I was told joining WSC would “boost” my college applications. Now who wouldn’t want that? I joined WSC thinking it was just some type of extracurricular activity. But believe me, the moment I stood in the convention center with all these other scholars, I was overwhelmed by how happy and excited these people were and of course—how wrong I was. After seeing Daniel and Burch drop to the stage in space suits, eating cafeteria food in-between debates, receiving my first alpaca, and raving the night out, I realized that didn’t stay up late at night researching about Elvis Presley or give a speech in a meeting room trembling with anxiety because I wanted something nice on my resume. I did all that because I wholeheartedly wanted to.
At one point of the competition, everything went silent as I looked at the people surrounding me. I saw people from Kenya, Macedonia, Brazil, and many other countries. I saw scholars with an abundance of medals around their necks — it was intimidating. But there was one thing that comforted and relieved me — we may not be from the same race, we may not have the same beliefs, and we may not like the same things, but one thing I can guarantee we all have in common is the reason why we were all here, standing in the same room.
I was dragged into the community when one of my friends from my former school texted me at 3:00 A.M. to pay $800 and buy a plane ticket to Hanoi. I thought it was impossible. It was about a week or two before the actual global round — I’ve never competed, not even at a regional round, I was completely unfamiliar with the curriculum, I just didn’t know what to expect — but there I was, holding my ticket and passport in hand: ready for whatever was about to come at me.
I used to think friends become harder to make as I grow older, especially in WSC, where people are all different— another one of the many things I was wrong about. I learned that we can all bond over our differences and simultaneously, we also bond over the similarities we never knew we had. I would really like to thank all the friends and acquaintances I’ve made during the rounds and even after them: as much as I would love to list all their names (would be a long list, haha), you guys already know who you are 😉. And most importantly, thank you to my globals teammates who went through the whole experience with me and one of my friends who turned out to be my teammate for ToC, who went through the entire emotional rollercoaster with me; I couldn’t have done it without you.
The fact that thousands of scholars of different backgrounds and cultures meet up at one place in the world with the same dreams and aspirations really makes me feel all warm and mushy inside. Sometimes we all come to these rounds aiming for prizes so much that we forget about enjoying the experience. But the rounds reward us with more than just medals and trophies— they reward us with priceless memories and great homies we’ll never forget. In the end, we all come back with our alpacas in our arms, with smiles on our faces, trying really hard to conceal our excitement for the next round.
Tell us your story - apply now by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org!