Kathrine Williams

At first, I was reluctant to apply for the trip to the United Nations in Geneva. I was an external student and therefore still very ‘new’ to Stroud High. I only had a few friends and was worried about going on a somewhat lengthy trip with people I still didn’t know. However, I applied and was accepted onto this life-changing trip and I have become closer with my best friend and become friends with all the other students on the trip, that I would not have otherwise spoken to.

Again, I had countless doubts about whether or not I was ‘worthy’ enough to go on such a trip like this. I considered myself to come from a relatively rough school in comparison to my new environment at Stroud High. Opportunities had to be begged for and were rare. I didn’t think that I could pull off sophisticated language and interaction or act formal or adult enough to be in such an important environment. I thought there was no way I could fit in. I was very much mistaken by this upon my arrival at the UN. I felt so powerful and confident to be able to say that, from the school I went to for Secondary School, I can be formal, sophisticated, respectable and proud. I cannot express how grateful I am to have gone on this trip.

Self pride is something I could never really get my head around. I was regularly restricted and limited to what I could do and where I could aim to go and I was never satisfied with what I achieved. I had always been confined to restrict myself. Although, having been on this trip, I have become so enlightened. I am powerful, I can make a difference, I can help others and I can achieve and aim higher, I can be validated in myself and I can explore everything above and beyond my own comprehension.

This is something that I want to bring back to all the people around me in my community. I wish I had this confidence earlier in my life. Never have I ever realised how successful I am and can be or how grateful I should be. I have learnt so much about the world and people’s lives that are complete alternatives to mine that I cannot even begin to reiterate.

Networking. Let’s just say, I got progressively better at it. I felt like I could talk to almost anybody – but I am extremely reserved. I cannot stress enough how much I hated networking at the beginning. I understood the importance and its worth… I just couldn’t do it; I didn’t know how. After receiving advice from our leaders and the other youth delegates, I realised I just needed to relax and truly believe I was valued and worthy to be in their presence. I could not have done that with Serene. Long story short: I can now confidently communicate with all types of people. I have met a broad range incredible people and I now have connections with so many, I cannot begin to describe how insane it is to me that I met so many crucially important people. Not only has networking helped me learn to come out of my bubble. Regarding my hope for a future career in Law, I have so many contacts that can give me advice and opportunities.

Moreover, I have had long-term issues with my mental health and as a result have felt so unmotivated and cautious. Going to the UN made me realise that it is okay not to be okay all the time, but, I should be so, so, so grateful for everything that I have, had and will have. During my time there, I realised I just simply didn’t have the time to feel lousy or sorry for myself. Nothing can describe how thankful I am for this. Though I still have my problems, I know now that I can manage myself effectively and in a healthy way. I could not have made this personal progress without being a Youth Delegate with NAWO organised by Serene..
I will never forget this trip and all that it has taught me. Without it, I would not be at all confident, I would not be able to talk to strangers on my own, I would not be brave enough to aim for higher careers and statuses.

Thank you so much for this opportunity!