ime is almost up! BBICC was coming to an end and it was almost time for all the teams to slowly wrap up their work and submit their final case. 24 hours have never gone this fast.

Being in charge of the first shift the previous day meant I wasn’t supposed to be back at the hotel until 11 am but waking up at 4 am (which was a result of falling asleep at 8 pm the previous night) meant I was back much sooner.

Even though it was 6 am once I got there, the hotel was wide awake and more alive than ever, full of people I didn’t know until a few weeks ago, but I now consider my family.

Since I wasn’t on any official duty, I had so much fun sneaking through the hotel hallways, accompanying my fellow ambassadors who were in charge of the third and final shift.

It was almost noon which marked exactly 24 hours since the big case solving started and I was back on my ambassador duty. Since the competition started, I got really close to my team, the American University of Beirut. Now I can say that Mira, Ali, Joelle and Ramzi are my friends. And I was really nervous for my Lebanese friends. Are they finished? Are they satisfied with their solution? Did they get any sleep? It was 12 pm which meant time for me to come inside their room and pick up their presentation.

This was the longest I haven’t seen my team since BBICC started and I must admit it was strange to be separated from them for such a long time.

I got welcomed by one very loud “Marina, so good to finally see you!” by who other than Ali, the greatest showman of BBICC 2018. They were all happy and more importantly, satisfied with their solution, which I never doubted. Once the team gave me their USB drive with their PowerPoint presentation, I had to make sure it gets safely delivered to a certain place as soon as possible. After we made sure everything is fine and working properly, it was time for the team to relax, but not for too long. Final presentations are the following day!

Since nobody from the team got any sleep in the last 24+ hours, they decided to stay in their rooms for the rest of the day, get some sleep and prepare for tomorrow, as most of the other teams did as well. Since they were not allowed to be in touch with their advisor until they finish presenting their solution, I was in charge of letting Mr. Hagop, their advisor, know that they are okay and there is nothing to worry about. He was thrilled to hear they seemed satisfied and happy with their solution. I must admit I was very surprised to see someone genuinely care so much about his students, as if they were his children.

Mr. Hagop, my team’s advisor, was not only interested in how case cracking went but also if they slept at all, if they ate well, etc. He was later announced The Best Advisor of BBICC 2018, which was a title well deserved.

Most teams were fast asleep shortly after submitting their cases, which meant we, the ambassadors, had some free time. And of course, nobody left the hotel! We spent that afternoon hanging out in the lobby and our beloved Brain Box, talking for hours about what an amazing experience this has been and reflecting on everything that the past week had brought us. Before starting this BBICC journey, everybody who had already been a part of it in the previous years talked about what a life-changing experience it is. And once I’ve experienced it for myself, I can only confirm it.
For me, this has been the week I slept the least but felt the most energized, the week I spent laughing and the week I learned something new every single day, the week I met some of the most brilliant people from all over the world and most importantly, the week that introduced me to some of my closest friends without whom I cannot imagine my life today.

If you cannot imagine being the happiest you’ve ever been for 24 hours, 7 days straight, then you must experience BBICC.