A "GaJe" Group

I used to be part of this WhatsApp group. Every week, we would read, and submit what we read. There were also additional though occasional activities like interviews, reviews, and the like. However, we didn't do much else.

Did it do much, this reading group? Not really. I was already predisposed towards reading, and this group mainly served to expose that. In fact, it might've been my over-reading that led to my GPA dropping almost half a point from last semester. Moreover, many external observers noted the group didn't accomplish much, and such was the reason many potential recruits were reluctant to join. And anyways after 3 months, the founders decided to officially halt group activities due to declining participation from regular members. So do I regret joining this group? 

Not one iota.

True, I didn't develop significant good habits from it. True, I might as well have not been in the group, so little were the activities. True, perhaps the first semester of my third year would barely be any different had the group not existed. But perhaps it was because there wasn't much to do, the group felt like an oasis in a desert. I felt that this was a group I really belonged to.

It was like a school club with gaje activities- even without doing much, you get attached because it's just nice to get together with certain types of people. And this group was filled with witty yet good-hearted fellow students. There was also the factor of group identity: while the group wasn't really boastworthy, I was happy to proclaim my membership.
Naturally, asking several random people to get together and form a WhatsApp group needs a reason, even if they were all Indonesian students in Turkey. Most people just aren't willing to get together with strangers for no reason- it's against human nature. But at a party, workplace, or even a charity drive, people open up to each other. Now to me, reading was just a pretext to get these people to come together. Once we had this reason, talking and opening up to each other was a natural followup.

And I really liked it- in a time when the burden of 3rd year classes was like a hurricane, this group was like the eye. Reading, reporting, getting praised, and commenting lightly- it could be said my activities in this group were my form of relaxation.

So perhaps it was good the group wasn't so engaging. A group where one could spend their time at will, without intense pressure. A place of peace, where you could talk to those who wouldn't be disappointed nor pleased by your failures, and cheer you on lightly. Were it a very passionate group, I'd always be thinking of meeting expectations. Were it a time-consuming group, I might have dropped out early on. Were it a competitive group, I would keep my distance from most people like in my university's department. But fortunately, the group wasn't any of the above.

Finally, here's a case I'd like to make for the super-pragmatic amongst you readers: because the group is so light, you get to know the other members easily. And if you want to build a network, what better option is there?

In conclusion, such light groups can be a blessing. It may seem like a waste of time at first. But being such a solid emotional outlet, such a group may be the best thing you will ever join. Business relationships are based on how much each party gets from each other; true friendship can never be based on such a thing. Following that logic, these kinds of groups will be true friends and perhaps sources of true friends for you.

At least, it was for me.

*Gaje = Ga jelas = Unclear, without purpose, random