Model United Nations - MUN for short. My dad lovingly refers to them as "nerd conventions," and I guess he's partly right. These conferences, however, made me who I am today, and for that, I can only say "Thank You."
My freshman year of high school, I had no clue who I was or what I wanted to do with the next four years of my life. I walked into a Model UN Informational Meeting my first day of high school just because it seemed like the right thing to do. Little did I know, that one meeting would change my life forever.
At the conferences I attended over the next four years of my life, I learned how to be myself. I gained the diplomacy skills needed to function in the world. I learned when to keep my mouth shut, and how to speak eloquently when I need to stand up for my beliefs (or my country's beliefs).
Most importantly, though, I learned about my passion for International Relations - something that ultimately fed into my thirst to learn more about the world, and my thirst for travel. Now being a Russian Studies major, you could say that international matters are quite important to me.
Model United Nations - Thank you. Thank you for bringing so many students together, even just for four days. Thank you for giving me my best friend and the women that I consider to be the most important in my life.
But most importantly, Model UN, thank you for continuing on into college.
Walking onto campus the first day of orientation, I was once again the clueless first-year student that didn't know where she belonged or anything, really. I did, however, know one thing - that I LOVED Model UN- so I signed up. I now have another wonderful support system and a great place to go on Thursday nights from 6-8pm. These people are the ones that let me be myself; they let me be nerdy about random international disputes and they push me to grow more as a speaker, learner, and person.
In just a few weeks, I will be traveling across the country with these people, and I could not imagine doing it with any other group. Model UN people just get me, we have similar interests and similar senses of humor. We all want to see each other succeed in every way - personally, academically, competitively - whether that success is in Model UN or other things.
While Model UN might end when college ends, it has shaped me forever. It has given me the best friends I could ask for, both in High School and college. Most importantly, though, Model UN made me who I am today. It taught me how to convey thoughts on the spot and showed me how to care about the world
Here's to you, Model UN.
Lead Image Credit: Tennessee YMCA Center for Civic Engagement