In the End: When it’s time to say goodbye to High School Model United Nations (Gabriela Taveras)
“Tuesday evening: pack my bags, I’m heading out the door
I left a box of memories lying on the floor”
As the soothing notes of Evermore’s song course through my system, I find myself taking nostalgic glances at the many belongings I’ve collected in my bedroom: honor roll awards, stuffed animals, paintings… And then my eyes rest on a particularly cramped section of my crowded desk.
My Model UN awards. The diplomas and shiny glass trophies that are physical mementos of victory; yet, other than recall the apparent legendary moments of fame, some very different thoughts cross my mind: laughter, joy and a string of nostalgically good moments that get me teary-eyed in a matter of seconds.
I immediately go over a month back, to the end of my last conference as a high school student. A strong pang filled my heart as my team mate and I hastily ran out of the committee to get our luggages ready. As we made a dramatic race for the bedroom, we talked about how we were finally on the finish line, how years of passion had finally come down to those moments we could barely hold on to.
Her words sent fond flashbacks through my eyes: my selection as a model UN delegate, meeting my first crush, learning the heartbreaking truth about the situation in Palestine.. Too many life changing moments in just a split second were more than enough to bend me over, drop onto the bed and cry.
But not tears of sadness or fear.
No. These were tears of happiness, fondness and indescribable joy.
I admit it did feel like the end, but I could tell something else loomed just around the corner. I knew my decision to join Model United Nations almost six years ago would not end with me speeding in the JFK International Airport to catch a transcontinental flight. This was the beginning of the end of all I had known, but it was also the beginning of the real adventure those previous chapters of my life had prepared me for.
Becoming a true leader, beyond committee, beyond my school: I would become a leader for a cause. By studying International Relations, I’d become an advocate for my country’s initiatives, prove that the Dominican Republic is so much more than an attractive tourist destination with paradisiac beaches: I would, instead, set out to prove that my country is the result of the sacrifices of men and women like Juan Bosch, Francisco Caamaño and Minerva Mirabal.
And the friendships I’ve forged throughout these conference years: they are so much more than people to have a good laugh with. They have been and will continue being the people I’ll forever cherish along the road to what Model UN has turned me into: a catalyzer for change and a better person in a world that has the potential to be the living embodiment of justice and prosperity.
As I dry my tears away and the happy memories vanish, I smile and recall the lyrics with fresh resolve.
In less than four months’ time, I’ll be saying goodbye to my room, my safe haven for so many years. I won’t leave the box of memories; it’ll be tucked neatly into my heart as the aircraft takes me to my next stop, a stop that is exciting and overwhelming at once: college.
No, this is not the end; this is the beginning of the biggest wonder that Model United Nations has prepared me for: this is the beginning of life.