even have that to work with, in trying to learn what each group is all about.
Hitting the Wall
This is where Accepted and Soldiers are struggling, and this is where we need the Senior Members to help us out! Visiting sitting rooms and great rooms we are finding no one there, and when they are so quiet new members cannot get to know anyone. Soldiers and Accepted trying to find their home don’t have the opportunity to see the ways that our Tower’s Ajahs are different from the books and how our Companies differ from one another. Worse still is when we keep facing more active common rooms they are occupied by long-time senior members who are dismissive and disinterested in meeting new people. They present us with a brief hello, but seek neither to get to know us — or show us who they are. The junior membership is frustrated. We need the community as a whole to be involved, we need you to be able to tell us who you are, what you’re about, to allow us to see where we mesh and where we don’t.
If the senior membership continues to dismiss and ignore new members, things are only going to compound with the arrival of new members who are TV-only fans. We have no idea how the Ajahs will be depicted on the show and new members with only that information will again, not know where to go. This community needs to know who the junior members are at least as much as we need to know how the senior members have chosen to divide themselves.