Human who needs to think of a more creative title
Returning to Europeia
A Rough Guide
Written by Possibly this
Welcome. If you aren't aware already, I'm Possibly this. Now I arrived in Europeia about 3 and a half years ago, in the New Year of 2016. Back then we were still on Constitution V, Kraketopia was president and I hadn't quite turned 13 yet. And don't even get me started on Zetaboards.
Now starting out in Europeia can be difficult; I know it certainly was for me. Suddenly finding yourself surrounded by giants (metaphorically speaking) is not something you can really prepare yourself for. Bending your mind around the complex laws, coupled with age-old customs and jokes has its pitfalls.
Along with navigating the dozens of subforums that make up this forum, which have neatly separated all manner of casual and political affairs since 2007. They're abundantly helpful but remembering what goes where can be a bit of a nightmare. I remember once thinking the EBC had disappeared because I looked in the LethoMonarchy Media Center for it. And let's not even talk about it taking me 6 weeks to figure out how to become a citizen. Starting out is tough.
However it is certainly not as difficult as leaving Europeia. I spent over a year here before leaving in January 2017. I think we're near unique in the relationships we create with each other. I think we all know that about Europeia to some extent but not in the same way as when you have left those people. You find yourself missing everyone, even those who you would not necessarily have thought of initially. In my experience, it was little things like not being able to comment on whatever ridiculousness Donald Trump was up to next or not being able to run for Senate for the 11th time, the bevy of inside jokes that come with a lasting community like ours. Those were the things that really hit me after time.
Such sentiments result in an eventual and unavoidable yearning to return, the consequence of which is rather clear from the fact you're reading these very words.
However, returning to Europeia is most difficult of all. You may expect it to be exactly like starting out, except easier because you know people. However it is so much more difficult because in the time you're gone, Europeia always finds some way of changing in a drastic and unexpected manner. You find yourself feeling as if Europeia has moved on and left you behind. I think when returning, it is very easy to drift away. In Europeia, you generally have people gripping you in place, keeping you steady. However those connections take time and often as Europeia moves on, these connections aren't quite as strong as they once were; we mainly remember the times when we had people gripping on to us; those are the best times. Coming back, you expect it to be immediate. Even though it wasn't the first time around. When you still feel outside of Europeia, simmering on the fringes of the region, that's when you begin to disconnect. You need people to bring you back into the region. That's my theory as to why you see so many people leaving Europeia soon after they return - I know I've met many. Europeia is not an intentionally exclusive region, but I think it doesn't always place enough emphasis in retention of players, especially those who have come back because people usually make the same assumption I once did. That coming back is easy. I do not wish to speak for all those who have returned to Europeia; I am speaking from my own experiences.
It is absolutely not my intention to portray a return to Europeia as all hardship, doom and gloom; that is simply not the case. Whilst the place may have changed while you are gone, the people have not. I have never met such an open, inviting and overall genial group of humans (and Nethel) as Europeians. We share such a wonderful pride of our own history which those outside our circles could never truly understand. We stand proud, over 12 years and a million posts in. Whilst people may come and go, with some of us coming on multiple occasions, the core of Europeia: Its soul and its culture will always remain.
Now as someone in education, I have to say that Europeia has taught me so much, it turned me from someone who struggled with English at school to a guy who is now continuing to take 2 essay subjects for my A-levels. Completing objectives and tasks in Europeia gives such a sense of pride which school simply can't compete with and you learn something new almost every day, even if you don't initially realise it. I think that is what brings me back to Europeia: both the people and the enjoyment of purpose. Whilst you may be able to say you wrote an A+ essay, that mark overall is an external assessment. Being able to say you wrote many EBC article or that you had a good term as a minister or chief of state (I struggled not to type president) - these achievements make you proud of what you are able to accomplish, and passing that internal assessment of self means is of far greater value.
Despite the great benefits it poses, Europeia is something that, when seen from the outside, you kind of need to get your head around before you dive straight in. Now as complex as it may be as a newcomer, when you already have an established model of Europeia in your mind which must now be broken, this is an entirely different story. For example the idea of chief of state and first minister bewilder me. I returned expecting to be writing the president, rather than the chief of state and the first minister, but to re-align my perception of Europeia with its reality is surprisingly difficult. I do not wish to complain about change, as adapting to the times is hugely important. Nonetheless it is a laborious process.
The greatest change of all one must acclimatise to when returning is differing levels of activity. There's always that time when you scour the forums to discover who has left (it is never who you think it is but when you uncover it, you're not surprised). Now 2016 I would personally describe as a golden age, we overall had very few issues, all time high citizenship numbers and highly contested elections. Returning to hear that there have been 3 uncontested elections in a row is startling, especially when I remember being in a record-breaking Senate election field of 16 candidates. I narrowly lost for the record.
Unfortunately in late 2016, scandals involving Anumia and Brunhilde, among others, shook Europeia to its core. We had been deceived by members of the community that many of us would have described as friends once upon a time. Autumn 2016 also began to give way to a very cliquey and often somewhat ugly politics behind closed doors which is highly unlike us as Europeians. The politics of consensus is the only politics which we generally wish to serve. It was around then where if things had continued down that path, we could have become highly self-destructive. I do not wish to suggest that crises are a positive; we should always strive for Europeia to be at its best. On the other hand, when we are muddling through it all, that's when our sense of community is greatest. It is then when Europeia is its best self. United, I believe we can accomplish more than any other region on NationStates, divided we stand to fall. This is the unshakeable truth. Our shared hardship creates a point of interpersonal unity. Without that unity, there is no Europeia, at least not in the way we all envision our region to be.
However we moved past the various troubles of the time. And I have confidence we will pass through this streak of inactivity that has marred Europeia of recent times. Though years separate these events, our resilient nature remains untarnished. This is a beautiful region with a rich and vibrant culture drawn up over the past 12 years. But above all else, it will take far more than this to even lay a finger on us, as Europeians.
So if you are reading this and want some advice about returning to Europeia, all I have to say to you is this: Get on with it!
You have to get on with it; if you leave it too long you'll just end up drifting away again. I've made that mistake. There was a time when we used Skype, not Discord. A time when we had a president rather than chief of state. When HEM was supreme chancellor. When you had to register for the Citizens Assembly. There was a long time when we were on a different forum completely and when Integration and Recruitment were handled together with just one minister. Things change, deal with it. There'll probably be a time in the future where most of those change once again into the next iteration of being. Meet new people, rekindle old friendships and work as hard as ever and you can work your way up once again; there are many success stories from those who have returned. Europeia is still Europeia. You're here because you love Europeia. So breathe it all in and take every opportunity like Lethen just waived you in.
In conclusion, returning to Europeia is very difficult, however completely worth it. I think I am able to do far more for Europeia now than 13 year old me was; I simply wasn't ready. Whilst HEM may have been very young when he founded Europeia, we can't all be HEM (Trust me, I tried but apparently the Monarchy doesn't have any vacancies).
Now I remember a conversation 3 years ago, during the 9th anniversary celebrations, where we as Europeians all made a pledge to each other to get us to a million posts by the 10th anniversary and in case you can't count, didn't read above or don't know what year it is (2015 by the way), that deadline has long since gone. But I wish to say well done Europeia. It may be long overdue but we finally got here. A million posts! I wish I could give all I have to offer on the complexities of returning to Europeia but I fear that we'll have reached 2 million posts by the time you would have finished reading that article.
So finally I wish to say thank you. To those of you who have made my time here so special, I am unsure as to whether all of you know who you are and I should probably make greater efforts to let you all know just how much of an impact you have had on me. There will always be people who leave Europeia but there will always be people who return also. And if you all had not made this community so outstanding, I would not be typing this today. You are the reason I am here and the reason I am a much greater man than I would otherwise be. So thank you all. Europeia has changed many people's lives for the better, I feel privileged to be among that group. That is why I decided to return and why, when the time is right for many who already have or will leave Europeia, I believe, despite all the difficulties, you should do everything you can to return and make something of yourself once again. You will not regret it.
So here's to another 12 years, another million posts and many more Europeian comebacks.