By Elena and Lily
In high school, a big question many kids are faced with is what extracurriculars you should occupy your time with. If you’ve followed our blog for some time, you should know that we are both debaters, so we wanted to take a moment and give you some reasons why debate might be a good activity for you.
Debate opens up a lot of unique opportunities that many teens don’t necessarily realise. Yes, it looks good on college applications, and yes, it does present an extra opportunity to get into the yearbook, but debate also gives you opportunities to travel and make valuable connections across the country.
Being involved in debate, and being good at it too, looks really good on college applications. Colleges know that it takes a lot of hard work to be one of the best, especially in debate where your success has a simple equation: your intelligence plus the work you put in.
Debate more so than any other activity relies on the work you put in. Everyone else in debate is also smart, so the work you put in really makes or breaks how good of a debater you are. This is something colleges know, so being good at debate will make you look like a hard worker who enjoys a challenge.
For every team or activity you join in, it (usually) gives you another chance to be in the yearbook. We know this isn’t necessarily the biggest issue on your mind, but you’ll be seen on a page among some of the brightest minds of your school.
Debate isn’t for the feebleminded, and if your future children decide to look through the yearbook, they’ll be impressed. This is an opportunity for you to prove yourself, and an extra picture in the yearbook will make the money you spent on that book a little bit more worthwhile.
A lot of debate teams give you opportunities to travel. To make it to the Tournament of Champions (TOC) you likely have to travel a little bit, and to go to the TOC or NSDA Nationals, you will have to go to the location of the tournament to compete.
Yes, this year this opportunity won’t be as prevalent, due to many tournaments moving online, but if you join debate this year, you will learn skills that will help you when you can once again travel to tournaments.
Last year, both of us had the opportunity to go to Iowa and Minneapolis (Elena actually went to Minneapolis twice), and had the pandemic not happened, almost our entire team would’ve had the opportunity to go to New Mexico.
Should you become a very successful debater, you could potentially also join the national team, and then you would also have opportunities to travel outside of the country.
Debate will allow you to make friends outside of your school, outside of your town, and even outside of your state.
Due to the nature of debate, you will likely make friendships with your competitors. We’ve seen some of the strongest friendships come out of debate rounds. Even if you don’t make a strong friendship, you will still get to meet some very interesting and amazing individuals that you otherwise would never be able to know.
For the majority of your rounds, you and your opponent will likely talk a little bit before and/or after your rounds, or you might talk to the judge. Either way, you’re making valuable connections that will help you in the future, and change your viewpoint.
If you need help with your homework, you could join debate, make a couple of friends, and have a pretty strong group of tutors that know how to break down difficult topics for people to easily understand. They have to.
By joining debate, you have the opportunity to have people around you that’ll be able to help you with your classes and help you get through them.
Even better, debate will teach you how to make valuable connections that you can use to better understand your homework, and make those connections on your own without help.
Debate also gives you a unique opportunity in a lot of your classes. You can use what you learn in debate in your classes. You can write essays using information you’ve learned from debate, and you can wow your teachers and classmates with your understanding of such complex ideas that are often presented in debate.
Overall, the quality of your work will increase, and by joining debate, you’ll probably be able to get better grades.
Debate teaches you so much. From learning about a certain topic in depth to communication skills, you will learn something when you join debate.
Depending on the event you do, you might have a lot of topics every year, or you might not have as many. If you do an event that requires you to research a few topics, you won’t get as deep of an understanding, but you’ll learn a lot about a few different topics.
On the other hand, if you choose an event that has less topics, you’ll get the chance to dive deep into topics, and learn a lot about an area of expertise.
Especially in Lincoln Douglas and in Policy, you’ll also have the opportunity to learn a lot about philosophy, whether it’s by reading the literature yourself or learning through your teammates and the rounds you have. These events especially tend to think out of the box, which can teach you a lot.
Furthermore, you’ll also learn a lot of life skills and lessons in debate. You’ll learn the ability to get your point across effectively, and how your methods might change with different people.
From debate, I’ve been able to find my voice. Thanks to the activity, I’ve really realised more about myself, such as my interest in philosophy, and that I do have a voice.
Debate has helped me build my confidence. It’s really helped me find myself, in a sense. It’s also provided me with a really strong group of friends, who I’ve been able to get close to largely because of debate.
I also like the challenge that debate brings. It is a challenging thing to do every weekend, and it can be a lot of work, but what you put into it is what you get out of it, which is something I enjoy. There’s always something you can do, and it’s an activity that relies more on the work you put in than anything else. As someone who loves to work hard, this is something that’s really appealing to me, though it can be something you do more recreationally than competitively.
Debate has given me a lot, its given me a great group of friends, a place to have fun, to learn, to build me confidence.
But, most of all it has given me a place to talk and learn about things that we never get to learn about in school. To read cases about feminism and my identity and talk about oppressive systems in the school system that would never be even talked about otherwise is something that really makes me enjoy the activity. These things are important to me, and I’m now getting to a place in my debate career where I can comfortably read and write the cases I want.
Debate has given me a second family, a great community, new ideas, and new experiences. Debate has endless benefits you can’t get anywhere else and it’s definitely worth joining.
Debate is definitely an activity we encourage you to at least try! Thank you so much for reading this article today, and if you enjoyed it, please leave a like, follow us, and leave a comment! If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask us, we’ll be more than happy to respond. For more content from us, follow our social media pages and become a patron on patreon. All of that will be linked down below! As always, keep on overachieving, and stay safe this school year!