The Zen Of Being A Student To A Peer

If you’re in the SCA very long you know peers may formally take students. They are labeled differently depending on the peer’s title. That doesn’t mean if you’re not a peer you can’t have longtime, informal student relationships. They just aren’t called an Apprentice, Protege or Squire.

I’m honored to be a Mistress of the Laurel so any person I formally mentor is an Apprentice. But, what’s the distinction between an apprentice and a student?

Green Belt Collectiion

The difference is what you expect from the relationship and whether you want that widely known. Do you want to teach or learn a specific craft? Do you want to learn about the SCA’s idiosyncrasies? How formal do you want the association to be? Or is the green belt just a “cool” thing for you both to do? It’s always what you want to make of the relationship that counts. 

Another difference is when you formalize a peer connection you do it in front of witnesses. You acknowledge to all present you have a bond. And to prove it you gladly offer an oath of fealty.

The apprenticing-oath promises loyalty to someone about how they’ll act with them.  For some it’s an intense, well thought commitment because each party knows they can personally depend on the other for help and a priority for their time.

The oath – if formally offered – is done at a ceremony unique to each peer and candidate. In it the Apprentice affirms their loyalty, but the Laurel doesn’t always offer one in return. It may be a high persona ritual or a relaxed, short conversation.

Simply put the ceremony is: The Laurel asks “Do you want to become my apprentice?” The hopeful apprentice answers “Yes.” The Laurel responds “OK. Before all here, you are my Apprentice.”

At some point a green belt is presented.  Other peerages have their traditional, designated belt-colors too. A different emblem may also be used to mark the person as an apprentice. I’ve seen sashes, and pins offered instead. 

The contrast between student and apprentice isn’t the ceremony and the apparel. Those are only outward signs. For me it takes my teaching to a new level. I can push an apprentice toward a goal but with a student I can only coax. In the end the difference is the zen you make of the relationship together.

Prior Related Post:
7 SCA Peer Mentoring Expectations from my prior blog

Categories: SCA

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