When I first signed up for IABC/BC’s September 23 Fall Kick-Off Social, I wondered what it would be like to attend my first in-person networking event since COVID-19 struck the world. Excited and nervous, how I, a new IABC/BC student member, would introduce myself to an established group of communications professionals? Other questions popped up. When should I leave work to arrive at Steamworks Brew Pub on time? Would anyone talk to me? What if I freeze, stumble, and make a poor first impression?
My nerves subsided when I learned that the physical event was changed to a virtual one due to provincial health orders. Gone were my worries about physical distancing, the awkwardness of eating and talking, commuting to and from the pub, and what to wear. I was curious how social interaction would translate in Zoom.
When the Fall Kick-off Social began online at 6 pm, I was calm and collected on the outside. On the inside, my stomach was twisted in knots with anxiety. My nerves diminished as the hosts led us through a fun ice-breaker activity that put me at ease. I enjoyed a few laughs and learned interesting tidbits about others. We had a few exhilarating rounds of timed trivia questions centred on the autumn season. While I knew the answers to some of the questions, others stumped me. The interactive game-show format was entertaining and everyone was engaged.
Following the trivia, we split into groups to network in the breakout rooms. When I introduced myself to my group, I did not freeze or stumble. The evening concluded with closing remarks from the hosts. I had a great time and made some new connections! As a newcomer, I felt welcome and included. I am glad I went outside my comfort zone to attend the Fall Social. I would recommend it to anyone thinking of joining IABC/BC. I look forward to the next event!