Tori

Before I entered the program, I was keeping busy, trying to make the best of my junior year summer as possible. I kept active by swimming competitively, visiting potential colleges and tutoring elementary school children.

The MMSY program was a heightening experience for me. I had already been somewhat educated about the international and national obstacles that we face today. Thanks to my school and outside activities, I was not blindsided during the conferences and de-briefings. Sitting in on the youth assembly conferences, visiting the tolerance center, going to all the sacred places definitely painted a much brighter, clearer picture in my head of all the difficulties the society is confronted with. Out of the MDGS, I learned the most about education. Through the MMSY program, I became a connoisseur of education and the lack of education in underdeveloped countries. More and more, I began to recognize the deficit of guidance within the youth and the younger generation.

I think that the biggest lesson of all lies within myself. Growing up in NYC, going to one of the most prestigious private schools in the country, I have developed the "New York Hustle." I am not afraid to be loud, bold, and intelligent and yet stupid at the same time. But most of all, I am not afraid to be heard. Most of my friends are similar to me because I believe in surrounding myself with a positive energy in order to build myself stronger. However, while constantly striving to be "bold and beautiful" (as Princess Diana always preached), I failed to see the other side. Being put in a group of fifteen for two weeks forces one to interact with the students and "fit in." During the two weeks, I met some extremely shy people who taught me about listening in and sitting back for a change. They taught me that sometimes, being quiet and absorbing the material is more resourceful than constantly asking question and being active. Most of all, I learned that I should not shut out the quiet and reticent people in my community, but rather, accept them for exactly who they are because they are equally intelligent as everybody else.

The lesson the MMSY program wanted us to learn the most was tolerance. I believe that I learned to "tolerate" the people who are exactly the opposite of me. I will not shut out or prejudge anybody before getting to know their personalities and backgrounds. I will refrain from using hurtful "slang" and slurs that I have never recognized before. And most of all, like many of the important and amazing people I encountered in the MMSY program, as well as the Youth Assembly, I will become more engaged and active in my community in order to pass on my knowledge.