10/21/2013 10:23 am ET Updated Dec 21, 2013

A Different Kind of Club

I'm a sophomore in high school, and only this year I started to take advantage of the numerous clubs and electives that my school offers. Most of my friends are part of clubs like acting improve, orchestra, film appreciation, or other clubs that feel like part of the arts program. This year, I started participating in a club that was usually criticized for requiring the students to do work. The club I joined is called Model UN.

Model UN is a club that focuses on world issues and international relations. For example, the first time the club met, we talked about Syria, and Russia's connection to Syria. The club is very serious in the issues that are discussed. Everyone who is there is there to talk about recent issues and to make our own opinions known.

One of my favorite parts of Model UN is how it is like watching history in the process of happening. One example was when we talked about how Brazil is spending so much money on the Olympics and soccer stadiums when the public wants the government to spend the same money on education, roads, and other public resources. That conversation then led to remembering how China razed cities and forced the surrounding towns to modernize in the course of months to create room for the Birds Nest (China's Olympic stadium). That conversation then led to talking about how all over the place China's economy is because of the forced modernization and massive population.The teachers of Model UN definitely try to focus on an idea, but they aren't afraid to transition to other topical events.

What I didn't realize is how big of a club Model UN actually is. This year, the people in the club will go to both Brown and Harvard University for a giant High School Model UN convention. The way they work is that every school represents one country, and people are assigned to committees, which contain about 300 students each. My school has gone to the Harvard convention before, and I was told that there were about 3,000 students, some even from abroad, who participated. Personally, this event sounds amazing. Having 3,000 students packed into an auditorium and represent their country sounds fascinating to me. I'm especially excited for the Brown convention, because there we represent specific people. One example of someone I can "be" at the event is Zhang Fo, the Grand Preceptor of the Ming Dynasty.

More than anything, Model UN has taught me to just take a chance, no matter how strange or new it may seem. If I had tried Model UN once and just quit, I would never get to represent Galerius, a military commander for Diocletian and then what would I be doing with life? Even though Model UN has only met twice so far this year, I intend to be an active member for many semesters to come.