Now, I’ll admit, once I saw the prompt for this entry, it really caught me off guard “Tell us something that you are proud of and why.” That is a really hard question, and I was definitely not ready for that. I don’t pursue any hobbies that would bring me “pride”, like sports or academic hobbies. So really, what am I proud of?
I considered talking about personal growth, and how much I changed; but that’s cheesy, so I chose not to. To find something that I was proud of, I actually had to look at things I did at school. Now, looking back, if there’s one thing I did in school that brought me genuine pride, it was when we went to the Model United Nations for politics class, in Santa Ana. Not only was it an amazing experience, it also was a pretty important event that changed me a little bit moving forward.
To understand why I am proud of this, I probably should fill you in on some details. The Model United Nations, or MUN, is a simulation where you are assigned a country and a conflict, and you are meant to represent said country in relation to said conflict to the best of your abilities, all while trying to find a resolution to the issue at hand. It is a very academically challenging experience, and it requires enormous amount of research, both beforehand and during the meeting.
I was chosen to represent Argentina on the topic of hunger in Latin America. Now, not off to a great start. Being a victim isn’t always great if you’re looking to win, as you get less chances to show your roleplaying abilities and political knowledge. At this point I started to feel discouraged, but I did my research and got ready anyways.
Now, it’s important to understand that until recently, I was an absolutely abysmal public speaker. I wasn’t very articulate, and was very prone to saying dumb stuff. I still am, but for those who’ve heard me speak before, it was a big change. A big problem that was paired with this is that the people I knew have certain expectations of who I am and how I talk. This MUN, where there were no people I knew in my council, was an opportunity to be taken seriously and be treated professionally.
So, in MUNs, there are certain “events”, who are pre-planned of course, where an outsider joins the council, bringing some urgent news. This usually shakes up the discussion by a lot, and can be as extreme as countries declaring war on each other. So one of these people come up- and announce that there was a massacre of indigenous people… In Argentina. Thankfully, some unnamed angel pointed out that this had nothing to do with hunger in Latin America, so we brushed the topic aside and moved on.
And then, some time later, another event surged. This time, the conflict was that farmers were utilising illegal pesticides all over the country, and that destroyed Argentinian soil, leading them to disable food production entirely. My country could not produce food anymore. Mind you, these two were the only two conflicts that happened in the entire meeting, and were directly targeted at me.
So that wasn’t nice. But still, I managed to swerve the situation in my favour somehow, stressing the need of education of farmers in order to avoid events like these. Worked out pretty well. Fast forward a couple of hours, and it turns out I won Best Delegate (The top award) for my council. Yay! I felt really proud of that, sure, but I felt that even though I went through all that, I didn’t deserve to win. In my eyes, I got lucky with the events, and also, almost all of the Delegates in my council were either uninterested or inexperienced (So was I to be fair), but it felt like I won by a small margin, that I wasn’t really worth the award I received.
What really put things into perspective, and frankly, affected my self esteem forever, was when I was walking around the campus after the MUN was done, one of the event’s organisers, who briefly joined our council and proceeded to attack us, and especially me (I felt), approached me, and struck up some conversation. He asked if I had any experience with MUNs before. I explained that we had a mock of sorts at school, but it wasn’t really worth much. He then told me that “You did amazing out there. The only reason we did all those conflicts was because you were dominating the council.”
That really shocked me. He said it so casually too, like he wasn’t trying to flatter me. That made me so happy, and really changed the way that I looked at the stuff I did. I changed my mentality from my old “I have no potential” way of thinking. I feel like that really helped me in general. The feeling of receiving a real compliment like that from a figure of authority, who had absolutely no need to say what he did; was really amazing. So i’d say that this is something i’m proud of. I can say that this was probably my greatest academic achievement, and I hold it in a special place in my heart.
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