A MUN ODYSSEY – PART 4: HOW TO SURVIVE YOUR FIRST MUN – NO-BRAINER EDITION (A)

Hi everyone, it’s K here. Through the first three chapters of the series “A MUN ODYSSEY”, I have showed you my journey with Model United Nations (MUN), from a young boy having his first MUN in 2018 to a two-year experienced MUNer. Besides my own story, I also would like to share several things I learnt about this platform, as well as (maybe useful) tips for beginners. They would be my main focus in the upcoming parts.

To start with, I shall introduce you “HOW TO SURVIVE YOUR FIRST MUN – NO-BRAINER EDITION”. That’s it, the guide to help you (hopefully) survive your first MUN, “NO-BRAINER edition”. One of my friends have suggested this topic. Personally, I found it an interesting one as I have been to many prior-MUN workshops. While they provide participants with necessary information about MUN and how to prepare for them, based on my experience, some significant advice are missed out. These advice, according to my point of view, are of great importance for first-time delegates as they can know what to really expect from their first MUN experience. It is understandable as some of the advice could not and should not be mentioned in a formal workshop. However, this post is not those formal workshops, so here your are.

Note*1: I do not, by any means, underestimate the value of MUN workshops. If you really wanted to have a decent foundation in MUN, go to them. They can be extremely useful, a great place to learn a lot from.

Note*2: This is not the only post regarding this subject as I will keep update the list in upcoming posts.

1/ Prepare to screw up

Important thing comes first. Unless you were a person with vast knowledge in politics, international relations,… plus efficient diplomacy, public speaking skills, you would be very likely to make mistakes, or worse, screw up in your first attempt. You may fail to stick to your country stance or talk incoherently that no one can really comprehend your speech. These mistakes can make you feel anxious, stressed out. You may become afraid of standing up and sharing your voice. What a waste!

The thing is, it is part of the experience. Every MUNer does make mistakes at first, even the most experienced ones. If you survived your first MUN without any flaws, it would be absolutely uncommon. Making mistakes, on the other hand, is something understandable. One mistake, OK; two mistakes, it’s fine; many mistakes, no problem! As long as you can learn from these mistakes and keep improving yourself over the time, then those mistakes do not really matter.

Pratice makes perfect. In your first MUN, your performance can be terrible. You are expected to make mistakes, or even screw everything up. We all have to go through that phase, so do not hesitate just because of the potential mistakes in your first MUN experience. It is completely normal.

2/ Please speak up under every (most) circumstance

That’s right! You hear it! Please speak up under every (most) circumstance.

You may wonder while in the first one, if I knew that I would make mistakes or screw up, then why would I need to speak up. It’s pretty simple. Standing up and talking in front of everyone is the most effective (if not only) way to identify and fix those mistakes. That way, the chairs and other delegates can give you personal feedback or advice on how to improve your performance. Over the time, by receiving these advice, you would certainly get better.

Nevertheless, there seem to be another problem. Fear of being judged. Right, that’s it. You are afraid of being criticized. You may make mistakes, and others may comment on these mistakes. It is definitely something that we are all scared of. Well, you should know something. First of all, mostly everyone at MUN were thoughtful people, especially the chairs. Second of all, as I have already mentioned, the majority of MUNers all have gone through the early phase at some points, thus we are the one who know what it feels like to make an absurd mistake. Finally, MUN is a really supportive community as there would be always someone willing to give you their hands. You would have the opportunity to received useful advice and if there were criticism, constructive criticism for your own shake. If there were any criticism that are completely nonsense (bodyshaming, hatred,…), do not give a damn.

In addition, there is in fact an interesting fact. For inexperienced MUNers the chairs do crave for your voice. Considering the fact that most first-time MUNers tend to remain silent for the most of the time, if you could speak a lot, despite the mistakes and flaws, you would be a star. I have been to many conferences in which only a few delegates were talkative (they were mostly experienced delegates), the chairs really looked for the participation of inexperienced delegates. Standing up and giving your opinion will definitely impress them. They would be over the moon (I promise).

That being said, remember to prepare your speech well before raising the placard. I do not advise you to ridiculously stand up and talk something indeed stupid. Your speech may not be perfect, but it must not be nonsense. Prepare carefully before giving it a shot.

In conclusion, please speak up. Don’t be afraid. Daring to share your voice is already a significant milestone.

3/ Do the f***ing research or you would not understand what others are talking

Another need-to-be-spoken fact. Sometimes you would fall into the situation that you have no knowledge of what the heck is being discussed. Maybe it is a weird treaty or an unknown organization, you are just simply clueless.

The moment when you know your head was empty during a MUN conference may be familiar to all MUNers. At that time you may wish you have spent that 10 minutes looking through the important subjects in the guidebook instead of surfing TikTok. Some delegates believe that MUN was easy and there is no need to do intensive research. While this might be applicable for some circumstances, for the majority, it is completely wrong.

Attending a MUN conference, you are required to do a ton of research beforehand. It is an undeniably essential prerequisites for your success in MUN. Without research, you are simply an unarmed, handicapped solider entering the battlefield. You cannot join the conversation, debate appropriately or write the DR. In addition, you may find the event extremely boring and quickly fall into sleep. That’s it, the end of your MUN career!

To sum up, sit down, open your laptop and do research (real research, not TikTok). Otherwise, what do you expect at MUN?

They are the first three pieces of advice in my MUN guide, “HOW TO SURVIVE YOUR FIRST MUN – NO-BRAINER EDITION”. I will certainly update them in future posts. Stay tuned and go to MUN people!


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