My week in New York City with the Model U.N. team is a week I will never forget. Before leaving for The Big Apple, I was more anxious than excited. My major is mass communication, where I study things like social media trends, targets audiences for advertising and how to make short films, so as I’m sure you can imagine, “foreign policy” seemed more like a “foreign language” to me. However, I’m getting ahead of myself here. First, let me explain what exactly Model U.N. is.
Model U.N. stands for Model United Nations. I’m going to assume, like me prior to joining the team, most people have a knowledge of Model U.N. that extends only to its appearance in an episode of Parks and Recreation (if that). Basically my team and I spent all year studying Peru, the country we were assigned, and Peru’s viewpoints on various world issues. Like the actual United Nations, our team was divided up into committees. Naturally, the girl who always has a smile on her face and does not even own a gun (*cough cough* me) was assigned to the General Assembly 1, which deals with nuclear weapons and small arms. I learned all there is to know about bombs and other weapons from the perspective of Peru all year (actually, not really, but I tried).
The week before spring break, most students spent that week daydreaming about their vacations and all of the eye-candy they’d be seeing at the beach — but not me. Instead, I spent that week taking exams early, collecting and completing all of the work I’d be missing, and meeting with all of my professors about how I’d be missing a week of class (yes, an entire week of class. I never miss school. Gosh, that stressed me out). “All of this effort, and I’m just going to go there and make a fool out of myself,” I thought. People already assume I’m an idiot because of my blonde hair and bubbly personality and I felt as though I was about to go prove them right.
However, the conference turned out to be amazing. There were about 6,000 students from 131 different countries participating. There were so many different cultures coming together in unison to compromise and find common ground, which is the very essence of the United Nations. It was beautiful. I made friends with students from China, Canada, Germany, and Colorado (to name a few). Through conversations, I saw they have a different way of life in each of those countries/states, each differing from my own, but truly opening my eyes to other opinions. But I also learned the people I had travelled with from right here in Wichita Falls were not like myself either, yet we became friends.
I spent most of my time with a few people, and each was uniquely special to me. First, there was Morgan, my old roommate from last year. Morgan is sarcastic and hilarious, and she even earned herself the nickname “Chuckles.” Sometimes at night when we’d stay up late talking, she would get tired and become short with me by responding with one-word replies (which led to a burst of laughter).
Second, there was Erica. Erica is normally pretty quiet, but I think NYC did her some good and brought out a side of her I really like. Erica is the only one who was open to singing karaoke impulsively with me every time I would burst into song; she was my cuddle buddy as we walked down the street in 20-degree weather; she is someone I could cry with; and she was the target of many third-wheel jokes that gave her the nickname “Single.”
Third, there was Dareem. Dareem has such a confidence about him. He speaks so eloquently, but he also knows how to loosen up and have a good time. Dareem is kind to everyone, and I think that is why he is so likable.
Next, there was Dean. Let me just say that I love me some Dean. His background in theater shined through with his quick wits and sassy attitude, which always allowed for someone to be drastically burned, unable to come up with a rebuttal.
Then there was Ashley. Ashley was my partner for the GA1, and let me just say, she was definitely the brains behind the operation. She is incredibly smart, and I am privileged to have worked with her. She made me feel secure when I was lacking confidence, and she made me laugh during those long formal sessions.
Finally, there was Tyler. Tyler is a fraternity guy with the confidence of a Kardashian. He was the selfie king, a persuasive prankster and he took longer to get ready in the morning than any of the girls in our group. If Tyler had not been on our team, I don’t think we would have experienced New York like we did; he encouraged us all to go out of our comfort zones.
Lastly there was Kyle. Man, what can I say about Kyle? He certainly knows how to take a joke (he had to with our group). Kyle is a free spirit, and hearing his stories of how he likes to..umm..”live life to the fullest” led to tears streaming from our eyes in uncontrollable laughter.
Others on our team included; Maria, a kind soul; Natalia, who introduced us to some amazing Peruvian food; Faith, whose name represents all she stands for (which I love); and Luke and Andrea, who I have to name together since they are practically joined at the hip.
Overall, the trip was one I will never forget. Experiencing the National Model U.N. Conference, seeing things like Central Park and a Broadway musical and the 9/11 Memorial, and casually sneaking out for some late-night desserts at Carlos’ Bakery were all fantastic memories. However, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that getting to know these beautiful people was my favorite memory. Unlikely friends were brought together by what some would call circumstance, but I’ll call it fate.
Kelsey Purcell is a mass communication junior.