The days before a Model United Nations begins are some of the craziest days ever. Any one who’s ever been a delegate will be more than happy to explain exactly why, and then some. No matter how small the MUN, how big the committee, how much you think you can just ‘wing it’ – there comes a time, about three days before the conference opens, when panic sets in. Did I research enough? Oh, no! I’m going to fail! I’m not going to get recognized! What do I do? What do I do? And it isn’t limited to just preparation. There’s also the stress that comes with finding the right clothes, the right shoes, printing out all your stuff, and wondering if anyone is actually going to want to lobby with you. While I can’t promise that this will fix it all, it can’t hurt for you to read a little more. It might even help.
Before you try to locate and collect every blazer within a three-mile radius, keep this is mind – blazers aren’t the only thing you can wear to a MUN (unless you’re a boy. If you’re a boy, you need a suit. No other option. Sorry. Maybe you can try a waistcoat.) And for every one, regardless of gender, mix-and-match has been around for years. There’s no reason you can’t make two blazers last you four days – just pick a different shirt, tie, or trousers. Or, if you’re a girl, wear a dress. That works, too.
The only real rule here is not to wear Crocs. Crocs are evil and wearing them will eventually cost you. No, I’m just kidding. Obviously, Crocs are out of the question, but formal closed shoes work just fine – and you really only need one pair, unless you have five different belts to match five different pairs of shoes with. Then you’re on your own. And if you’re planning on wearing heels, keep in mind that you might have to walk a long way to your committee – or, if you’re a Press Corps member, stay on your feet pretty much the entire time. So unless you’re sure you can handle walking around on six-inch stilts for four and a half hours straight, try to go easy on the height.
This is specifically for international delegates. Chances are your flight is going to get in the evening before committee starts (three hours before, if you’re really unlucky). Some delegates get a day to acclimatize and try to deal with jet-lag, but if you don’t, don’t worry. Try to sleep on the flight instead of watching all those movies. If you can’t, hey! There’s always Starbucks, that loyal best friend that’s never going to let you down. Just be warned – there will be lines. And they will be long.
It’s so normal to get nervous – about speaking, being looked at, even for a reason you can’t explain. I’m not going to tell you to imagine everyone in their underwear, but just keep this in mind – every single delegate in the room is probably just as nervous as you are. You’re never alone when it comes to that.
All you need to know – walk up and make friends first. That makes it a lot easier to work together in committee later, and gives you a little more time to get comfortable with a person. Then you won’t feel as awkward bossing them around later when you’re leader of the bloc.
Do it. That’s all I have to say.
The more you worry about whether you’re going to win or not, the more you’ll stress yourself out. Don’t go into committee thinking you have to win, and don’t try to analyze every move you make so that it’s something that you think will get you in the running. As cliché as it sounds, a MUN is, first and foremost, for the experience. And don’t worry about winning so much that you spend your whole stay holed up in your room writing resolutions. Go out and shop! (I mean, that’s what I would do. And what I did.)
This is in no way an official guide for a MUN. I can’t guarantee that it’ll help you. But I hope it does, because I know as much as the rest of you how nerve-wracking it can be. Just (and don’t yell at me for this line) don’t forget to have fun.