MUN is something that incorporates attributes you can’t exactly learn from the classroom. You’ll need academic skills, as well as good interpersonal and communication skills. Because it’s your first conference, I’ll try to be brief:
- Be hyped. Be excited about your conference, whether it’s at a local high school, a university campus, or the UN Headquarters in New York. Be excited to represent your country, and to attend in general– your enthusiasm will help overcome any fears or doubt you have during the conference itself.
- Don’t panic. Roughly half of the attendees in any given conference have never attended before. If Rules of Procedure seem daunting, just observe for the first hour of committee– everything will be self-explanatory once you see it in practice.
- Have a plan. Know your topics, know your country, and have specific solutions in mind you want to push. Don’t just fund X or create an organ to address Y, think of something innovative that the UN hasn’t implemented yet. If you have a sound idea, assistance in writing that Resolution will surely come.
- Be flexible. Maybe the topic you wanted didn’t get picked, or your innovative solution isn’t so hot. Being able to shift your focus abruptly is an important skill to recognize. The first group you work with might not be so great after all, or you might trip up on your first speech. Guess what– nobody cares (that is, except you). Pick yourself back up, get involved, and make the most of this conference.
- Have fun. MUN sounds incredibly academic and boring on paper, but in reality, this is the lifestyle of many high school and college students (seriously). Don’t stress over preparation, don’t fear over public speaking and don’t cringe at the hostility. You’ll leave the conference with knowledge of international affairs, but more importantly, lifelong skills that you can apply anywhere in life. Be happy you went, not just content.
I was in your shoes once. Now I’m headed to one of the world’s largest conference in Malaysia next week.
Executive Board (UNSC)