My first experience of Group Relations Conference
Since I started to participate in group relations conference, I have always had the urge to write something to record my experience and learning, but every time I want to write, I always feel that my thinking is lacking and my writing is pale, so I have been procrastinating until now. Now, under the dual drive of internal and external, I finally took up the pen, and shared my experience of participating in the first group relations conference in the form of daybook.
I still clearly remember that the first group relations conference I participated in was in October 2019. There was no COVID-19, and it was also the only ground group relations conference I attended so far. Before going there, I have known GRC for a long time. The keywords I got are fun, novelty, unique, and a lot of gains, so I and other partners went the conference with complex emotions including anticipation, excitement and nervousness. On the first day of the conference, the first event on the agenda was registration. It was very unexpected that I got a folder during the registration (No exaggeration, it was really a folder!!!). Before opening it , I considered that isn't this here to experience and isn't it different from other academic conferences? Why did so many learning materials be sent out at the beginning? Is there an exam or grading later? (OS: Forgive the habitual thinking of a nerd). I was even more surprised to see that it was full of numbers, including time, schedule, room numbers for different events, and different group lists. Because of anxiety about numbers and information overwhelmed, I felt dizzy after seeing those files, and then took hurried upstairs with bags and folders. Then was the opening ceremony of the conference. All the members sat down the stage, and the staffs were all dressed in formal dresses. Each of them took a folder and went up to the stage with a serious expression. After they sat down one by one, the director and associate director of the conference began to deliver a speech and introduced all the staff. At that time, because I was still immersed in anxiety, I couldn't hear a word of what everyone said and introduced. Instead, I was confused about why everyone had a poker face, and there were some fears, as if in the school days, the head teacher stood on the podium with a straight face and glared at the students, and everyone huddled underneath and shivered.
At the end of the opening ceremony, I was still in ignorance, and then I went to the first small study group (SSG). Because of the reduction in the number of people and everyone sitting in a circle, I felt more relaxed, as there was not clearly told how to participate, after a long period of silence, someone in the SSG finally introduced himself/ herself, and suggested that everyone should introduce themselves to know each other. At that time, some members also began to introduce themselves, of course including me (although I don’t object, but I don’t have much favor for the introduction). When the introduction was going smoothly, a member began to question "Why do you think we need to make an introduction? Why should everyone listen to you?" At that time, the atmosphere was freezing, and I felt very nervous but I felt this member was too brave and did something I didn’t dare to do. After that, everyone was in a bustle. At the same time, they also paid close attention to the consultant’s opinion. Someone would always ask the consultant. "What do you think, what do you think we should do?" According to our experience, the consultant would definitely reply, but during GRC, the consultant would not directly answer these questions, but the consultant would say something from time to time to the group. Some words are like throwing a stone into this uneasy lake, stirring up all kinds of waves, but as the time went by, the connections and discussions between everyone became more deeper, it also was a safe place in the subsequent events.
In addition to SSG, it is the large study group (LSG) impressed me most. In the ground GRC, the chairs in LSG will be arranged in a double helix, which felt very strange to me at the time, but because I am not familiar with this setting . At the very beginning, I sit in the most end and most inconspicuous position, and the consultant did not have a fixed position, they entered together at the beginning of the time and then sat down in an empty seat. In LSG, I felt more confused at the beginning. There were many people sitting in the dark, and many of them wanted to speak, but these voices were quickly overwhelmed, and they kept moving forward like a wheel. Intervenes made me confused, some were in Chinese and some were in English, some had a few words and some of them was sentence. The most intuitive feeling at that time was that they didn’t understand, but many members seemed to understand what the consultant said. I felt very frustrated, I feel that I am really stupid, as I could understand the words but just couldn't understand. As time went by, I didn’t know what kind of magic power , It just like a big hand slowly pushing me behind, allowing myself to feel and resonate. When a member was crying and talking, my eyes also turned red. After that event, I found it incredible and I think this is the charm of LSG .As more and more people participate in LSG, the competition for the "leader" (the beginning of the spiral is also the most central position) was becoming more and more fierce. Everyone wanted to experience how it feels to sit there. In a certain session, I arrived early on purpose and sat in a relatively central position (if I remembered correctly, it should be only one step away from the "leading head"). At that time, because my back was facing the members behind, my field of vision was very small, and I felt unsafe. And my back was sweating all the time. I mustered up the courage to speak in the large group. Although my voice was quickly drowned out, it should be the brightest moment in that conference and felt proud of myself.
Of course, the institutional events (IE), reviewing application groups (RAG), and social activities in the conference are also very interesting, so I won’t go into details here. In that conference, I saw how everyone explored these boundaries without so many rules, made your own voice in the group, and how to understand yourself and others. This process is like entering a new world, and these gains are no longer just listening to others and envious of others, but truly in your own pockets and feel fruitful.
Finally, I would like to share with two lines of poems and the photos I took before participating in the conference:
"The east is about to dawn, so don't go early.
The person who has traveled through the green mountains is not old, and the scenery here is unique."