This is the beginning of our interview series, “Peace Talks”, in the run-up to Peacemakers Conference 2017. For our first post, we have Sherlynn Oh Min Yee (middle row, rightmost) from Yishun Town Secondary School:
Why did you choose to participate in Peacemakers Conference 2016?
I was chosen by the teacher in charge of the monitor council, Mr Ten to sign up for Peacemaker Conference 2016. Before making my decision, I went to read up about the conference and felt that it would enrich my experience as a monitor. As a monitor, I am supposed to resolve fights and arguments in my class. By signing up for Peacemakers Conference, I will get to learn how to better communicate with my classmates and be more neutral when mediating conflicts.
How was your experience at Peacemakers 2016?
At the start of the Peacemakers Conference, I was rather afraid as I did not have prior experience mediating. I was also worried that I would not get along well with other students from other schools. However, we had ice breakers games to get to know each other and by the end of the Conference, we all became friends!
The Peacemakers Conference was very enriching as I got to role play different characters. The role-playing exercise was the most memorable part of the conference. We had to act as either the party or the mediator with students from other schools and thus had the chance to interact and work with them. The trainers were also there to watch and gave us feedback on how to improve. Through these role plays, I got to experience how both parties would feel which enabled me to be more sensitive with my words when handling an argument in my class.
Could you share with us your experiences being a finalist at the friendly competition!
I did not expect myself to be chosen as a finalist! I was worried that I would make mistakes during the competition. During the finals, my partner and I had to co-mediate a scenario which was roleplayed by the trainers in front of everyone. I was afraid that I would not do well and let the teachers down but my partner kept on encouraging me. In the end, even though I made a few mistakes during the competition, I felt a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction as I managed to apply whatever I had learnt. After the competition, I became more confident when mediating conflicts in my class and felt more courageous to speak in front of a group of people. I was glad that I had the opportunity to participate in the competition as it really enabled me to step out of my comfort zone!
What advice would you give to participants of Peacemakers Conference 2017?
For participants of Peacemaker Conference 2017, do not be afraid to try even if you do not have any prior experience in mediation. Your friends will be by your side supporting you throughout the journey and it will be an enriching experience for you. It is normal to feel nervous and worried at the start, but as you progress, you will slowly build your confidence and be an outstanding mediator. Most importantly, don’t give up when you face any problems and have fun!!