When I was a kid, I always gravitated towards the nerdier things in life. I wanted to grow up and be a reporter like April O’Neil but with the super powers of Rogue. I was obsessed with films like Jurassic Park, Nightmare on Elm Street, Batman, Independence Day, and Terminator 2 — the movie that introduced me to the most badass female hero of all time and my twitter namesake: Sarah Connor.
In 2011, I was about to graduate college and wanted to take a vacation to celebrate. I didn’t want to go to some resort at an exotic destination. I wanted to go somewhere that would truly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience so I asked one of the nerdiest friends I have, Mayra, if she wanted to go to San Diego Comic-Con International and the next thing we knew, we got four-day badges and started prepping for our trip.
A lot of exciting things happened: We waited in line for 7 hours to be in the front row of Hall H for Francis Ford Coppola and I got to meet Robert Kirkman.
Without a doubt, the most memorable experience of my first Comic Con was attending the live taping of The Nerdist Podcast with Chris Hardwick, Wil Wheaton, Matt Smith, and Karen Gillan. I thought, “Here I am two rows away from my favorite Doctor and Companion, it doesn’t get any better than this!” Then it was announced that everyone in the audience would be getting a free burrito and Matt and Karen would be handing them out. I remember panicking as I approached Matt Smith, unable to think of anything to do or say. After he handed me my burrito, I just stood there staring at him for a few seconds completely dumbfounded.
SDCC is a lot of fun, but for a first timer the hardest thing was walking up to the Convention Center hours before doors open and seeing thousands of people already in line. It’s easy to feel defeated when you are standing in line for Hall H or Ballroom 20, hoping you’ll get a good seat for your panel, and seeing that sign that says, “There are 3,000 people in front of you.” In the end though, it’s all worth it and you just learn to wake up earlier and function on no sleep.
My fellow SDCC traveling companion, Mayra, is definitely my Comic-Con hero. She’s the person who puts up with my fear of flying, will stand in line for me to get me merchandise while I’m waiting in line at another booth, and texts me about all the freebies around the Gaslamp District.
This year will be my third Comic-Con and as long as I keep getting badges, I’ll be there in San Diego. Every year, I get to spend four days with 130,000 people packed in a Convention Center and I wouldn’t have it any other way.