We asked the PsyKo Heads, who organised the PsyKo 2019 (Selina and Flavio) and our PsyKo Head for the next congress (Yara) some questions about their experience and the challenges of organising such an event.
How did you decide on the topic of the congress? Did you have a personal connection to the topic?
Yara: As a participant of last year`s PsyKo I found it hard to pick my lectures and workshops as the offers were so wide. This is why I decided to pick a topic for this year that is still broad enough to be interesting for many, and trending at the moment. I wrote my bachelor thesis in this area and realized that there is a lot of interest in this field, and not just from psychology. The topic for PsyKo 2020 is “Healthy mind, healthy body –What health means to psychology”.
Who is the perfect participant of the PsyKo?
Selina: Everybody who likes to broaden their network. From my perspective, the most valuable part of the weekend is meeting so many students from all over Switzerland and to have a personal and professional exchange.
Yara: All psychology students. But in my perspective bachelor students can profit even more because the congress allows the participants to have an insight into many different topics, which can help them decide on a path for the future.
What was your experience organising the PsyKo?
Flavio: Organising any event like this one is a huge challenge. Especially in the beginning, when you have to decide from the many possibilities there are. When I look back on it, it was a lot of fun. The motivation grew bigger with every step we took.
Selina: Coordinating the project and the team was a new experience for me. It was very interesting to see how my own leadership style worked with the team, after we built some trust in the team I got used to handing over responsibility to the other members of the team.
Yara: Even though I get support from the PsyKo heads that came before me, the situation is so different each year that, from my perspective, it is still really complicated. During the whole process I have to stay flexible and spontaneous.
What was the biggest challenge to overcome and how did you do it?
Yara: As the team is consisting of students from all over Switzerland, the communication is mostly done by messages and email. In consequence, communication takes a lot of time and energy. I realized I was spending too much time on my phone, and decided to restrict it by giving myself “phone-times“.
Selina: The biggest challenge for me was to have some time off. Taking a break and not answer intermediately had a big impact on the progress of the team. Over the year I improved my time management skills and my prioritisation strategies.
Flavio: The biggest challenge for me was right at the beginning. There were so many options, but not everything was possible and manageable with the budget and the ideas of PsyCH. When we started we wrote a first concept where we defined goals, time objectives, and the size of the team.
What did you learn, both personally and professionally, from organising the PsyKo?
Flavio: I especially learned how to lead a team. It is important to be in communication all the time with the other team members. I as well learned to find solutions in a short amount of time. When you organise such an event you have to face a lot of different problems you never anticipated, and you need to fix them fast.
Selina: It is impressive what you can manage to put together if you focus on it for a year. We started with a broad idea, then we put together a team, and a year later we managed to present this amazing possibility to students to learn and connect. Throughout the process, I could reflect about my working routine, and I learned a lot about both myself and how to work properly in teams, which will be useful for upcoming projects.
What was your motivation behind organising the congress?
Yara: I was a participant of the PsyKo 2019 and I enjoyed it so much. I really wanted to participate in the preparation of such an event for the next year.
Flavio: My motivation was to engage in something next to studying. I wanted to meet people from different fields of psychology and to broaden my experiences with regards to organisation and communication. When I heard about the Co-Head position to organise PsyKo I applied immediately and never regretted that decision.
Selina: I was inspired by Lukas Reichart (ex-VSETH president): “ Who only consumes, does not change anything.” I think such a networking event is essential, especially in the beginning of a professional career. After I participated in the Training school 2018 I knew I wanted to give back to PsyCH. From my work in the association for psychology students in Zurich, I had experience working with professionals to give students the possibility to see ahead into their future working life. This perspective is motivating for myself as well, as it shows me the sense behind my studies.
Author: Anna-Sophia Weber
- Pixabay (2018). Retrieved April 04, 2020 from https://pixabay.com/photos/paper-business-finance-document-3213924/