A couple of weeks ago, I created an alt, mainly in order to grab the name kinnairdfiachra. Through this process, I discovered that the Lab has gone back to non-mesh for starter avatars (although the mesh ones are still in the Library), that the orientation seemed much longer than I remembered, and that lag is so much less of an issue without a huge inventory! Wandering around as the new, lag-free me, I decided to explore a few of the long-established help centers for new residents, and found myself at New Citizens Incorporated (NCI). Located in Kuula on Sansara, in the shadow of Mt. G'al and Mt. Lagmore (pictured below), NCI is a community which offers help, education and support for those new to Second Life.
I reached out to land officer Rowan Carroll, who happened to be on the sim, and she told me, "NCI is in the Destination Guide as a Help area. We teach classes and have events throughout the week. There are always official helpers here and regular residents often help out as well. Every campus has a large board with our class and event schedule." Rowan serves as both Advertising Coordinator and Freebie Coordinator, and she teaches two classes each week: "Freebie Shopping with
Rowan" on Tuesdays and "Managing Your
Inventory" on Sundays. When I asked Rowan how giving out freebies has changed over the years, she remarked, "Well, when the Lab introduced the mesh starter avatars we made
tutorials so that people could change their clothes. Because what is SL
but a giant place to play dress up! That change gave us a bit of a start, but we rolled with it, because what's the point of a good looking mesh
body if you aren't able to change clothing?" There are male and female changing rooms on sky platforms above the NCI welcome area, complete with pose stands, notecards about editing your appearance, and a huge tutorial sign with the title, "Aaaggghh! I keep wearing boxes!" A dash of help with a good dose of humor added in.
At the NCI Plaza landing area, pictured above, sets of brightly-colored arrows on the ground lead you to different areas of the campus, providing a self-guided tour through tutorials. For those who don't know where to start, or would just prefer a more personal touch, there are always people around who are willing to help out and answer questions. The Plaza is busy with activity at all hours of the day and night. Other areas on the sim include a gatcha store, a large public sandbox, and building platforms like the one pictured below. For a quick overview of the area, grab one of the guided balloon tours near the sign that says "Balloon Rides."
Next to the balloon rides, I found a photo booth, with changeable backdrops, poseballs for a group pose, and instructions on either side of the booth about how to take photographs inworld. There are even instructions about how to change the sun position, something I wish I had learned as a Noob! In addition to the photo booth, you can wander up the road to Ginger Lorakeet's Interactive Art Gallery. Ginger runs NCI's benefit gatcha yardsale, and has created a building tutorial for the community. The new av I've dubbed "Kinn Too" poses below in her starter outfit "Carla", in both the photo booth (left), and in one of Ginger's interactive pieces (right).
"NCI is a family of volunteers who dedicate their Second Lives to helping residents, both old and new," concluded Rowan. "I love NCI! They helped me get started when I began my Second Life over 10 years ago. I learned to build here and used that knowledge to run a successful shoe store for about 6 years. I've talked to people from all walks of life, from all over, and I've made RL friends. It's amazing! I've learned so much about myself just being here." Come wander around and see for yourself how fun it can be to help out those new to Second Life, or just remember what it was like to be young and new yourself!