While most people were enjoying their last two days of spring break and preparing for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations two weeks ago, I was packing my bags and flying to New York City with the rest of the Model United Nations team. This was my second year on the team and my expectations were high for the wonderful week ahead of me. The previous year, our delegation represented Perú and had a strong finish by winning three awards and creating a bond that seemed unbreakable. I thought the memories we made could not be beat.
I thought wrong.
When we started preparations for the new year of Model UN, representing Iceland, there was a group of us who had already bonded from the year before, but with a new year, a new country and new members, we sought to make this year better than the last.
Upon arriving in New York, the thrill of the city sent me into a newfound excitement. I had been so nervous about the conference the year before I had been unable to enjoy the experience of simply being in NYC for the first few days. This year, I was going into the conference and city with a new confidence. Last year, I was so nervous to speak in front of the hundreds of brilliant minds in my committee, I would not even stand to say “present” during role call. This year, I stood at a microphone and gave four separate speeches I hoped would bring the other hundreds of students to their knees. Last year, I would only walk when the light said “walk,” and would eat lunch at the same restaurant almost every day. This year, I would step out into the street just after cars would pass and I tried many new, cute eateries I would never find in Wichita Falls, Texas. I was definitely stepping out of my comfort zone, but I was not walking alone.
The 14 students who joined me on this trip were all like me in a way: they were coming to a place unlike what they were used to and doing things they might not normally do. We all pushed each other to be our best; to grow as individuals and to grow together.
On our fifth day in New York, something amazing happened — it snowed. This Houston girl, who has only seen a lousy excuse for snow three times in her life, was enchanted. While we walked through the flurries, many flakes would rest on my red coat and as I looked down upon them, I had a thought: we were like the snow. Not just our delegation, but everyone at the conference. Thousands of students from hundreds of schools all over the world, representing hundreds of countries (half of which I didn’t even know existed before Model UN) were all united by this particular conference, trying to solve the major problems facing the world which we all call home. Just as no snowflake is alike, each person there was uniquely crafted with varying backgrounds, ideals and cultures. Just as a single snowflake does not make a difference on its own, no single person there could have done the assigned tasks on his or her own; however, when we all joined together, we created something beautiful. Snow may stop traffic, but the work we did in our committees could move mountains. Just like the snow, the scene I witnessed took my breath away. It was an honor to be a part of something so much greater than myself with people I admire with everything in me.
We finished the conference with five awards: the Outstanding Delegation Award, Outstanding Delegates for GA1 as voted upon by their peers, and three position paper awards. Our group took home the most awards and the highest awards of any delegation in MSU’s history. I could not be more proud of my people.
The conference and the trip may have come to an end, but I will forever hold the memories of late night McDonald’s runs, spontaneous snowball fights, sing-a-long dinners and belly-laugh-worthy subway rides dear to my heart for as long as I live. Thank you to Ashley, Brendan, Dakota, Dareem, Dean, Erica, Georgia, Hannah, Herbert, Kyle, Luke, Natalia, Sal, Shelby, Steve Garrison, Brandy Joliff-Scott, Linda Veazey and MSU for an incredible experience. As for the city that never sleeps, you will be in my heart and in my dreams.
Kelsey Purcell is a mass communication senior.