Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Improv is Life!

by Anika Hossain

Every year, Phi Theta Kappans around the globe have an amazing opportunity to attend “Nerd Nation”, a convention which brings Phi Theta Kappa members together and celebrate. As the name of the convention implies, Nerd Nation is not exactly a vacation. In fact, Nerd Nation’s goal is to make nerds even more “nerdy”. And that’s why, Nerd Nation offers various educational forums of different topics to stimulate intellect in a fun way. Of the many educational forums I have attended, my favorite one was building teams with improv.

The workshop begun with the presenters asking the audience “Why is Improv important?” to which they answered “Because improv is life!” I had never thought about improv that deeply, but it’s definitely true that our whole life is based on improvising. Things don’t necessarily always work out the way we plan it out. The presenters further explained with an example of a shirt. The shirt that you’ve always wanted to wear to your best friend’s wedding might get stained the moment you put it on, and with very short notice you will have to come up with an alternative. After discussing the importance of improv, we proceeded to the main part of the workshop which was the games.

One of the games we played was called “I love peanut butter”. The rule of the game was that we cannot say no. We can only say “Yes and”. So when one person said “I love peanut butter”, the other person cannot say “No way, peanut butter is disgusting”. Instead, the person will have to build on it by saying something like “Yes and I think since we love peanut butter so much, we should start a peanut butter business!” The purpose of the game was to understand that when a team member has an idea that might sound ridiculous, the leader should build on the idea rather than calling the idea ridiculous. That way, the team will grow.

Fellowship is one of the four hallmarks of Phi Theta Kappa, which is often overlooked the most. The workshop has taught me valuable lessons about why building fellowship is so important. It has also taught me how to react in situations of crisis. These are real life skills which are not taught in college courses but are equally important. I am extremely grateful to Phi Theta Kappa for giving me this amazing learning experience!

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