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A student blog post from EYP in Austria 2019
The chairperson announces the final vote and proceeds to wrap up the debates for the day. People get up, speaking quietly about what just happened on their way out. I am still sitting, in shock. I look around and find that everyone in my committee is doing the same. We slowly get up and the tears we were fighting back are now coming. We sob like children all the way to the next venue. Although we are inconsolable we wipe our tears away to keep up appearances during dinner.
To create a better understanding to this very emotional response I should probably start from the beginning. During my second year at IEGS I got an email inviting me to try outs for the school’s EYP team. What was EYP? It stood for the European Youth Parliament, which did not tell me much. A debate team of some sort. Sure, I was interested. There was only one problem, the email was sent out a week ago and the tryouts were that day. I managed to reschedule some things and was still welcome. Against all odds I was chosen from the try outs as one of the four people to represent the school in competitions. The pressure was on.
First came regionals; a weekend spent competing against other schools in Stockholm in our very own school. We learned the basics: get assigned a committee and an issue, come up with a solution together and defend it during debates. Our school delegation was very active and good at attacking mistakes with other peoples’ solutions in the debates. The only weird thing was coming back to school the next day and have class in the same room we had stayed up all night in writing speeches.
The news that we had made it to nationals came soon after and delighted us. Now came the real challenge. Half a year later we traveled to Malmö with the teacher Mr Walker, who supports EYP in our school. This time the session was five days, the topics were more complex and a lot more was expected of us, but that did not stop the fun. We dressed up in togas (using sheets from the hotel) and served Greek food in our first Euroville, we met people from other places in Europe and got to meet experts on our committee topics as well as important politicians. After the session was over we felt proud but had to anxiously wait several months for the decision. Nevertheless, when it came, we were over the moon - we were going to go to Austria for the first ever international forum there.
The session took place the next school year and was nine days long. We got to discover the remote villages of Styria with people from all over Europe. We had two and a half whole days dedicated to team building in our committees, the same time for writing a solution, two for debates and one for experiencing culture in the region. It is almost indescribable how the strangers I met on the first day turned into really close friends. We worked senselessly hard, both day and night, and had so much fun while doing it. We produced a controversial resolution that we were proud of. And yet, after the final votes were counted, it did not pass. All the sessions before this one, all the hard work, all the memories made had all led up to this moment. It felt as if we had failed, like nothing had been worth it.
After dinner we broke down crying again, so our group leader decided to gather us outside. We stood there hugging in a circle for half an hour, talking about how we felt and what the week had meant to us. The major reason it had not passed was its controversiality, which absolutely did not mean that we had worked less than the other committees. He told us that the world was not ready for our solution just yet, but reassured us that it would pass in 10 years when we are working for the real European Parliament. We laughed through the tears and went back inside where we danced the night away. The next day several other committees’ resolutions were debated, and this time they were the ones being put on emotional roller coasters.
Of course it had been worth it. The incredible amount of knowledge, experiences and friends I have gained speak to this. And this is just from my point of view, every single one of those 150 delegates has also gained these things and have incredible stories to tell. Coming to try outs was one of the best decisions I have ever made and if I could I would do it all again. The first and second year students will have a chance to get selected through tryouts Monday and Tuesday week 43.
/Signe Johansson, ES3F