Model United Nations is not just another extracurricular activity. In high school, you have a wealth of options to choose from and if you thought those were a lot, just wait until you get to college. You can be in student council or on a sports team. You could be in the robotics club or in the Jazz band. All of these choices are great, and if you are interested in them, then you should join them. But you ought to know that when I chose to be a part of Model UN, it was unlike any other student organization that I have ever been a part of.
First things first: this is not a club. In technical terms, Model UN is a mentally stimulating academic competition. In my terms, MUN is a group of proud nerds that want to show off their acting, debating, writing and networking skills to create incredible ideas that could work if implemented. While this may be a long definition, it encapsulates a spirit that is rarely able to be communicated to those who do not do Model UN. Model UN is a beast that can be conquered by anyone that truly has a passion for it. It is not an activity that your parents force you do just so that you are involved in an extra-curricular.
In my sophomore year of high school, my mom made me go to a Model UN meeting after school in the beginning of the year, and I now have her to thank for all of my incredible conference experiences. Here’s the bottom line: The value of Model UN is what you make of it. If you choose not to research before a conference, choose not to write a resolution during committee sessions, choose not to write notes to the crisis director, or choose not to interact with your peers in your committee, then you chose not to experience the value of Model UN.
One of the greatest benefits of Model UN, in my opinion, is to bring students out of their comfort zone. Not everyone will agree with what North Korea is doing today, but you may soon get assigned to represent in a committee talking about nuclear weapons.
That is by far my favorite aspect of Model UN. Portraying a position that disagrees with your own thinking forces you from your comfort zone and placed you in a situation where every move you make is scrutinized. A committee room is a full judgement zone; you are being judged 100% of the time. Whether it is your chair, the director, your bloc, other delegates, or faculty advisors, everyone is looking at and evaluating you.
While this seems daunting at first, it is probably the most valuable part of participating in Model UN. No one likes to be judged; however, you will constantly be judged over the course of your life—in school, during job interviews, and especially in the work place. Model UN provides you with an arena for being able to learn from your mistakes and not only grow as a delegate, but as someone who can read a room of people, someone who is confident to voice your opinions, and someone who can advocate, lobby, and whip support.
Take a chance and step out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to be judged; this will only make you a better delegate and person after every Model UN conference you attend. The value of Model UN is what you make of it.