I was whatever age I was at EveCon 4. Long story short: I submitted artwork because wombat1138 told me to, and we both ended up guest artists at EveCon 4. Obviously I am skipping a lot, but both her and I did the badges, interior work for the program book, and I did the back cover. So we ended up on some art panels, and I was surrounded by people far better than me (I still attest that wombat1138 is far more skilled than I am at art). Here I would meet some people who would change my life, or at least be witness of of it. The biggest two were Elspeth and Nybor, back then known and Betty Carpenter and Jim Odbert.
Right before the panel, I was given my first guest placard. The man who handed it to me was the head of programming at the time, former FanTek roommate, Wendell Wagner the 3rd (as he introduced himself, pumping my hand vigorously). He told me where to be at what times, and I was grateful. I'd say only about half the cons I have ever been a guest or panelist at has ever given me anything before the con. Often, I'd have to scan the program book with a highlighter. A few cons go as far as giving you a placard with your programming on the back of it (which is awesome), while others have been like Imaginecon, where guests huddling in little "information colonies" exchange rumors of where they are supposed to be, and laughing when they coincidentally match what's in the program book as ironic.
"Battle of the Sketches," my first was called. Someone would tell an odd story from the audience, we'd sketch it on a piece of paper, and the audience picked the winner. It was Jim in the end.
I was nervous to be sure, but I had now been to cons for two years, so I knew the audience. I was also in theater for several years before abruptly stopping to join fandom. I have never had more than "stage nervousness," a kind of anticipatory high before being onstage. Stage fright is unknown to me, which has always been weird, given how my self-confidence has always been shaky.
Later that con, I think I hosted "the Monty Python Quoting Panel," where the winner actually left early because his girlfriend was horny, so I gave the award to a girl in the audience with the biggest tits (an homage to the MP sketch, "Summarize Proust Competition"). I believe the award was a Holy Grail made out of hot glue, as made by millefailte.
The worst panel? An improv panel with me, ninjacooter, and Brad. It was at the Holidome of Fredneck, where only 4 people showed in the audience. Three were shy, and the other one should have been. That girl actually BIT me! I swear to god, she thought she was a vampire at some point of the show, and BIT me. Only time I ever saw ninjacooter scared. That was the only panel I ever ended by going to a bar.