I am sure that during every Model United Nations (MUN) conference, and more precise, during every Lebanese American University MUN (LAUMUN) conference, a lot of students and for the first time in their lives, they put faith in themselves and stand up to speak in front of people even though they haven’t been used to it before. This is the point from LAUMUN after all, isn’t it? I mean, the whole point is to provide these little individuals the platform and the atmosphere where they can make that first step correctly to unleash their potentials first, and to let the leader inside of them goes out to life second.
That is basically what happened with me in my first experience as a trainer in GCLAUMUN. But there is a story; there is a story of a student that has to be told. There was a student, a thirteen years old girl who in one of the sessions I was her trainer. I and as always, was trying to break the ice and encouraging the students to actually take part of the discussions we were having and the different ideas we were sharing. At the end of the session, I was trying to make the leadership part more personal by sharing few personal experiences and encouraging them to share passion, dreams, and future plans in order to make the best of the session. At a point, I asked them who does want to be a leader in the future, and most of them if not all of them raised their hands. After that, I asked those who raised their hands why do they want to be leaders. I had different interesting answers from few students who were pretty active. But then, I tried to pick a random student to hear less of their silence and more of their ideas. So I picked this thirteen years old girl who did not say a word the whole session. When I asked her, for some reason she was not even able to open her mouth to answer me why she does want to be a leader. After a while, I decided to avoid the awkward situation she was having and asked another questions to the whole class and moved forward with the session. “That student has a lot of potentials and ideas inside” I told myself. After that with a bit, the session was over, and everyone left.
After having training session number five which was followed by the mock simulation, I met her going out of her class so I asked her how she did in the mock simulation. She said she was so freaking stressed the whole time. I, in that moment, took a chance to explain to her one of my favorite theories of all the times that has changed my life before and helped me have more faith in myself and in every scary step I take in my life. I explained to her that feeling stressed is actually a very good thing. Feeling stressed means that you are out of your comfort zone. The more we go out from our comfort zones, the more stressed we get. Of course, because out of our comfort zone, we do things we are not used to do before. Out of our comfort zone, we experience things we are not used to experience before. Out of our comfort zone, the world looks different and everything that we are used to is absent. But I made sure to explain to her that outside of our comfort zones, all the great things in life happen. Therefore, the more stressed you are, the farther you got from your comfort zone. And again, all great things in life happen outside our comfort zones. She seemed pretty convinced, and then she left.
When the big day arrived and students were getting ready to unleash their potentials and practice all what they have learnt in the 5 previous training sessions, I am sure this thirteen years old student was boosting up her confidence in herself and trying to prove how wrong everyone is. She was not in my committee unfortunately. At the end of Day one and during the cultural celebration, she came to me with very big shining eyes telling me how happy and proud she is of herself. She explained to me how confident she was during the first day and how courageous she was standing up and letting the world hears what she has to say. I was proud of her, to be honest! But I did not really know how good she was exactly as long as the image of her shyness was still somewhere in my mind. But what happened during the second day made me prouder than any other time. She actually was Diplomacy Award within her committee and she could prove not only to her committee, not only to her friends and colleagues, not only to her teachers and advisors, but to herself as well what she is actually capable of doing! At the end of the conference and the ceremony, her eyes were full of tears with a very big smile on her face. She came to me and hugged me and told me again how proud she is of herself and how freaking happy she was with her confidence and belief in herself. She said I was the main cause of her success and I have, in a way, changed her life. For a moment, I felt that the dream I have always had of changing the world and inspiring people to believe in themselves and fight for their dreams has come to life. But the truth is, I don’t really see it that way. The main reason of her success was herself. She left her comfort zone for a bit, and she got a Diplomacy Award. Who knows what would she be able to achieve if she keeps going, challenging her limits, and allowing herself feeling stressed while leaving her comfort zone behind?