THERE IS a great deal of ways we can heal our minds and worn-out bodies. Some may prefer to wrap a soft blanket around themselves and watch their favorite movie, while others may choose to go out for a run. Ring Ding Dong is a new student club at Yonsei, formed by students who share a similar interest of trying out new “healing” activities. Their main activities include visiting board game cafés, playing with playdough, listening to their favorite music, or anything that allows them to take their minds off pressure or anxiety coming from everyday life. To find out more about how they relax in their busy lives, The Yonsei Annals interviewed Ring Ding Dong President An Ye-ryeng (Soph., Dept. of Public Admin.) and Vice-President Choi Ji-eun (Soph., Dept. of Political Science & Int. Studies).
Annals: Could you give a brief introduction to your club Ring Ding Dong?
An: Ring Ding Dong is a “healing” club open to all Yonsei students who are tired from their busy lives and are finding ways to reduce stress. Our club was actually only founded this semester, with the aim to meet once a week to de-stress and do fun activities with like-minded people. We have recruited new members this semester and we are planning to recruit every semester by promoting on Facebook and Everytime*. You will easily find a link to our application form, and we select our new members based on a brief interview. We try to select people who are passionate about being part of Ring Ding Dong.
Annals: How often does the club meet and carry out these activities?
An: We meet every Monday at 7 p.m. in front of the school’s Main Gate and then head off to enjoy our “healing” activity for the week. We usually do one activity a week altogether, but when opinions are divided among members, we take votes and split into smaller groups. However, we tend to emphasize the importance of solidarity when “healing,” so we try to stick to one activity each week.
Annals: What types of activities or projects has Ring Ding Dong carried out?
An: Since our club focuses on “healing,” we don’t have a full semester planned ahead of time. Instead, every week we make sure that everybody has a chance to present their ideas on what activities they are interested in and then we largely categorize them into either outdoor or indoor activities. For example, some of the active outdoor activities we have done include going on a picnic and riding bicycles around the Han River, playing billiards, and watching musicals.
Choi: Some of our indoor activities include making key rings, slime, and origami. We haven’t planned any long-term projects yet, but we are constantly trying to introduce unique “healing” activities to our members. We also get ideas from what our members have written down on their application forms.
Annals: Why did you decide to createRing Ding Dong?
An: Choi and I met in a different student club and we wanted to join a slime-making club together. When we found out that there weren’t any at Yonsei, we decided to create our own slime-making club. However, while planning, we decided to broaden the spectrum of the club to a “healing” club. I also persuaded a couple of my friends to be the founding members of Ring Ding Dong along with us.
Annals: What does “healing” mean to you?
An: Healing to me is feeling small but significant happiness. Going out to eat something delicious with a friend or travelling somewhere can be considered healing if you think of them as happy experiences. But when you just think of them as burdensome tasks, they won’t be as fun, but rather add to the stress.
Annals: What are some of the challenges faced while running this club?
An: Starting from scratch is never easy. Not only was our club new, but it was the first time for all of our executive officers to run a student club, so we faced a lot of difficulties on the way. We also collected a membership fee of ₩35,000 at the beginning of the semester, but sometimes when we do activities that are on the pricier side such as watching musicals we have to collect extra fees. Since we are a newly formed club, we are still in the process of figuring out how much we need and staying within the budget. In addition, getting demand surveys from our members, reserving places for us to carry out some of the “healing” activities, and deciding on what activities to actually carry out were difficult. We wanted every member’s opinion to be heard but we realized it was impossible to do every single activity in one semester. Although we couldn’t do everything our members wanted to do, I believe that we have learned a lot from our mistakes this semester and will strive to become a better organized club.
Annals: When have you felt proud as a member of Ring Ding Dong?
An: I always feel proud when we go out as a club and do different activities together. Whenever I see our club members enjoy the activities we plan, I feel like these activities are doing something to help them relax in their busy lives. The satisfaction coming from the members constantly reminds me of this club’s purpose and the positivity it is spreading.
Annals: Could you share your most memorable moment in Ring-Ding-Dong?
Choi: I remember picnicking at the Han River as our second healing activity. For ice-breaking, we played a variety of games such as trivia quizzes on movies or TV shows and name the brand. We also ate honey flavored fried chicken with spicy tteok-bokk-i while talking about each other’s majors and past club experiences—just anything that allowed us to get to know each other better. It was still the early stages of our club and everyone was sort of awkward at the beginning, but these activities helped us all get closer.
Annals: How is Ring-Ding-Dong different from other clubs?
An: Well, first of all, there are not a lot of “healing” clubs around school. While there are clubs that focus solely on art or music, our club allows students to experience a variety of activities that are rejuvenating and stress-relieving. We are also very lenient on how the club functions. Recently, our club members spontaneously decided that we should go to Ui-dong for the weekend as a “healing” trip, so we are actually going next week. The fact that we don’t have a limit to the types of activities we can do and the flexibility of our club are what I consider to be special aspects of Ring-Ding-Dong.
Annals: Is there a specific goal the club wants to achieve by the end of the semester or in the next few years?
An: Something that I’m very proud about our club is that the attendance rate is very high. More than half of the semester has passed, but a lot of our members still attend our weekly gatherings. For example, just last week, out of 23 newly recruited members, 20 of them showed up to participate in our slime-making activity. So, in the future, I personally hope everyone can keep up this enthusiasm.
Annals: Any last words for Yonsei students?
An: Although mid-terms are over, many students are probably still stressed over assignments and group projects. I think people should take a break from schoolwork and find time to “heal” through their own methods of de-stressing—whether that is through eating or taking a walk in the park. If you are having trouble finding the right way to “heal,” or if you are just looking for some people to hang out with, just remember that you are always welcome to join Ring Ding Dong.
Choi: I also hope that students can end the semester on a good note by balancing work and their own ways of “healing” in order to refresh their minds. Since we are recruiting new members next semester, if you are interested, please remember to join us!
*Everytime: An online service platform for university students in South Korea