Tips for Cosplay and Con Newbies

Tips for Cosplay and Con Newbies

Let's talk, nerd to nerd.

(*** definitions from the Internet and Miriam Webster, for those of you who don't know what the words mean:

Cosplay: (v.) the activity or practice of dressing up as a character from a work of fiction (such as a comic book, video game, or television show). Especially pertains to anime or manga.

Conventions/Cons: An anime convention is an event or gathering with a primary focus on anime, manga and Japanese culture. A con is not usually completely limited to these categories, and other fandoms such as DC and Marvel or video game franchises are often present. ***)

In the past few years, I have fostered a bit of an obsession with anime and cosplay. Before one of my best friends first introduced me to "Fullmetal Alchemist", I didn't quite get what anime was, let alone watch any of it (unless you count "Avatar: the Last Airbender", which everyone I knew watched anyway). Thanks to this friend, a new friend with a wonderfully prominent anime appreciation, and way too much time on my hands, I now have what I consider to be a decent knowledge of anime and its fandoms. I have watched 10 anime series and 3 full-length anime films in the past year, which, for a college student, is quite a lot. However, it was only during the month of April that I finally reached a milestone in my nerdiness- going to a convention. So, for my article this week, I have decided to share with you what I have learned about cosplay and conventions.

1. You don't have to be in cosplay to go to a con.

If you want to go to a convention but don't have a costume, never fear. There are a ton of people who go just for the experience, so you won't be left out. First-timers sometimes like to observe the atmosphere and other cosplayers before trying their hand at cosplay themselves.

2. If you do cosplay, plan ahead.

It's good to know what character you want to portray, preferably, a few months ahead of time. Create a budget and have your costume ready early. Leaving it to the last minute will only stress you out.

3. Know what you are willing to spend on your cosplay.

Some characters have costumes made specifically for them (Harley Quinn cosplayers, for example, can easily find a complete costume). However, going this route may be more expensive. A cheaper option is fabrication, or making or constructing parts of your costume on your own. Sometimes, you can use pieces of clothing you already own and make your own adaptations to them.

4. Know about the con you are attending.

How far away is it? Some cons are a drive away, while others require a flight or hours-long trip. Cons last a few days, so if you are going to one that is farther away, you'll need to book a hotel room. How much does admission cost? These are two vital pieces of information to know ahead of time. If you are tight on money, then a local convention may be the way to go so you can save on travel expenses. In the same way...

5. If it's your first time, go with friends.

Huge crowds at conventions are inevitable. Of course, different conventions have different numbers of people in attendance, but it's a crowd nonetheless. Having at least one friend with you guarantees that you won't have to navigate the sea of people alone and can help you with any social anxiety.

6. Try a group cosplay to test the waters.

It's nerve-wracking enough to be in a crowd of people, but try being in a crowd of people while in costume. Even though there are countless others dressed up too, you can still feel super self-conscious and like you stand out too much. Group cosplays help with this. It makes you feel like you are a part of something and less like you are being singled out. Some good group cosplay ideas are the Crystal Gems from Steven Universe and Marvel and DC superheroes and supervillains.

7. Remember stranger danger.

While it is important to be friendly with your fellow con-goers, there are some things to remember. First, never give out your address or personal information to someone you don't know well or just met. Second, maintain boundaries. It's a rule of thumb not to hug or touch someone without their consent. This ensures that everyone feels like they are in a safe environment where they are respected.

8. Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT trash talk another person's costume or fandom.

Don't be that person that makes fun of another person for what he or she is wearing or is a fan of. No one likes that person. It takes enough courage to put on a costume and walk around in public with people staring, so just respect that fact and move on.

9. Pack a bag for during the day.

This is extremely important. You are going to be at the convention for a few days and for hours upon hours each day. Of course, there are things that you will need if you are going to be out for the entire day. Pack a bag with water, money, your ID (as some events are 18+ or 21+), the convention's pamphlet and map, toiletries, any medications you take, aspirin, your phone and a charger, and any makeup or costume items you may need to bring along. Trust me, you'll most likely need all of it at some point.

10. Make the most of your experience.

There are countless events, panels, and shows at conventions, so make it your mission to go to as many as you can. Find a schedule of events once you arrive, and circle events that you are interested in going to. At my first convention, scheduled was a Masquerade, Cosplay Burlesque, a screening of the first two episodes of the anime Yuri on Ice, a karaoke contest, and a dance. There will most likely be a dealer room at the convention too, which is a room with stands and shops that sell clothes, accessories, plushies, art, and more. In addition to filling up your schedule, make sure to take pictures or get pictures taken of you and your favorite character together, and of course, of your own cosplay.

You don't have to be a die-hard fan to go to a convention, but I can't guarantee that you won't leave as one. It's an incredible time, and I highly recommend checking it out.

Cover Image Credit: Photo courtesy of the author

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.

The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:

“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:


When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:

"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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15 Thing Only Early 2000's Kids Will Understand

"Get connected for free, with education connection"


This is it early 2000's babies, a compilation finally made for you. This list is loaded with things that will make you swoon with nostalgia.

1. Not being accepted by the late 90's kids.


Contrary to what one may think, late 90's and early 00's kids had the same childhood, but whenever a 00's kid says they remember something on an "only 90's kids will understand" post they are ridiculed.

2. Fortune tellers.


Every day in elementary school you would whip one of these bad boys out of your desk, and proceed to tell all of your classmates what lifestyle they were going to live and who they were going to marry.


You could never read this book past 8 o'clock at night out of fear that your beloved pet rabbit would come after you.

4. Silly bands.

You vividly remember begging your parents to buy you $10 worth of cheap rubber bands that vaguely resembles the shape of an everyday object.

5. Parachutes.

The joy and excitement that washed over you whenever you saw the gym teacher pull out the huge rainbow parachute. The adrenaline that pumped through your veins whenever your gym teacher tells you the pull the chute under you and sit to make a huge "fort".

6. Putty Erasers

You always bought one whenever there was a school store.

7. iPod shuffle.

The smallest, least technological iPpd apple has made, made you the coolest kid at the bus stop.

8. "Education Connection"

You knew EVERY wood to the "Education Connection" commercials. Every. Single.Word.

9. " The Naked Brothers Band"

The "Naked Brothers Band" had a short run on Nickelodeon and wrote some absolute bangers including, "Crazy Car' and "I Don't Wanna Go To School"

10. Dance Dance Revolution

This one video game caused so many sibling, friend, and parent rivalries. This is also where you learned all of your super sick dance moves.

11. Tamagotchi

Going to school with fear of your Tamagotchi dying while you were away was your biggest worry.

12. Gym Scooters

You, or somebody you know most likely broke or jammed their finger on one of these bad boys, but it was worth it.

13. Scholastic book fairs

Begging your parents for money to buy a new book, and then actually spending it on pens, pencils, erasers, and posters.


Who knew that putting yogurt in a plastic tube made it taste so much better?

15. Slap Bracelets

Your school probably banned these for being "too dangerous".

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