In October 2014, the ISF celebrated a successful first year as a committee, and welcomed our newest PhD students by donning the Segway helmets for the first ever IFR student team-building day.
Our first, and unanticipated, team-building exercise was to find our way to ‘The High Lodge’ in Thetford forest, something which our carload were not so successful at, even with a map and the initiative of 4 PhD students. Despite this and the buckets of rain that fell on our journey, our spirits were high as we excitably piled out of the car and headed for base camp. On arrival, we were greeted with a lovely spread of tea, coffee and pastries, which slipped down very well and prepared us for an action packed day.
The fun began with the initial (actual) team-building exercise: ‘Would I lie to you’. The aim was to conceal one extravagant, but true fact about yourself with some even more outrageous lies- definitely a useful skill in the world of science! I was quite chuffed with myself when my co-team believed my lie that I once went to clown school!
Following the initial ‘get to know you’ session was the main event. We strapped ourselves into the helmets, picked up the Segway’s and tentatively stepped up- this could go one of two ways. Luckily, after the first few baby steps, we were zooming around the practice area. Looking very fetching in our safety gear we headed out into the forest, surrounded by beautiful scenery. Although the route included some hairy off-roading, we managed not to break anyone this time around, and only had one (minor) crash, quite a triumph!
After a bite to eat and some much needed warming up, we headed back to base camp where the remainder of the day was filled with some more team-building exercises. Our initiative was really tested when we were asked to build a basket sturdy enough to catch a golf ball using only a few straws and some tape!
The day was rounded off with an awards ceremony and presentation of our (unofficial) Segway licenses. Mine still stands proud on my desk to this day. After all the excitement, it was time for some sleepy students to return back to actual work…but on a serious note, the day was a great success and enjoyed by all. I think all would agree that it helped to tighten the bond of the student community at IFR.
By Elizabeth Thursby, a 3rd year PhD student in Nathalie Juge’s lab.