Top Two Challenges of Being a Freshman in Debate (and How to Overcome Them)

By: Aaryana Sethi

  1.              Preparation vs. Experience

As a freshman, everyone has more experience than me. Wherever, I turn, I see someone that has been debating for much longer than I have. There are the seniors, the juniors, and the sophomores; all the people that’ve been part of a community for years, and I’ve just entered it. So how should I make up for the experiential difference while debating a senior? One word: preparation. Before every tournament, I put in hours and hours of research, writing, timing, and rehearsing. It may sound like a great deal of pointlessly wasted time; however, let me assure you that it’s quite worth it, and has helped me quite a bit. Win or lose, I feel great at the end of every round. I know for a fact that I’ve put in my absolute best, and used the epitome of what my debate skills have to offer.

  1.            Determination vs. Skill

Another challenge facing a novice debater is skill. All of the aforementioned experienced upperclassmen have a much more polished skill set than the new freshman that has just stepped into the Saturday-Morning-World that is a debate tournament. Yet, there’s a way to overcome and overlook the skill barrier. The power of sheer determination is an underestimated one. When I enter the room to see my opponent is a 6-foot tall senior, I know that she or he probably has the upper-hand in the matter of skill. However, I don’t need to have as much skill as my opponent to have more determination than her or him. I know that if I really want to, I can do anything at all. Determination will never lead you down the wrong road, and neither will preparation!

Debate as a freshman may sound like a whole lot of work, but it’s definitely worth it. I know that I, for one, am learning valuable life skills as well as those that I need for debate. We debate not for winning records, but for life!

Whatever else interests you about this article, always remember: You Kant go wrong once you’ve Sartred debate!