By Sarah H.
Edited by Matthew VanDeZande
You know that feeling you get sometimes when you're not nervous about something, but you are definitely nervous about something? That weird gooey sensation in your stomach that just sits there doing the occasional backflip while you're still trying to convince yourself that you're definitely not nervous about anything?
Being an RTX Guardian is that, but for five days straight.
Don't get me wrong – there's a lot more to it. Like adrenaline. And excitement. And constant team messages popping up on your phone in between Head Guardian SailorTweek yelling “HYDRATE!” at you every five minutes. Also, one of your coworkers is a dog.
RTX Austin 2017 might have been my third RTX event, but it was my first RTX Austin. I've been lucky enough to work as a Guardian for both RTX Sydney events and this time, I packed up and made the trek to Austin to do the exact same thing ...
… on a tenfold scale.
Hence, the gooey backflips upon sight of the Austin Convention Center.
Being a Guardian at an event like RTX Austin is a huge honor. The competition for spots is fierce because there are just so many eager and passionate members of the community. It says a lot about an event when you have too many volunteers, and RTX having so many people prepared to sacrifice their own time speaks volumes. Back home in Sydney, I've been a Personal Assistant and worked on panels, but this time around I was back in the role of PA again.
A personal assistant at RTX is someone who makes sure the guests – those very same people the Community is there to see – get to where they're going on time, get fed, and have everything they need to make their weekend run as smoothly as possible. It means that you're always on duty, always on your feet, and sometimes, you have to be the bad guy and say no when people ask if a guest can stop for a photo. It’s not because we're mean! it's because we're running late for a panel!
But we also get to do cool stuff, like take your photos at signings and talk to so many of you community members while you’re waiting in lines. The photos were definitely my favorite part. There's nothing like snapping the moment you meet someone for the first time. I took photos of high fives, of hugs, of gifts being given, time and time again.
That was cool.
I spent RTX weekend working with so many great people who are so awe-inspiringly dedicated to what they do. Guardians do so many jobs at RTX and every single one of them has the same goal in mind – to make sure the attendees are always safe, and always enjoying themselves. Is it challenging? For sure, anything is going to be challenging when you're dealing with around sixty thousand people and infinite variables.
You're so busy as a Guardian that one day it’s Wednesday and then all of a sudden it's Sunday afternoon and you're sitting exhausted on the floor with numb feet, cheering for a plant riding an escalator. Why? I don't know.
But I do know that sitting in that foyer, with five hundred and one other Guardians (the canine variety included), it was clear that RTX would not have been successful without everyone’s hard work, perseverance, and dedication to this amazing community.
With RTX Sydney applications just closed, I wish everyone luck in their Guardian applications! You're going to be busy, you won't see much of the event, and your Team Leads and Head Guardians are going to expect you to work harder than you've ever worked before, but it's one hell of a worthwhile experience. That goes for any RTX, regardless of location. It doesn't matter if it's Sydney, Austin, London, or somewhere else in the future – you're going to be exhausted. But it's the nice kind of exhausted, the kind where you feel like you've accomplished so much in so little time, because you have, and you've helped an entire community have an awesome weekend.
Something I remember writing on my very first Guardian application was the fact that volunteering my time for RTX feels like the ultimate way to give back to the community that has given me so much. Three events later, I still feel like that. Hopefully, soon, it'll be four events. Maybe five, or six, or even twelve, but the number doesn't matter; being a Guardian is the best way I can think of to say thank you.
London Guardians, you're up.