The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Students should use college to hone personality

I am a graduating senior here at CSUN. And while most of you probably hate me and will curse my name for getting out of here in four years, I want to give you young-ins some advice.

I was once like you, driving to campus, going to school, then going straight home. When people talked of the USU and SSU and all those other foreign places, my eyes would slowly gloss over and I would start thinking, “I wonder if this person realizes that I just park in the new parking structure and that the furthest I’ve ever been to that side of campus is the Oviatt for a nap between classes?”

I am a huge sports fan but never once attended a CSUN game. I once checked the box score for a CSUN basketball game if that counts for anything. Anyway, the point is I had no CSUN pride whatsoever.

But I was really excited to sign up for my last two semesters of classes. Finally I would be free! I’m a political science major, and while looking through boring-sounding classes such as International Relations of Eastern and Central Europe or Program Evaluation and Policy Implementation, I stumbled across a class named Model United Nations. And that was the beginning of my CSUN pride.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Model United Nations or seen the “Lord of the Flies” episode of “the Simpsons,” it is a class where you pretend to be the United Nations. Sounds a bit boring, huh? Maybe a little nerdy? Yeah, that’s what I thought too. I admit that I went to their informational meeting just to get the free food that was promised, but while I was there, they talked me into joining.

“It will improve your writing, research, and public speaking skills!” they claimed. Little did I know that MUN would go on to become the highlight of my entire collegiate career.

It is really hard to describe how or why MUN is cool, but it is. It’s almost like sports, but instead of crushing people with tackles, you crush them with your bare words and rhetoric. There is something so exhilarating about being able to argue and defeat an opponent that you can only know once you have done it. Winning an award while schools like UCLA and USC go home empty handed really makes you proud. I mean has CSUN beaten UCLA at anything? Ever?

One of the coolest parts of MUN is traveling to the conferences. We had five conferences this year: Anaheim, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Las Vegas, and New York. The New York conference was truly one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had. Everything was paid for: the flight, the hotel in the middle of Times Square, food and transportation. CSUN was fully supportive and it was really cool to know that they appreciated us. And for those of you who have never been to New York City, it is easily 10 times the city that Los Angeles is. You haven’t lived until you have been to NYC.

Our MUN team won multiple awards at every conference we attended. At the conference in Long Beach, UCLA was shut out, while we won 12 out of 19 awards. People would come up to me and ask “Wow! You go to Cal State Northridge?” with admiration in their voice. Out of almost 300 schools from all over the world and almost 4,000 delegates, we won top honors at the National MUN conference in New York. Being one of the best in the entire country makes you feel very proud to be from CSUN.

The last and probably most important thing that MUN gave me was friends here at CSUN. I had never hung out with anyone over my first three years here. This last year I have traveled the country with the MUN team. In New York, we ate at Turkish restaurants, hot dog stands and coffee houses together. We shared the cheesecake that won the 1973 Gold Medal in the Cheesecake Olympics, and, yes, it did deserve that award. We have taken classes besides MUN together and some people are even dating each other. I went from having no one on campus to pretty much always having a friendly face, whether it be to study or just burn a couple of hours between classes.

The purpose of this article was not to encourage you to join the MUN team, even though getting 6 units to travel the country and makes friends is a pretty sweet deal. My point is to encourage you to join a team, become active in your student government, or hang out around campus. Make new friends and connections. Many of the people on the MUN team were in multiple classes of mine in previous semesters, but I never talked to them and never found out how cool they were. Before you know it, you will be out in the real world and won’t have the chance to take a wakeboarding class or learn how to speak Spanish. Use this university as a tool, not only to get your degree but also to become the person you want to be. While most of you would like to be graduating, I almost wish I wasn’t. I haven’t learned enough Spanish, written enough for the Daily Sundial, or made enough friends. Luckily, you still have that chance.

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