Monday’s with Ms. Marvel: finding my voice in Model UN


Morgan Kong

In her weekly column, Monday with Ms. Marvel, Wingspan’s Trisha Dasgupta reviews different political issues and relatable topics in everyday life.

Trisha Dasgupta, Editor-in-Chief

I was 13 years old when I attended my first Model United Nations meeting. 

It was the beginning of eighth grade, and truth be told I didn’t have a great middle school experience. Side note, but if you knew me in middle school- I would like to formally apologize for being an insufferable pre-teen. 

I was incredibly self-conscious, had no self-esteem, no friends, and was generally lost in all aspects of middle school life. Every day felt like the end of the world, and every day I would wonder when everything would finally get better. 

I had gone from being a smart kid in elementary school (one of the better side effects of being an immigrant daughter) to no one of significance in the sixth grade. I was painfully average and I was living in my perfect older sister’s shadow, an older sister who had gotten a perfect score on her ACT, was Key Club President, a National Merit Scholar, and had all sorts of accolades and accomplishments. 

Meanwhile I felt like I was a constant disappointment to my parents, never managing to stand out or do anything worthwhile. Yes, I was a dramatic 13-year-old, and I know now that I was putting an unreasonable amount of pressure on myself at such a young age, but regardless, those sentiments weighed heavily on me on a daily basis. 

I still remember sitting in class in the fall of my eighth grade year when my teacher made a class announcement about a Model United Nations club at the local YMCA. I remember thinking that this was my chance to do something cool, something that seemed interesting and could maybe (finally!) make me stand out. 

Going to that first meeting was quite possibly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. 

While I was the youngest there, I immediately fell in love with the club, and I finally had found an extracurricular that interested me. I put my heart and soul into learning debate procedure, researching global affairs, and all of the other nerdy, but for me, fun stuff that came with the club. 

I had finally found my voice, and I learned how powerful it could be. 

That first year in MUN, I won my first award at the annual state conference, and the look of pride on my parent’s faces after years of feeling like a disappointment was nothing short of life-changing. 

Model UN helped me find my purpose as a deeply self conscious middle schooler who was desperately trying to find herself and her way. I found the things that I was passionate about and was finally on the right track, my track. 

After debating for my first two years in MUN, I started becoming more involved in leadership positions in the program. I became a chair my sophomore year, moderating and overseeing debate instead of being a delegate myself. I also brought the program to campus, being elected to club president. In the beginning of my junior year, which was my fourth year in the program, I was incredibly excited to be selected to the State Secretariat, joining the student leadership on the state level, and helping plan the conferences I was always so excited to participate in. 

MUN also pushed me in the direction of joining journalism my freshman year, gave me the confidence to start this column my sophomore year, and has undoubtedly shaped me into the person I am.

I’m no longer that self-conscious 13-year-old. Today, I’m just a month shy of my 17th birthday, and I can honestly say I’m confident, passionate, have great friends, and I’ve found my place in this world. I don’t live in my sister’s shadow anymore, and I’ve built my own path and defined my own measures of success. 

From being a chair, to President of our school club, to serving as an Undersecretary of Parliamentary Procedure on the state level my junior year, my love and dedication towards this club has only gotten stronger. 

That is why I’m very excited and incredibly honored to announce that next year, for the last year of my high school MUN career, I will be leading the program I love so much, as the Secretary General for Texas Model United Nations!

Leading the state’s program my senior year is genuinely a dream come true, and I can’t help but think all these years of hard work and perseverance have culminated in this opportunity. If you’re a part of this club, I want you to know that your Secretary General is dedicated and passionate, and I will do everything to make sure you have a wonderful experience! If you’re not in Model UN- join! 

I owe so much of my academic success and career to this program and I can’t even begin to express how excited I am to help other students find MUN and make their experiences as great as mine have been.