Dear Dondrite members (and all other Donderians)!
Exactly one week ago, we organized our Meet (y)our Donderian event. This was an innovative idea from the Board, triggered by the messages that we picked up from both students and researchers/teachers in our surroundings. People were feeling alone, staring at their laptops all day long, without having an actual nice conversation. And don’t get me wrong here, lectures, meetings, and talks are very interesting, but most often they do not give you the pleasure of a short chit-chat at the coffee machine, am I right?
Thus, the aim of this event was to have people connecting with each other on a more informal level. We would have loved to actually do this in person, but as we all know, that was unfortunately not possible because of ‘He Who Must Not Be Named’. So, we decided to organise it via Zoom again, but made sure that it was a fun, low-key experience instead of another meeting. To this extent, we gathered everyone in the main room at 16:00, where Brittany gave a short introduction of the event. Around 16:10 the break-out rooms were opened and everyone could join their assigned break-out room for that round. We aimed at making as many fun and interesting combinations as possible, meaning that we made sure that each room had at least 2 researchers and 1 or 2 students. This, to make sure that everyone saw at least some new faces during the event. As always, some people did not show up for the event (big loss for them)! But hey, as Clint Eastwood once said: “Improvise, Adapt and Overcome!”, so that is what we did.
After three rounds of chit-chats we decided to have a little break. During this 30 minute break, people got the opportunity to either join a break-out room and finish some earlier chats, take an actual break of 30 minutes, or stay in the main room and follow along with a nice energizer. To my pleasure, most chose to stay in the main room and play the ‘This or That’-game. During this game, Brittany provided statements such as: “Would you rather be famous for all the wrong reasons or not famous at all?” and other fun statements. If one would choose the first option, they would stand up, and vice versa for the second option. We had a great laugh during this game and drew some pretty interesting conclusions (top secret information, of course).
After the break, some new faces joined us for the last three rounds. At 18:25 everyone returned to the main room, where we thanked everyone for attending. Finally, we introduced the ‘One word check out’. This basically is a way to capture everyone’s thoughts about a certain event or talk, without it taking forever to collect. It works as follows: the host of the event asks everyone to unmute themselves and one-by-one share one word, and one word only (sometimes people cheat), that stays with them from this event. For our Meet (y)our Donderians we heard words such as: “Inspiration”, “Enthusiasm”, “Fun” and most importantly the famous Dutch word, shared by an Italian nonetheless: “Gezelligheid”.
If you attended the event yourself, please leave us a comment to share your experience! And for those of you who didn’t attend, did I convince you by now? Would you like for this to become a recurring event, so you can join another time?
To share my thoughts: I really hope that this will become a recurring event (but in real-life next time)! I think it is a nice way to talk to others, maybe even those in authoritative positions, without feeling the immediate pressure to present yourself as their next great employee or the best student in the room. No, just some fun talks, laughs, games and a nice beer for Robert Oostenveld on the side. To me, this sounds like a perfect Friday afternoon!