Alphas! We are excited for you!
As you prepare for your trip to the desert, you are probably thinking about your Alpha Shift, and you might be worried. We are not surprised! We were nervous too.
Until your Alpha Shift, you are Schrödinger’s Ranger, and to help ease your quantum anxiety, we want to offer a few words of advice and encouragement.
The path that brought you here is already long and significant. If you think about why you’re doing this, there’s a good chance that your answer is something along the lines of “I like/want to help people”.
Passing or failing a Mentor shift isn’t going to change that about you, and no matter what, your community will still support and appreciate you for all the things you already do.
Second: Rangering at Burning Man *is* different than rangering regionally.
The philosophy is the same, and the tools are the same, but it’s a bigger place, with potentially bigger concerns, and in extreme conditions to boot.
Sometimes folks don’t do well in the desert (for whatever reason), and that’s ok….it doesn’t mean those people can’t be amazing Regional Rangers.
Third: It’s an opportunity for personal growth.
Regardless of outcome, the things you could learn about yourself (and others) along the way are valuable.
You will be with Mentors all day, and they will give you feedback as you go. Try to take that feedback, remind yourself that it’s not personal, and act on that feedback with the intention of becoming a better Ranger.
Fourth: On Bonking
You might not! Don’t let your fear of bonking, or the pressure of being observed let you forget your Ranger Fu. You can do it!
But… if you DO bonk, remember that bonking your Alpha shift doesn’t mean you bonk at being a great person, it just means your Mentors didn’t think you were ready to be a Ranger. Maybe they’ll give you advice for what you need to work on, and encourage you to try again next year. If this happens, I invite you to come home, digest that feedback, and ask for support from your fellow Regional Rangers. We can help you work on those areas that need improving, and we can give you feedback while Rangering local events, so that you can feel confident in trying again.
Maybe your Mentors will tell you they don’t think you’re suited to be a Ranger, and if this happens, remember that you’re not the only one. There are many, many people who are fantastic at all sorts of other critical jobs, and you can take their feedback and funnel it into something that would really benefit from your involvement. It’s also possible that YOU will decide that you’re not ready or not suited to be a Ranger, and you may self-bonk. If your Ranger path ends in the desert this year, that’s ok….You don’t HAVE to be a Ranger, but you DO have to give yourself credit for trying it out, and know that your Regional community will love you, whether you’re wearing a cool hat or not.
Now. Go review your Ranger Manual, familiarize yourself with the map of BRC, and practice making radio calls with a friend. At first, do nothing. It’s not about you. Think, listen, push, pause, talk. F.L.A.M.E., I need X, for Y, at Z. You can do it.
And with that, dearest Alphas, we send you into the dust.
You have our love and gratitude, and heaps of support from BC Rangers.
We are looking forward to Rangering with you!