Looking back: Fall/Winter 2016/2017

Please believe me when I tell you that the Fall/Winter 2016/17 academic year has been the busiest and most rewarding year. It was one that challenged me in different ways and I’m forever grateful for it.

I was a part of three clubs – Carleton University Dance Crew (CUDC), Spoon University Carleton Chapter, and Parks Canada Outdoors Club of Carleton – and a student volunteer/student staff with three different university on-campus departments – a peer mentor at the Student Experience Office in the first semester, a peer helper with the Centre for Student Academic Support (CSAS), and a volunteer at the International Students Services Office (ISSO). I was terrified for myself at the beginning of Fall 2016 and was unsure whether I would be able to do it all while keeping myself sane.

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L-R: Lujie, me, Mana, Julia, Shaelyn, and Colleen
Volunteering for ISSO during Fall Orientation Week 2016
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Cloudy and wet day didn’t stop me from going hiking at Gatineau Park

There’s no other way to say it but I genuinely enjoyed the year despite my crazy schedule every day. I was so happy and as I packed my things to leave campus earlier this week, I was feeling sad and reluctant to move out of my room in Frontenac House. I was just sad to leave the year behind. I met so many amazing people, came across so many wonderful opportunities, and improved myself by gaining various skills.

To make it easier to read, I’m going to elaborate on each person and opportunity in different subheadings chronologically (if possible) to explain how my year went.

ISSO

While everyone was still enjoying their break towards the end of August, I returned to campus on August 30 to begin my training as a Fall Orientation Ambassador, an international student mentor, and a volunteer for the ISSO.

There I learned a little bit about different cultures and countries. I loved it and it was so rewarding. I was crazy energetic throughout Orientation week and extremely talkative – Wei Ni made fun of me when I told her how much of an extrovert I was being. Regardless, the feeling of being able to help these new students kept me so motivated that I felt that I had an unlimited amount of energy.

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Excited international students ready for the Parliament Hill Light Show

After orientation week ended, I took on the role as an international student peer mentor where I had to help new international students settle down and ensure they were well-adjusted to their new environment. I was honestly unsure of my position and ability to be a good mentor. As far as I knew, I was someone who had cultivated self-discipline and self-motivation on my own, at the same time, I wasn’t so sure whether I’d be able to convey a similar message to someone else. I was afraid that I wasn’t doing my role justice because I did check off all the criteria of what I imagined a mentor would be. I should’ve better prepare myself to adjust to different personalities, listened more, and so on. It was an interesting experience nonetheless but I could’ve done a lot better. I’ve learned my lesson and will be applying these considerations the next time I decide to become a peer mentor.

CSAS

I honestly don’t remember what made me apply for the position of an Outreach Peer Helper. As far as I remember, I was only motivated by the fact that I could make myself more employable. I didn’t know what I was going into nor was I expecting anything amazing, I was solely focused on gaining new skills. It’s a cliché but I’m just going to say it, I am incredibly grateful for the experience, skills, connections and memories I’ve gained during my time as a peer helper.

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Journo-senpai and cutie pie, Alyssa
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Fellow Whovian and staff lounge buddy, Joanna
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Giant gingerly ginger, Connor

If there’s any place that made me felt safe, welcomed, happy, and motivated, it was working at CSAS, chilling or doing assignments in the staff lounges, located on the 4th floor of the library.

Every time I was there during its hours of operation, I’d be sure to find someone who’d be willing to talk or help me out. They really made the library my second home, it was somewhere I never wanted to leave. People would always check up on each other, ensuring we’re all taking care of each other, supporting each other, and giving helpful suggestions/advices on certain things.

Of course, I remembered the things I learned while I was there too – creating social media content and different promotional programs to generate more student engagement with the centre. It was a pun-tastic time of creating content. Going out tabling in the tunnel junctions with the Plinko board was also a fun and enlightening experience. By enlightening I mean, it put me in a position I’d never see myself being able to get comfortable with – I was constantly pushed to convince students to learn about CSAS by asking them to play with the Plinko board. Looking back, I realized I’ve grown.

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My almost-big sister, Jenny!
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Fabulous Alex!

When I first started with the Plinko alongside Rebecca, I was unsure what to say and always mimicked Rebecca but as the weeks went by, I slowly gained confidence in spewing out things to say to hype the students up to play the Plinko. It was a fun time and definitely one way to improve your public speaking skills.

CUDC
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Always smiling LJ ❤
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Awarded the “Most Improved OLD Member” by my fellow CUDC Execs and Advisor

If you knew me from last year, you’d know I was a part of CUDC since my first year. During my first year as a CUDC member, I was always unsure of where I stood in the crew and that still hasn’t changed. Unlike most clubs, this is where I felt the most closed-off from the whole group and I never felt truly home. If anyone ever wants to see me quiet among people I know, this would be where you’ll see me being quiet (besides the library). I know that’s kind of shocking to hear and it is shocking to me too! I don’t know why this is the way it is but I can only guess it’s because everyone else me is super loud and I don’t know how to respond to that or I just let other people to be loud and not challenge them? I don’t know.

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With Nareen and Shaelyn
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Vice-President Brenna
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Sassy Sarah!
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Lovely Colleen and Julia ❤
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Riri group: Jodi, Alex, me, and Sarah
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Amazing dance partner, Collen

But if there’s one thing that’s change this year, it’s that I gained more confidence in my dancing abilities – I even did a duet with my new friend, Colleen! I don’t think I’d be dancing at CUDC with confidence without the support of Colleen. Colleen is such an amazing and passionate dancer. I’m genuinely thankful I met Colleen because she gave me an opportunity to try out different dance genres – contemporary and modern – and it was an honour being her duet partner.

Esther

Where do I even start? I met her a cross-country skiing event organized by the Parks Canada Outdoors Club. It was a beautiful and warm cold February morning that day and someone (Esther) to her surprise, arrived at the meeting spot a little too early. Me being the person who arrives anywhere early, arrived a little later than her, and started chatting with her – she started the conversation. Lots of chatting went on that day and we found out we had so many similar interest like Yuri!!! On Ice. Heh! Anyways as we were chatting in the car on our way to the skiing place, I invited her to go to the gym with me after skiing – classic tip on making friends. Long story short, she agreed to gym with me.  Funny thing is when Esther was on the way to the gym, she forgot her running shoes and she went back to get it. By the time she got to the gym, it was 15 minutes to closing. Somehow we still got to know each other and planned our gym schedule for the week. Fast forward today, we’ve been gym buddies ever since and became food/travel buddies – we went to Quebec City and Montreal together.

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That’s Esther and I in front of the Chateau Frontenac!
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Rue du Petit Champlain

The year went by incredibly fast and I’m grateful for everything that’s happened. I’m excited for the new school year because I’ll be rooming with two amazing girls – Carleigh and Selene. I’m also terrified and worried because it’s going to be the toughest one yet – Third-year journalism is extra tiring. Bummed that Esther and I won’t be able to spend any more time with each other for the year because she’s going on exchange to Edinburgh. I’m hoping I can keep up with her and hoping she’d do the same because she really made my year a lot better although we just met. Heh.

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Looking back: Fall/Winter 2016/2017

First Year @ Carleton Over

Hey Guys!

Sorry that I’ve been gone for so long…I was really busy with the usual university stuff: assignments, extra-curricular activities and so on.

Peterborough

I visited Dorothy at Peterborough during during Reading Week.

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She was initially supposed to come to Ottawa but somehow, it ended up the other way around. It was really nice seeing her especially since I haven’t seen her in so long.

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We checked out Peterborough’s free zoo and walked around their tiny Downtown.

 

Carleton University Dance Crew Showcase

Basically, danced and performed at Kilash Mital Theatre. We did dance mixes from the 1950s all the way to the 2000s. I had a lot of fun!

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70s-80s Mix

Only regret is that I felt that I should’ve performed more. :X

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Spoon University

If you’ve been keeping up with me on my Instagram, you’d have realised that I started writing for Spoon University. That’s right! I’ve been writing and churning articles twice a month.

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Check out my articles:

The Charlatan

I also wrote for my school’s newspaper. It was very sudden and I thought I didn’t have enough time for it. Apparently, I do. I think once I’ve been given an assignment, I’ll complete it within the deadline.

features image.jpgI think the most interesting one was definitely the features piece. It was about the international students’ difficulty of finding jobs in Canada. I pitched this piece because I was actually facing some problems finding a job in Canada.

Final Exams

I had my first university final exams! Of course, there was a lot of studying involved. I only had three exams and two take-homes.

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Exam snacks

This time around, I did most of my studying in the study lounge on my floor instead of heading to the library. Somehow, I had a cult of engineers following me to the study lounge. @_@ It got a bit out of hand because they were making a lot of noise. :<

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Sasitha, Nihon and Abby

Studying went alright the first week but I lost so much motivation towards the end. I didn’t really study for my last exam because it was practically the last day and I had like 10 days gap from my second last exam. It was a pain keeping my motivation up. But now that I’m done, I’m so happy!

Post-Exam

Yaassssss! I basically moved out of Glengarry. OMG! I’ve been cooking and stuff. Ya know.. I also went to Toronto. I actually just got back from Toronto and will be preparing a separate post for it.

Toronto was awesome. I miss it so much. Anyways, I’ll talk about Toronto another time. See ya guys soon!

 

 

First Year @ Carleton Over

Singapore Model United Nations 2015 Conference

Four words: Best. MUN. Conference. Ever!!

Ever since I was an admin of Selangor MUN 2014, I’ve been constantly amazed by people I met in MUN and doing my best to actively participate as a delegate.

Fast forward to the second week of May 2015, I decided to participate in an international MUN conference – Singapore MUN 2015.

A lot of planning and preparation had to be done prior to the conference. This was mainly due to the fact that stakes were a lot higher (come on, stakes are much higher in an international conference and in Singapore) and because there was another event, BRATs Camp JB 2015 I would be attending before this conference. Meaning, everything had to be prepared and packed by the last week of May. I had to book accommodations, transportation to and fro KL-BRATs-Singapore-KL and create an itinerary for my trip.

On to the main story, I basically travelled to Singapore on my own from Johor Bahru’s CIQ Checkpoint. I hopped on the bus from CIQ and landed in Singapore safely! I was amazed by the efficiency of Singapore the minute I found out that there was a bus frequently commuting to and fro JB and Singapore.

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CIQ
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Entering Singapore after clearing CIQ

Funny thing, I missed my stop to Kranji Station. I didn’t know it was going to be the first stop! Regardless, the Singaporeans I met were so kind to direct me how to get to my destination from another bus stop.

I stayed a night at my aunt’s place and was delighted to be part of their weekly family dinner. I haven’t been to Singapore in a decade and have not met up with my Singaporean relatives in a few years, so it was really great to be in Singapore to see them again.

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Cheese tofu, broccoli, Soy chicken?, cucumber, soup.

We had Chicken Rice for dinner! The Chicken rice tasted different from what I’m used to but it was all good. I thought the soup was the best. :3

There was no air-conditioning in the room but to my surprise, it didn’t feel hot.

I slept well that night in my cousin’s old room and woke up happily late because no fixed schedules. It was drizzling for a really long time and I was like “WHAT IS THIS BRITISH WEATHER?”.

After lunch, my relatives dropped me off at Tembusu College in National University of Singapore, the place I’d be staying for the next six days!

I was promptly checked in by SMUN secretariat and headed to my room immediately.

The room was decently sized and everything was clean. One thing I didn’t like was the smell in my room. It had this weird smell, something not sour or salty but just weird.

luixia-singaporemun-01 luixia-singaporemun-02 luixia-singaporemun-03There was also a fridge and couches in the living area outside of the individual rooms.

My room didn’t have a spectacular view as it was facing directly opposite another residential building.

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View from 7th floor corridor.

I took my time to settle down and went exploring around campus as it was too early to meet up with the Malaysian National MUN team for dinner.

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View of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum from the College Link Road
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luixia-singaporemun-09 An art piece from some artist, in front of the University Cultural Centre (UCC)

Alright!

8th June, Day One: Conference begins!

We all gathered at University Cultural Centre (UCC) for the opening ceremony and I was reunited with my friend, Jessyln (a BRATS senior I’d just met at the BRATS camp) and Andrea bb!

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Left: Jesslyn and me. Right: Me and Andrea ❤
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Opening ceremony

Like all conferences, there was an Opening Ceremony. This opening ceremony hall was huge and they had staffs with walkie-talkies! It was that big of a deal!

I was so honoured to be participating in this conference because first I’ve never been to an international MUN conference and because Singapore Model United Nations is the flagship Model United Nations Conference of Singapore with 2015 being its 12th year!

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For the key-note speaker, they got Singaporean minister, K.Shanmugam.

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My friend, Neel asking a question to the minister!

After the opening ceremony, we were delighted with array of food for Tea. I didn’t have lunch so I was famished and filled my tummy immediately!

Tea was brief and we were escorted to our respective councils room promptly. There we had a short introduction by our chairs/directors and we were also briefed on article expectations. I was part of the Press Corp so that meant gruelling schedules: go to committee session, observe, come back, write and finish up by 4.30pm.

The day ended quickly but realising my Press Statement did not fulfil required expectations, I worked on it with one of my press directors, Ivan after dinner.

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That red bit in the sky is from Jurong Island, the artificial island created for Petrochemical Industrialisation.

Much of my days during these five days were spent writing articles, understanding my news agency’s point of view, emulating it, and learning a discipline I’ve never done before. I honestly didn’t expect to be “representing” a Russian news agency, I was thinking of maybe getting something more serious or outrageous like BBC or KCNA. It was challenging but I’m glad that I learnt a lot about Russian culture (thanks Ivan!) and where their views come from, all that stuff.

Day Two: I’m a Pageant Girl!

The second day started off weirdly with a member of the Publicity, Outreach and Socials Team explaining the pageant that will be held on Social Night. I was like “Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?”. We had to pick a pair of representatives, one female and one male and somehow, I was chosen with no objections from anyone except me. -_- Nobody nominated any dude so I had “eenie-meenie miney-mo” my partner. That didn’t work out as well and so I just picked some dude who was taller than me—Ryan from FOX News.

After that, I got reassigned to cover the crisis committee—Shanghai Cooperative Operation (SCO). It was nerve-wrecking on that day because first of all, I didn’t get to do research  for that council and so I was very blur on the situation and second of all, the crises were going so fast! Anyways, I did my best to submit my article in time and sent it to my editor for feedback.

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Look at us painstakingly trying to finish up our articles by the deadline.
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Ephraim Tan, our Press Director! ❤
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From left to right: Me, Prasha, Esther. ❤

That night, there was a complimentary walk-around tour organised by the SMUN secretariat that would cover the sites around Downtown Core.

We got to walk around Clarke Quay, the area surrounding the Parliament buildings, Esplanade, and Marina Bay Sands.

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Starbucks’ Summer Drink: Orange Honeycomb Crunch Frappucino
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Kenny and I at Clarke Quay!
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Look at those tall buildings!
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City Hall and the F1 Street Racing Road.
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The Fullerton Hotel. One of the most expensive hotels in Singapore.
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Merlion!
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Left: Me trying to do that perspective shot that Neel inspired me to do. Right: Neel & I awkward selfie

I got more comfortable in my role on the third day and managed to do more than just report. I had the chance to write a soft news article. I wrote on fashion because… I’m a sad person who likes to tell people that their clothes look nice!

During committee session, The Russian delegate in the SCO was really helpful and cooperative so I managed to get some points that I missed from the debate.

We had our in-house committee dinner that night back at the residence. It took us a while to decide what to eat but the only issues I had with deciding what to eat was the price and whether I could order something that does not contain seafood. Buahahhahahahaha!

We decided on Domino’s! I was quite excited to try their Domino’s because well, I’ve never tried Singaporean Domino’s before. And can I just say that I prefer Singapore’s Domino’s so much more than the Malaysian one!

My favourite pizza that night were Basilico Chicken and Valenciana Mushroom! Both soooo good! I don’t know whether anyone realised but I think I was one of the few that took more than three slices of pizza. I wanted to try them all, okay! And not like I’d be going back to Singaporean Domino’s again any time soon!

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Left: Rows and rows of pizzas. Middle & Right: Bubble tea that Regina(head of Publications) belanja-ed me! ❤

Fourth day: Social Night.

I decided on this bright and colourful dress that I got recently. I was super excited to wear this dress because I absolutely love the messy rainbow-coloured feature. I waited almost two years to get this dress. It was initially RM120 but I got it for RM40. 😛

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Behind(from left to right): Ivan, Ephraim, Cassandra, Regina, Ming LI In front(from left to right): Ching Yee, Me, Edgar, Yangdup, Esther, Ryan

Okay, whatever.
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After committee session, pageant participants were escorted to the Kent Ridge Guild House first for pageant preparation.

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With Dorothy and Lucas. Somehow three of us from Malaysia got chosen to represent our committees…

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The organisers gave us a run-down on the event like the catwalk, Q&A session and winning criteria.

This pageant is an annual activity for SMUN’s Social Night… It’s meant to be light-hearted and fun but on the night itself, it wasn’t light-hearted. There was an aura of competitiveness lurking around. Omg, why so kiasu?

They even brought in a make-up artist to help with both female and male’s make up.

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Left: Make-up by me; Right: Make-up by the make-up artist

I was bored and decided on a dark make-up for the day and planned to change it later for the event.

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In the pageant room filling up time. I’m so sorry but I forgot the other girl’s name.

luixia-singaporemun-37 The pageant started off with a couple catwalk, followed by a Q&A session.

Ryan and I.
Ryan and I.
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Editors, Ivan and Jing Yi taking a selfie with Ryan and me as the background.

We returned to the stage once again only this time, we’d change into our casual outfit for games. We were separated accordingly to male and female. For males, they had to dance along to the song with the emcee while us girls had to dance/catwalk/ireallydon’tknow to whatever song the DJ gave us.

Somehow, Dorothy got an “old school club music”… Other people got some songs according to their race(-death glares at DJ-) while I got Anaconda by Nicki Minaj???!??!?!??!

Since I got that “pervert song”, according to Dorothy, I danced lor. I was lucky that they gave me something upbeat or else I don’t know what I would have done.

Long story short, I still didn’t win.

Fifth day: last day. 😦

I was really tired that morning because I slept at like… 3AM. I had to constantly find methods to keep myself awake!

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Make up of the day!
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Everyone from Press Corp in this photo! Except one of the editors, Hao Jing.
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Polaroids I took on the last day! ❤
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Omg! They got the Ambassador of France to Singapore! So walaoz.
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Creepy Lucas being creepy.
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Selfie as we were walking to UCC!
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Panel Discussion with Ambassador Benjamin Dubertret, Mr Xaxier Nuttin and Mr Stephen Quick
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Left: Selfie because I was quite happy with my make-up but it was too dark. Right: Ivan asking a question and Cassandra photobombing!

 Out of all the MUN conferences that I’ve been to so far, this conference to me has been the most enlightening and enjoyable. Maybe it was the committee I joined which had a small number of us, maybe it was the people I went to the conference with, maybe it was the people I met, either way, Singapore MUN 2015 is my favourite conference ever. Sure, I had to stay up later than usual(up to 2AM) to finish up my articles but that was my decision to sacrifice sleep and I knew that if I don’t do my best now, I’d regret it. I also won’t know whether I’d be able to make it to Singapore MUN again.

Photos by me and Lionel Lin, SMUN 2015 Official Photographer

Singapore Model United Nations 2015 Conference