The Extras: Thinking Beyond Your Four Walls

10671221_10152284750106249_4467924281962329043_nArjun Narayen Photography,

Hello, Brunonian family! I’m Jacklyne Vargas, nice to meet you all *insert imaginary handshakes here*! I’m here to be your compass (well, that sounds heavy, doesn’t it?) in everything extracurricular here at Brown. If you’re reading this, send help you are a magnetic force of your own and I’m simply helping you figure out what attracts you. In all The Extras, in all the magnetic forces here at Brown, you can easily be pulled in countless directions, but I’m here to help! If anything, we’ll go crazy together…

All first-years go through this unofficial rite of passage.

Our overwhelming eagerness + insatiable curiosity  = recipe for disaster

We’re smart kids, but we aren’t smart when it comes to this.


Everyone at the activities fair flashes you their pearly whites while encouraging you to sign up for more info, and there you go.. Typing away..

Consequently, you end up:

  1. With a barrage of emails in your precious inbox for clubs that you were never interested in in the first place
  2. Going crazy trying to attend dozens of club meetings that all happen to be conveniently scheduled at the same time as your classes or as your other club meetings
  3. Wishing there 16 of you to go around to delegate responsibilities to

Point is: things don’t end up going as planned surprise, surprise. You’re overwhelmed, you’re stressed, but do not give up hope! I ended up staying in virtually none of the clubs I initially wanted to be a part of.

One of the ones that I actually ended up sticking to was [drumroll please]….

Brown Model United Nations!

brown mun logoJust look at that snazzy logo, guys

Model United Nations is, for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, “an authentic simulation of the UN General Assembly, UN Security Council, or other multilateral body, which introduces students to the world of diplomacy, negotiation, and decision making,” as described by United Nations Foundation itself.

Quite simply, in these competitions, as an ambassador for a country, you tackle a world issue alongside a committee that specializes in that area in order to develop a solution to said problem.

One of the upsides to joining Brown Model UN is that they accept all newbies, with no experience required! Trust me… This is a huge weight off of your shoulders. Some clubs here at Brown are harder to get into than Brown itself!

Having done Model UN for 2 years in high school, I was quite interested in joining the MUN group here at Brown, but actually missed their first 4 meetings of the semester… I had gotten too caught up with schoolwork and other activities that I hadn’t even given MUN a chance. Needless to say, I felt quite bad.

To the point where I almost didn’t attend their 5th meeting, but I did. And I’m overjoyed in having made that decision.

Immediately, I felt at ease in an environment where no one, not even seasoned veterans in Brown MUN, intimidated newcomers by hogging up the speaking time after discussion questions, but rather encouraged newcomers to contribute their own ideas and challenged them to think critically when developing their theories.

There was no tension in the air, no ruthless competitiveness amongst the people. It really was a sigh of relief. I don’t ever want to be a part of a club that only augments my stress levels, that becomes a burden.

3 weeks after that initial meeting, I am now prepping for my first Model UN conference at Columbia University in New York, CMUNNY 9! The leadership at Brown MUN has been incredibly kind and supportive; they even served to calm my anxiety whilst I freaked out over whether I should compete so early on or not!

While I don’t know how competition will go later this week wish me luck, I feel assured that Brown MUN will continue to push my parameters. To think beyond my 4 walls, beyond Providence, beyond the United States, and think of the international community to which we’re all so closely interconnected.

For more information on Brown Model United Nations and the competitions they host, click here and here!

For more information on Model United Nations, click here!

For more information on CMUNNY, click here!

All my love,


Don’t hesitate to leave any questions, comments, frustrations, tirades, rants, chocolates, inquiries or suggestions (I’d love your input) either below or in my email,! I’m seriously excited to interact with you all… Seriously. Have a delightful day!


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