Meeting another Self in the Dark

By Wang, Chien-Yi, LDP Cycle 4, junior, Dept.of Electrical Engineering

The NTU Leadership Development Program (LDP) has now come to Cycle 4. In addition to regular courses, the students in the LDP usually gain experience through group projects. The program also makes full use of all kinds of resources to develop students’ leadership. At the beginning of this December, 18 outstanding students were recommended to participate in Dialogue in the Dark (DiD) workshop. In this special workshop, they were given a valuable chance to change their mindsets and raise tolerance abilities through new perceptional experience.

The Dialogue in the Dark workshop is a target project of Taipei Did, a company aiming to realize values and missions of social enterprises. By withdrawing their eyesight temporarily, the participants will learn to slow down and turn inward, seeing the value in themselves.

The workshop started in the afternoon. After a brief introduction by the volunteer teacher, each student picked up a walking cane for themselves according to their height, and was led by the blind guides into a wide room of total darkness. It took them 2 hours to finish the whole process, consisting of many games for leadership development and team work. After the tour, the students shared their thoughts with each other with great excitement. This was truly a striking and illuminating experience for them. In the dark room, they had to make decisions based on limited information. Under unpredictable circumstances, the only way to find solutions for the whole team is by careful listening, cooperation, and trust. Different from daily experience, even an ordinary task became challenging in complete darkness.

In the end, the volunteer teacher encouraged the students to discuss and share their feelings for one hour. The blind guides also joined this part. They had surprised the students with their professional instructions and agility in the dark room. The students were deeply touched by the blind guides’ life stories, admiring their courage and will to serve the public.

The 3-hour activity as well as sharing inspired deep reflections and fresh thoughts among the participants. The students not only cultivated their own leadership, but also met their different self by pitched in the darkness. By communicating with themselves in heart, they reflected upon how they had interacted with others, tried to face and overcome their inner helplessness, and learned to build trust with team members. “Through the dark-room activity, our skills in inter-communication and overall panning have been greatly improved. We found that we actually have more potential than we can imagine. By keeping on sharpening these skills, we’ll be able to do more meaningful work in the future, and thus reach our goal and make ourselves mature,” said by the Cycle 4 students.

To sum up, the students were greatly inspired from this visit. They looked forward to making use of what they had learned in the workshop to create better experience in both studies and life in the near future.