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How Model UN Helped Me Succeed as a College Intern

After I graduated high school last spring, I was determined to have a highly productive and career-based summer to put myself on the best track for success in college. As an aspiring political science and law student, I set my ambitions on interning for my local Town Attorney and County Legislator, and through extensive networking and emailing, I was able to secure both positions. Though ambitious, I made the decision to complete both internships in order to get the most out of my summer. I spent those three months juggling intense workloads and immersing myself in the throws of public policy and law. Ultimately, it was the skills I learned from competing in Model UN with All-American in high school that facilitated my success in managing both internships simultaneously. 


When I accepted both internships, I had no experience whatsoever working in a government office; the bureaucracy intimidated me, and the professionalism of the work environment was something I was not accustomed to. My fears of letting down my respective bosses due to my inexperience ran rampant. Yet, as I began my days in these work intensive offices that desired the utmost professionalism in terms of dealing with local constituents and complicated documents, unexpectedly, my high school experience in Model UN saved me. 


Quelling my anxiety was a matter of finding my confidence in an unknown, high-intensity environment: this is something Model UN delegates do at every conference they attend. So, when I walked in on my first day–Western business attire and all–I put myself in the same mindset of a delegate walking into a big, scary, college-run Model UN conference for the first committee session. I stood up straight, walked with purpose, and held my head up high; I spoke with practiced articulation and smooth cadence. These are the details which made me stand out to my superiors as something more than the classic, jittery, summer intern.


Model UN gave me the training to emulate professionalism in the real world. 


Much of my responsibilities entailed producing research files for my legislator. Specifically, this meant I had to write comprehensive documents on domestic policy issues that deeply impacted the community. The most difficult aspect of this job was balancing accessibility with depth, which is something Model UN delegates deal with everytime they write a position paper or background guide. The topics of these assignments were far in range, and sometimes obscure, thus difficult to find sources for, just like some Model UN committee topics delegates will encounter at conferences.


Model UN provided not only an enhanced understanding of geopolitics, but the ability to write analytically about complex topics using accessible language.

Additionally, my well-trained research skills permitted me to speed through complicated topics that would otherwise have taken hours of fruitless internet scouring. 


In one instance, an aid requested that I write a research file on the effects of the legalization of hemp in Suffolk County, which is where I was working. My superiors were extremely impressed with this particular file and offered that it was one of the best they had encountered from an intern. The file, much like a Model UN position paper, tackled the topic from inside out. My work included substantial economic analysis of how such legalization would affect local farms and the cost of research, plus potential environmentally effective ways to integrate hemp into industrial manufacturing (such as paper and construction materials). My ability to produce an analytical paper of this quality was entirely dependent upon my years of participation in competitive Model UN. Ergo, the skills I picked up in simulated committees held practical applications in the “real-world” professional work setting. 


After a summer of hard work, my superiors were ultimately impressed with my work ethic and skills, and expressed gratitude for my compatibility in the workplace. I was cheerfully and excitedly invited to return. It was not only my general participation in Model UN that yielded this successful outcome from a summer internship, but more specifically the mentality I learned as a member of the All-American team.


Competing with All-American challenged me to strengthen my shortcomings while capitalizing on my strengths: that’s how I became the best version of myself.


While most obviously applied to any humanities field, the skills that I learned through Model UN can be incredibly useful for any young adult entering increasingly competitive professional fields. Applying to compete with All-American was the best decision I could have made for my career, because it put me ahead in ways other applicants for the same internships could not claim. Model UN may be an activity based in simulation, but there is certainly nothing made-up about what it teaches. 


Related Article: Model UN is Not Just for Humanities Students

Related Article: Why I Applied for All-American and Why You Should, Too!

Up Your MUN Game this Summer
The Ad Hoc Academy at Johns Hopkins University will give students plenty of opportunities to practice their speaking skills while taking advantage of professional coaching and guidance. Compete in six simulations in six days for over $6,000 in prizes.

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