By: Linh Pham
December is usually a busy time for most college students. Assignments, finals, and projects burden the undergrads with stress and pressure. This is the dilemma that the representatives of Greenwich University’s Personal Development Program brought to us. They were seeking for a way to bring some balance to their students in this hectic time of the year.
We designed a process that help participants reflect on their own sources stress and discover ways to be more centered. The intention wasn’t to “solve” stress once and for all, but just to have the time and space to let go of anxiety and fear, to connect with oneself and others.
The workshop began with few rounds of speed dating for people to get to know each other. Then we moved to group discussion to surfaces the sources of stress. Afterward, we invited the students to imagine how might their balance lives look like as well as set intention for the future. Throughout the workshop we introduce small ways to overcome stressful moments such as free movement and breathing exercise.
The students walked out of the workshop with laughter, connections with friends and classmates, and a clearer picture of how they can regain balance in the future.
See: photo album.
By: Linh Pham
I first read the book “Reinventing Organization” by Frederic Laloux 2 years ago, when I had just endured a brief but painful stint of a typical office job. I was drained as another cog in the corporate machine with no clear sense of purpose in my job while at the same time exhausted to maintain a professional mask. That is why I was enthralled by Laloux’s description of a new organizational model that is more hopeful, soulful, and effective. Furthermore, I was lucky to have the chance to apply his ideas in my current job at Knowmads Hanoi; where together we build a self-organizing system that promote wholeness, empathy, and connection. The inner working of our organization is beautifully summarized by my friend and ex-teammate Anne-Laure’s article.
For the first time ever, Laloux’s transformative book is available in Vietnamese, thanks to the efforts of Officience and Saigonbooks. In order to celebrate this milestone, we at Knowmads helped organize a book launch in partnership with Officience and The Learning Hub. During the event, participants learnt about the key concepts of the book: Self-Management, Wholeness, and Evolutionary Purpose. They also had the chance to hear real life stories of the people and organizations (Officience, Knowmads, Tohe) who are applying the “Teal model” in their lives and work.
See photo album
British University Vietnam - “How might we thrive with stress?” - a first-year students’ conversation
By Trang-Iris Nguyen.
Stress doesn’t seem to be a new topic now, especially in our modern life. However, the way we view and respond to stress can tremendously turn the situation around. At the beginning of November, Knowmads Hanoi offered a workshop about this interesting topic with the participation of nearly 70 first-year students in British Hanoi University. In this special occasion, we had a chance not only to talk about stress but also to listen to the rich insights from the youth on how they handle their own stress as first-year students.
Holding the belief in the power of a hosted conversation, we decided to choose World Cafe - a methodology from the Art of Hosting and Harvesting Conversations that Matter. With this intention in mind, we were hoping to see ideas crossing the room from tables to tables, inspiring and nurturing each other; instead of a traditional seminar where knowledge are passed only from one teacher to a hundred students. The process was designed around one overarching calling question: “How might we thrive with the stress in the 1st year of College?”
In this World Cafe, conversations happened in multi groups of four participants around specific guiding questions to gradually prepare the ground for ideas to be born and shared. The question for the first round was “When and how do I experience stress?” with the intention for participants to open the conversation and start sharing from their own experiences. The question in the second round was a bit less easy to tackle: “What might become possible if I respond differently to stressful situations?”
After each round, the participants shuffled the groups to bring ideas from one table to another and have a bigger picture of the the group.
“Now, how can I start responding differently?” was the question of the third round. Surprisingly, the struggles did not seem to prevent the young participants from seeking their own strategies to not only live healthily but also thrive amidst stress. A number of interesting ideas filled half of our live harvest with positive energy and the spirit of support and friendship. The strategies ranged from personal practices such as reading books, listening to music, walking in fresh air, relaxing and staying calm; to collective practices such as calling for conversations and having friends to support; and proactive solutions such as dealing directly with stress sources or always being well-prepared.
The workshop ended in a connecting and positive note when the participants stood in a big circle representing the community of first-year students and clapped at the same time. In just two hours, the topic of stress had been explored in many different perspectives, and rich ideas had flourished across the room with just a little support from Knowmads in hosting, harvesting, and especially, creating an engaging learning environment that cultivate self-exploration and knowledge sharing.
See photo album