*Written in 4/19/2012*
As I returned from my trip, slowly unpacking my belongings, I was definitely fighting to keep my eyes opened. Before I fell into a deep sleep, I tried to recall all of the lessons from throughout the semester. I hope that I will remember all of it, as detailed as I can. Let me take some time to reconcile all the hardship that we had to go through before the trip to NYC.
As I mentioned in my previous story, I signed up for this Study Away program after becoming fired up from Dr. Albert’s phoneme speech. Before even stepping my foot in the class, the hardship had already begun. The program cost over $700 for airfare, hotel, etc, in addition to the tuition. It sounds typical of any study abroad program. Thankfully, ASU was one of the few universities in Georgia who help students to fund their trips through scholarships, fundraisers etc. On the downside, I was one of the last few students to sign up for the class and I only had two months to fund through a Yankee Candles fundraiser, which was one of the largest fundraisers for the study abroad program.
The moment I dropped off my application, I picked up the Yankee Candles catalog right away and started selling candles to everyone that I ran into on the exact same day.
I was fearless in my sales approach, even though I never had Yankee Candles in my possession before. My only impression of them was that they were smelly candles. I talked to peers physically and virtually over text or internet, knocked door-to-door for all professors, hall-mates, even pitched sales to all the drivers I encountered whenever I ride the shuttle.
Good thing it was close to the Christmas season, and a lot of my acquaintances in America seem to use Yankee Candles during the holidays. I was able to make over $250 in two months with the support of my peers, teachers, and a shuttle bus drivers. Also big thanks to such a wonderful Study Abroad Program at ASU and all the generous donors behind it; with their help, scholarships are available to students who submit an application along with recommendation letters. Again, I knocked door-to-door to each of my professors doors to inquire for a recommendation. I was able to receive another $250 towards my trip. I also participated in the raffle tickets fundraiser, and I paid the remaining cost out from my part-time job as a cashier/waitress at a restaurant.
SABR 2930 was unlike any other classes. First of all, since the first day of school this class has been a competition. This was not a competition within the students. It was a competition that the entire class works together as a group to compete with other schools. If one student slacks off, he or she would be dragging down the entire group. The entire class was on adrenaline rush for the entire semester. Also, I need to mention that there was no dropping out of the class, and there was no money back.
To better illustrate what I’m saying, this was a class that sets fire behind you, forcing you to only move forward. Even though I said this whole class acts as one unit, the individual’s contribution is still crucial.
Here is how the “Model” UN works. Just like the official United Nation, delegates are divided into different committees, assigned with different subjects. But the delegates in the case for Model UN are students from different schools. As a result, this class is divided into committees, and each section is to compete with other committees from other schools. When I mentioned schools, I don’t only mean schools in Augusta, schools in Georgia, and not even only schools of the entire United States. I mean schools from all over the world. You must not be fazed from being in the same room with hundreds of international people, not to mention you are expected to present convincing speeches to them.
In short, the class was designed to prepare students for the real experience UN conference. There were two professors; one of which was Dr. Albert, a really out-spoken individual. He was really young for a person with PhD, although I don’t know his exact age. I could name a hand-full of students who were older than he was in my class just from a few casual conversations. Though young, Dr. Albert took pride in his job and always wore a full suit and tie to every class. Nevertheless, he was also humorous. You would be hearing him cracking jokes and making the whole class burst in laughter, but the next minute he would be talking about his faith with God. For instance, he spent the whole class to perfectly define the term “virtue.” He full-heatedly embraces his southern pride and the patriotic American dream.
On the other hand, Dr. Ginn was quiet in comparison, although I’m sure most of the people would be quiet when compared to Dr. Albert. Dr. Ginn’s speech was just as stalwart and convincing however. Something that would take Dr. Albert a whole class to explain, she could do it in probably 15 minutes. Dr. Ginn kept her head high and stands equal to, if not higher than, than any prominent male in the political world. She was really caring, resolved, composed, detail-oriented, but also had a light sense of humor. No one would have been a better instructor for this Model UN class than those two. They were the type who would not want to settle for anything less than their best, which was why the class was so challenging, but at the same time really rewarding.
In addition to the vow-to-win professors, the dress code for the class was strict. Here comes the old saying: No means no. No open-toe shoes, no T-shirts, no sweat pants. The only thing allowed was a suit. Not just for presentation, every student must dress professionally for every class period. This might sound really troublesome and intimidating; however, we actually gained respect around campus simply based on the attire we donned.
Last, the most amazing and unique part about this class is that there were other opportunities for learning than just listening to what one teacher has to say. Students can learn and hear from multiple people: Dr. Ginn & Albert, head delegates, an Anthropology professor, and a guest speaker from Ghana; most importantly, students can learn from each other. I have learned to express my opinion in a professional way, and to be patient when things don’t go my way. In addition, I have learned to take consideration of other people’s opinion in coming to a resolution. I learned to explain my stances and backing them up with valid reasons, and I also learned to be patient with organizing my thoughts into the resolution.