“Your friends are winning in competitions around the world, but why not you?” My homeroom teacher said this to me on the first day of senior high. At that moment, I felt embarrassment and anger. I wanted to prove him wrong, I wanted to show him that I could be a winner as well.
And so I joined WSC.
2016 me did not know what I was getting into when I first stepped foot into the alpaca-filled hall of my first regional round in Penang. All I knew was, “I have to win something”. I remember experiencing my first debate, panicking over the Challenge (as most scholars do), and adopting my first ever alpaca. Then it dawned on me during the closing ceremony, that winning is not about how many medals you get, it is the experiences throughout the rounds, the people you meet, and the memories you’ll take home. I was hooked. And thus began my journey with WSC.
WSC instilled a passion for learning in me. One moment I was researching epidemics and neuroscience, and next thing you know, I’m running around the school corridor rapping to the lyrics of Alexander Hamilton (which foreshadowed my current pursuit in musical theatre). The program exposed me to so many subject areas and topics that weren’t taught in school. Eventually, I just felt the need to know about things, not just memorizing textbooks, I wanted to learn more.
Through this program, I was not only studying, but forming friendships with scholars from all across the world (that I still keep in contact with till this day). No round is the same, and there’s no experience deemed “too crazy”. Some of the memorable moments I had includes hugging trees in Hanoi, high fiving five guys in Five Guys, my first interaction with snow and Painted Warrior in ToC, and having frozen pizza in the middle of a Havana vigil, and so much more. It was all about being in the moment and in that moment, it was genuine happiness spread throughout this community.
After being a scholar, I volunteered in local rounds to give the same experience I had back to the community. I still smile while remembering how new scholars gleam at the sight of multicolored alpacas, and seasoned scholars grimacing at the first chord of Havana. I see my past self in them, and it gives me joy knowing that the community will keep on growing, and how we all belong in this alpaca-loving family together.
As waves of nostalgia crash while writing this in college, I just want to say a huge thank you to the program, to Daniel, and the staffs, and the WSC community for giving me the adventure of a lifetime. I would give anything to experience the whole program again if I could.
Thanks for the memories, thanks for everything and thanks for making me who I am today. Love y’all, peace out. <3
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