Some Joss-y pearls of wisdom on surviving and being strong

Life can get pretty crazy these days, and it can be hard to find your place, let alone find the strength to take a stand in the world and create change. With that in mind, Joss has shared his advice for surviving high school at RookieMag.com and (not surprisingly) it's both insightful and witty. But it's not just good advice for high schoolers. These pearls of Joss-y wisdom can be applied to anyone, anywhere. So if you or someone you know are starting out in a new school, new place, are worried about fitting in or just need some inspiration, here are Joss's four rules for survival...

I went to the same school, with the same people, for 10 years. I knew everyone—including the teachers, as my mother taught history there. In the middle of tenth grade my mother took a sabbatical abroad and I found myself going from Riverdale Country School, in the Bronx, to Winchester College, a 600-year-old all-male boarding school in southern England. I had never traveled alone. I had barely left the house. Also, I was quite small. Winchester is timelessly beautiful, famously academic and a bastion of blithe cruelty. Everyone else was used to this; I was the only new kid. Older boys relentlessly bullied younger, and teachers (called “dons”) bullied everyone, often physically. All the students, even boys younger than I, knew each other and came from the same social strata. The school had its own language—literally; there was book of “notions” to be memorized and tested. And on top of it all, I was of course that most dread creation, an American. It was clear to me from the start that I must take an active role in my survival. Rule One: DON’T BE LIKE THEM. I knew I was going to be mocked as an outsider and a weirdo, so I established my weird cred before anyone had time to get their mock on. Our study area was a great room ringed by tiny wooden cubicles (called “toys,” in both the plural and the singular—Know Your Notions!), about 50 to a room. On the first day of term I posted a notice outside my toys that was pure nonsense, a portentous abstraction that conveyed the simple message that ridiculing me would not only be weak and redundant, but might actually please me in some unseemly way. As boy after boy read the notice and either laughed or puzzled, I could feel a small patch of safe turf firm up under my feet. Rule Two: BE LIKE THEM. My next defensive aid appeared quite unexpectedly, as we were all bunking down (12 to an ice-cold room) for the night. All the boys started doing a bit from an episode of Monty Python (which was a cool thing to do back then—no, you’re mistaken; it was). When there was a lull, I unthinkingly chimed in with the next line. I was answered with unfiltered silence, and then one of the older boys called out from the corner, “OK. He’s in.” He literally said that. Like a cheesy movie: “He’s in.” And I, in whatever limited capacity I have to be, was. Speaking their language startled them as much as making up my own had. Rule the Most: F@#K ’EM. We all want to be accepted. If possible, liked. Loved. But nobody ever got to be popular by desperately wanting to be. (Well, maybe Madonna.) Whether you crave attention or anonymity, you’ll be thwarted if you focus on those goals. I was actually gunning for a bit of both, but I only succeeded, in the end, because I knew I had the right to be myself. The judgments of others, however painful, would always be external. I was fiercely calculated about establishing myself as someone not to be trodden on (I’d had plenty of that from my brothers, thank you), but it really only worked because I knew, as much as a tiny-15-year old can, who I was. I was a short, annoying, existential, girl-repelling mess—but I KNEW that. I honored that. I defended that. And as intimidated as I super-incredibly was in that alien environ, I never lost that. Rule Where You Realize I’m Super-Old and Skip to the Next Article: LEARN. High school is, among other things, school. If you have teachers worth a damn, stop worrying about where you fit in and work for them. Knowledge will serve you long after you’ve forgotten the names of everyone you feared or admired. And will prove subtly invaluable the next time you find yourself in a new situation, trying to fit in. You know the old saying: Knowledge is power. And it’s always, always about power. (Should this have been a Rule?) Everyone has it. Not everyone knows how to express it. And high school is, institutionally and hormonally, an easy place to forget you have it, particularly since so many people are focused on establishing or abusing it. But the power people take from others is nothing next to the power that comes with simple self-acceptance, with being comfortable in your (changing) skin. It’s not just Survival of the Fit-ins. There’s room for something new. ~ Joss Whedon

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Nominations are now open for Global Roles

Do you or someone you know want to help guide Can't Stop the Serenity towards a bright future? Nominations are open for roles on the Global Steering Committee and Global Team. Can't Stop the Serenity is organised entirely by volunteers who work side by side with local event organisers to make each year's events a success. We're looking for dedicated, passionate, talented folks to join us. It's fun, rewarding and a great experience! Nominations are now open, and will be taken until 18 September 2011. The application process for each position is provided via the links below. Applications must be submitted via email to gsc@cantstoptheserenity.com by the closing date. The following roles are open for nominations: Global Steering Committee (4 positions) 2012 Global Event Coordinator and Team Roles Global System Administrator Voters will have the opportunity to discuss the nominations and ask questions of the nominees from 19-25 September 2011, and voting will be undertaken from 26-30 September 2011. The successful nominees will be announced on 4 October 2011. New team members will be paired up with volunteers from the outgoing GSC/Global Team for 3 months (October-December) so that they can pick up as much as they can before taking charge. After that time, the members of the GSC will support them as much as they can. Volunteers will be provided with access to the Global Organisation forum, which details the various tasks for each role and provides information, suggestions, recommendations, contacts and more. Handover reports from previous teams will also be provided where available.

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We’d like to interview you!

Can you believe that the incredible volunteers for Can't Stop the Serenity have organised over 300 events over 6 years, and raised over $600,000 for Equality Now? It's mindblowing! To mark this fantastic occasion, we'd like to interview you - the CSTS Supporters - about your CSTS experience and what keeps you coming back. Can you believe that there are Browncoats out there that have never heard of CSTS? Firefly & Serenity continues to bring in new fans, and we'd like to help them understand what it is that inspires Browncoats to support CSTS. To that end, we've got a couple of quick questions for you, and if you can take a few minutes to answer we'd be ever so grateful. 1. When was your first CSTS? 2. How many times have you seen Serenity? 3. Who's your favorite Firefly character and why? 4. What does being a Browncoat mean to you? 5. Why do you support CSTS and Equality Now? Please email your response to info@cantstoptheserenity.com with the subject "CSTS Supporter Interview", or post them below. We'll be posting the interviews on our website over the coming months to inspire, encourage and excite fans across the world. To ensure your privacy, we will only be attributing responses to a first name and general location (eg. Joe from California). If you would like be recognised by a screen name or remain anonymous, please let us know. Thank you for your continued support, and for being so awesome!

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Join us on Twitter & Facebook to support our pledge to Equality Now!

Social media and social networking are a fantastic way to spread the signal about Can't Stop the Serenity and Equality Now, and we need to get that signal broadcast as widely as possible. To encourage more folks to follow our twitter feed and Like our facebook page, our Global Steering Committee Chair has pledged 5c to Equality Now for each CSTS twitter follower and CSTS Facebook Page like we have on 30 September (up to $500). So... If we have 4000 @CSTS twitter followers on 30 Sept, that's a donation $200 to EN. If we have 4000 CSTS facebook page likes on 30 Sept, that's a donation $200 to EN. We need your help to promote this far and wide! Follow/Like us and spread the signal!

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Coming this weekend (2-4 Sept): More in Melbourne!

Wrapping up a season of Serenity, New Melbourne Browncoats are hosting a post-CSTS shindig on Saturday 3 September. This is a great chance to mingle with fellow Browncoats, so hit their website for details.

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I wanna live in the town where I get a bouncy castle at CSTS!

Browncoats sure do know how to celebrate CSTS in style! Man, now I want a bouncy castle at my local CSTS event. That looks like so much fun!! On behalf of the Can't Stop the Serenity Global Steering Committee, Global Team and countless volunteers all over the world, we'd like to congratulate the Beeston Browncoats on a fabulous wedding shindig - what a way to celebrate!

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