Update from Jenny Hwang, Year 13
I still remember how I started Model United Nations, aka MUN. It was not something out of ambition, nor out of personal will. Simply, my mom forced me to do so.
My first MUN preparation was rather horrifying. I had no idea what a “position paper” or a “resolution” was. Being the delegate of Greece, I was terrified whether anyone would attack me for the financial crisis that I haven’t even contributed towards. Everyday, I complained to my mother, blaming her for all the stress and the workload I had to deal with. I wished so intensely for the end of the first season of ASA to come, so that I could ditch MUN immediately and sign up for other programs that looked way more interesting.
Yes, I was so nervous that I didn’t raise my placards much. And when I finally did, my face got all red, my voice got all shaky and my hands were badly trembling. But when I finally spitted out the words I have prepared through weeks and weeks of research and revision, I knew right away that it was worth it. That is how I started to grow in love with MUN.
My first BEIMUN was not very different from my first MUN conference. I was the youngest kid in my school’s MUN club as well as the youngest child in the Environment Committee. And yes, I was VERY intimidated. Again.
I mean, try to imagine. A short (in fact, around 145cm) Year 9 kid who has only been to two conferences before (which were all fairly small-scale and held in schools) going to the luxurious Crowne Plaza Hotel for a MUN Conference, surrounded by 1000 tall and scary looking high school students, who, are at some point, going to verbally attack you. There is no one of similar size or of similar age to comfort you. And then you hear from a senior student, “Oh, you are actually not supposed to come here. This is a high school conference”.
It is genuinely embarrassing to admit, but to confess, I didn’t make much progress. And just like my first MUN conference, I wasn’t able to speak much in front of the podium. To be honest, I deliberately chose not to. But later in the day, somehow I managed to gather and stitch up the remnants of my shredded confidence and submitted an amendment to the chair. And when I took the floor, I spitted out the words I have so carefully scribbled out on a piece of wrinkled paper. Quite, surprisingly, no one asked me any POIs (which I was most scared of) or made speeches against. Instead my amendment was put into voting procedure quite swiftly and was passed unanimously. When I got back to my chair, secretly gleaming in pride that these scary-looking high school people approved my amendment, another high school student told me, “Wow that was the fastest amendment I have ever seen! Congratulations.”
As soon as I heard those comforting words, a sense of accomplishment and recognition rushed inside me, awakening the little debate-hungry creature that had stayed dormant for the past couple of years. And it was this small but powerful creature that encouraged me to further my MUN pathway.
MUN to me is not a deliberate experience for a good university application or for CAS (although I cannot deny that MUN was very useful in these areas). Rather, MUN to me is a box full of miracles. Yes, miracles.
In Year 10, I was sitting in my committee as a delegate, busy working with the resolution, which I was going to become the main co-submitter for. And it was when I was typing up my speech that a girl tapped on my shoulders. I turned around. It was my best friend from primary school who I have lost contact with.
She was my closest friend since first grade when I was studying at an international school in Qingdao. However, at the end of third grade, she had to move to a different school and I had to go back to Korea. At the time, Facebook wasn’t a really huge thing, especially for primary kids, and the only way I could communicate with her was through e-mails. But e-mails didn’t really work out either, so I lost in touch with her for five years until, miraculously, we found each other, debating in the same committee in BEIMUN.
As a long-time BEIMUN participant, we always have this joke where BEIMUN is actually spelled out as “BaeMUN”. Although this is, of course not true, at least to me, it is and it always will. Through “BaeMUN”, not only have I miraculously found my childhood best friend but also friends from schools I have been to in the past, as well as delegates who I have became very close with during previous conferences.
I became so close with the delegates of my committee, as they became my greatest supporters as much as how I grew to become their greatest assistant. Although I usually find chairing dull and repetitive, I can confidently proclaim that this time, I truly enjoyed every single second of the conference as the President of Environment Commission I.
It was my pride when I saw more delegates raising their placards high as I continuously sent out encouraging and complimentary notes. It was my joy when they asked me for help on parliamentary procedures or their speeches. And it was my upmost pleasure to spend the entire three days of my week to work and mingle with them.
Recognized by my committee as their “favorite and funniest chair”, I, like always, experienced an addictive gush of accomplishment inside my body. The creature too, purred in satisfaction.
It is no exaggeration to say my life can be simplified as school, home and MUN. And so to let this go, I can’t help but to feel hollow and empty. I guess parting is what I always will be bad at and what I will never get used to. But I know for sure that my creature will still stay alive inside me and that it will make me continue MUN in any possible ways that exist out there in the world after high school.
Once again, I thank all the people for the beautiful memories, which I am glad that I will be able to take them with me as I graduate. And indeed, I send my deepest gratitude to my mother who was wise enough to encourage me to begin the six-year-long journey.
Finally, to conclude: Farewell, MUN.