May 7, 2011


I have been extremely busy ever since I started university, but even more so when I decided to participate in the annual American University of Sharjah Model United Nations. AUSMUN is a 3 day even with 4 committee sessions that aim to pass a resolution that will pose as a solution to some of the problems that our world faces today. Needless to say, I keenly joined to be the The Chair of the HRC (Human Rights Committee).

The first day, which was basically the general meeting and welcome session went pretty amazingly well. The Chair of HRC said something witty that had the entire auditoriam in fits of laughter, followed by whistles and clapping. I think it goes without saying that The Chair of HRC had a much-needed ego boost.

The second day was scheduled to hold the first and second committee sessions. I wanted to start off with the session, but the Director General decided that the more experienced Chair (Co-Chair 1) would start. So yours truly moderated 20 minutes of the first session. Let me tell you, it was hard. Other committees had one person moderating, another keeping track of the time and typing, and two people paigeing. Our committee was disorganized, and I was disappointed. I had to time, type, moderate, count votes, and it was frantic. I didn't do a very good job, which was only natural considering it's too much multi-tasking for one person. I won't make any excuses, the other experienced chair was able to manage fine, and the second co-chair who was inexperienced like me was also fine. I had a problem because, well, I wasn't prepared perfectly well, and because I'm not that good at multi-tasking, not to this extent anyway.

So then after this session, I was committed to give it my best. So the Chair of HRC got up extremely early, prepared full-on for the third session and was all set to go. Now the 2nd day, (3rd session) was the one where I was supposed to be moderating. At this point, it's important to note that the DG and the experienced co-chair did not show up for a SINGLE training session. But because they had the authority, they kept on changing the rules, expecting me to catch up without explaining it to me. The problem occured when once we decided on a rule, the DG changed it as per her own will without informing me about it. Now point to be noted here is: the Chair exercises full control over the House. So when the Chair speaks, no one has the right to interrupt. But I was pissed. Very pissed. Because both the DG and the Chair kept speaking, because obviously when they change the rules without informing me or explaining it to me properly, I'm going to make mistakes. They should have let me manage on my own as all moderators, experienced or inexperienced made mistakes (as I found out earlier), but they kept interrupting, answering my questions for me, which gave off the image that I wasn't prepared, that I didn't know, and basically undermined my authoritative position.

It should also be noted that when I was asking them questions because they are more experienced, every single one of them, including the advising professor, kept giving me the vibe that I wasn't prepared, or kept asking me to calm down. Calm down? CALM DOWN!? Just because I want to be prepared and I'm focusing my energy and being passionate does NOT mean that I'm freaking out. It means I'm serious and passionate and responsible about my duties.

But then there was a breakdown. You see, the experienced co-chair kept gesturing me to cut it out, which I thought he meant postponing the speaker's list until the coffee break. Turns out, he was asking me to stop the speaker from speaking. Whatever the case, it was not his prerogative. The step I took, it turns out, was a huge mistake because session could not have been adjourned without DG's permission.
It was fucking annoying, because we were trained for something else, whereas our directors were following something else. I broke down at this point because every 'mentor' (i.e. DG, professor and the co-chair) came up to me acting like it's all my fault, that I'm not listening to them when all along, I'm sending them notes asking for pointers, looking at them and getting no responses what so ever.

So after I snapped, they started to warm up and gave me all kinds of sym-pathetic bullcrap. I told them that they keep interfering, I look like a fool up there, no one's following the rules, I'm trained for something else and you change it completely so wth am I supposed to do? And they go all like oooh noooo you were so not looking like a fool it's your first time, don't worry we were all messing up on our first time you were not even that bad! And then the professor goes, look it's all a learning process, you have to think on your feet that's the whole part of it. We're changing rules only 'cause we want to pass resolutions and there are time constraints.

And I get that, I get their point. But then communicate better. Talk to me before hand. When I'm working hard, showing up on time and doing all that I can, you should too. Don't make me look like a fool up there. And don't give me shit for asking you questions.

Also, yes the moderators were supportive and the experienced co-chair give me a pep talk to make me feel better. He told me he saw the look in my eyes and that he saw that I really wanted to prove myself and he gets that, but that mishaps happen. Well, I get that too. He even apologized to me saying it was his fault to gesture me to do something when the DG has the final say, but he said that to me by taking me to a side, not in front of the Professor or the DG, which meant that a.) I still look bad in front of a Professor b.) An image may have been formed about me that I'm an emotional wreck. Yes I do appreciate their kind words, but at the same time, they should have thought of this before. Let's just communicate better next time.

But anyway, I can't change what anyone thinks about me. And this is not even gonna matter in 5 years. Infact, people are going to forget it over the summer. What matters is that I was responsible, I was passionate about my stuff and I took my things seriously. I was professional, in a world of people that are unprofessional and rely so much on wasta, on manipulation and on selfish motives.

The whole experience was good. I learned some valuable lessons:

1. Be confident. Even if you have doubts, act like you know your shit. Be the boss when you are the boss. Basically, exercise authority when you are in the position to do so.

2. Don't be afraid to criticize when necessary

3. Don't be afraid to bend rules.

4. Don't lose focus of the goal. At the end of the day, it matters that I have AUSMUN on my CV, and I've learned from my time at it. It won't matter whether I messed up or not. I got this.

5. Take matters in your own hand and own your shit.

6. Find out the answers on your own, or ask them from someone you trust. People have forgotten the meaning of 'mentors'.

I do not hold anything personal against the people I've mentioned here. I was just extremely angry with the attitude, the lack of organization and communication. And also at the way that they tried to put me in a position where I was the emotional wreck and they are the poised, responsible leaders. No. I refuse to accept it.

Lastly, the reason that initiated this post was that I'm very OCD about my work. When I do something, I want to make sure it works out well through to the end, otherwise, it really gets to me. That said, of course, this was tough to digest. I was being too hard on myself initially, however now I know that it's okay, that these things happen, these are all conflicts that come with being part of a group.
Of course, I wasn't angry at making a mistake- I was angry at the lack of communication and group-work that ultimately led to this problem. However, at the end of the day, we made it through, and it's over. At the end of the day, what matters is that I took a job, saw it through to the end, faced my fears with courage, fulfilled a duty I felt I owed to myself, and pushed my limits.

So I'm proud of myself, because only I know what I went through in this entire process of the conference, the preps, the beginning, the process and the end.