Do you remember that first scene in the movie Zombieland, where the hero lists a number of things that helped him to thrive in his new environment? There were a lot of really strong tips in there (“cardio” and “double-tap” go without saying). While you won’t find any zombies (hopefully) at a WordPress® WordCamp, some rules of surviving the zombie apocalypse can help you make the most of your experience in your new environment.
Now, I’m not saying it works every time, but when a zombie’s after you, having little baggage can mean picking up just enough speed to escape. While you (probably) won’t have to outrun any zombies at WordCamp, it still makes sense to pack light. Just like when you’re in the wilderness, what you’re wearing doesn’t matter, but your integrity and willingness to learn and give does. Pack a light pack and expect that you’ll find some awesome new swag during your first WordCamp weekend.
Enjoy the little things
Don’t get too caught up on the mechanics of learning everything there is to know at a WordCamp. While it might seem like WordCamping is all about attending the sessions, there’s a lot to learn in the pockets of engagement that happen all throughout the weekend. Remember to take time to introduce yourself to people during breaks, strike up a conversation at lunch, and live it up at the after party!
When in doubt, know your way out
Do you know where the exits are? You better believe Columbus and Tallahassee did. Take a page from their playbook and don’t be afraid to change directions during a WordCamp. Confused by something the person presenting your session said? Ask a question. However, if the session just isn’t for you, get out of there and go to a different session! It’s more important to the people presenting, and the organizers of the camp, that you learn and make the most of your entire weekend.
Swiss army knife
Even though you’re new to WordCamp, you still have a ton to offer other attendees and presenters. Every person brings awesome personal and professional experiences with them that can and will help others at WordCamp. Share what you know and gather what you can from your fellow WordCampers; it’ll add up to one kick-ass Swiss army knife of WordPress knowledge.
Oh, and I’ve been to a bunch of WordCamps, so if you have a specific question (or need some guidance on surviving a zombie attack), leave a comment. I’m happy to answer what I can!