The offline friend who I play with has joined and become a member of the core team in another raid guild, and on Friday night I put in an application, with his name as a reference. I got in, and last night we went to SSC!
Before anyone else says it, I know; my gear is nowhere near up to it. However, not all members of their core 25 man group showed up, and apparently the guild has a policy of taking lower geared people, as long as they're members of the guild, before pugging.
Here I am, just before we got to Maugrim Tidewalker. We didn't end up being able to kill him, but we did kill The Lurker Below, so I got a badge out of that at least. I respecced back to 0/28/33; but I think I need to put a bit more thought into that. I asked the guild what spec they wanted me to use, and they told me to spec what I enjoy. I've been very lucky in this regard; the forums have always had me expecting that guild officers would try and force me to spec a certain way, but the few guilds I've been in never have.
Apparently the guild has only just switched to a DKP system for loot allocation. I'm not going to worry about politics or the actual drops in the instances at all; if I can get badges for the Crossbow of Relentless Strikes, and maybe even a few badges for some tier armour, I will be more than happy with that.
One thing I actually am having to try and learn is not to allow this experience to be stressful. I was exceptionally nervous last night, and truthfully I think I still am now, as we have another SSC run in around three and a half hours from when I'm writing this. Wish me luck. :)