Should you join Debate?

Jair Santana

Debate is often referred to as a practice for speech and argumentation by those who want you to join. Some will tell you it helps ease insecurities and make you a great public speaker, but what do debaters think of debate?

Here in the Bulldogs Journal, we conducted a survey that demonstrates that almost half of debaters joined because they felt it would help them express themselves better. According to the survey, debate definitely improves your public speaking skills; it’s like a lion fight at the Colosseum; you’re constantly pitted against others. This “fight” puts all your public speaking skills to test: speed, coherence, and consistency.

The survey also reveals that approximately a third of debaters were most surprised about the amount of research that had to be done in debate. When starting debate, you’ll definitely spend some nights working on your case and feel like it’s pointless or tedious. Coach Arturo Féliz argues that “if anything that you’re ever gonna learn in the setting called school… matters, it’s the ability to not be manipulated, to learn the truth from lies… to be able to identify what really matters, and to do that you need to learn how to research”. Even if you really detest researching, it’s probably one of the most important skills you will ever acquire. If you’re seeking to better your researching skills, then debate is for you.

Around half of the surveyed debaters were surprised by the amount of improvisation that had to be done during debate rounds. Consequently, debate is a great way to practice your logic skills and creativity. Every round is distinct, and different things will have to be tackled differently. If you want to expand the horizons of your knowledge, definitely consider joining the debate club.

Debate fosters the same competitive and team attitude that sports have, making it similar in nature but different in execution. Debate can give you a headstart in social sciences and law-related careers, as well as allowing you to expand your knowledge on important issues and world politics. Engaging in the debate club will cost you time and it will take you a lot of effort, but as previously discussed there are great benefits to practicing debate. Not trying doesn’t really earn you anything, so you should give it a go.

Many debaters will tell you about the adrenaline rush you gain from winning a debate round. By far, the best part of debate is winning a round. The long nights you’d spent researching and building your case and the terrible days where you pondered “Are my arguments good enough? Should I change this?”, only add to the incredible sensation of outsmarting someone and beating them fairly in competition. Debate IS a zero-sum game. Whenever someone wins, another person loses. Only by being the better debater you’ll win rounds. Losing in debate shouldn’t be taken too negatively though, as it’s the most consistent way to get better at it and strengthen your arguments. Only through failure will you achieve glory.

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