What you can gain from participating in a Debate Tournament?
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What you can gain from participating in a Debate Tournament?

Last year I participated in the NHSDLC American Debate Regional Tournament in Guangzhou with seven schoolmates as representatives of the debate league of Huamei-Bond International College. Although we did not encounter significant obstacles during the preparation, every single one of us spent huge endeavor on it. For example, we spent nearly every noon for an entire hour on brainstorming and writing arguments for two weeks. Even though there were often disagreements, we deal with them by negotiating and trying to reach a consensus. During this process, we learned abundant amount of knowledge.

As a member of the team, I would like to share some of my experiences.If you ask me what is the biggest gain of the tournament, the first word comes to my mind is absolutely “cooperation”. Usually, there are two kinds of people who can't cooperate: the first one is the so-called "free riders”, who does nothing except waiting for the efforts of others; the second one is those who only do things by themselves and put everything on their own. I used to be the latter. I once had a misconception. I felt that by working alone I could maximize the efficiency of doing things: I can write a whole Case within two hours, but I don't know that one's point of view is inevitably not comprehensive. Even if the arguments are abundant and the logic is meticulous, there will always be inadequacies. Therefore, only through communicating and collaboration with teammates, the ideas could be perfected.

The second point I learned was "tolerance." Although it seems a bit far-fetched in the "preparation" scenario, tolerance within the group is indeed an important prerequisite for the team to cooperate efficiently. You may sometimes feel that your teammates' ability is zero, or you may feel that you are not in line with your teammates. Hence, the quarrels will inescapably occur. Taking myself as an example, I have spent six hours on discussing debate with my partner at weekend but I felt like I have spent six hours arguing with him. (No exaggeration) At this time, if there is no tolerance, cooperation will automatically fail.

Of course, these gains are just the corners of the glacier. Although two weeks of debating preparation seems fairly academic, it offer me benefits not only on studying. There are plenty beautiful memories too. The experience of looking for evidence in nearly one hundred pages of information gave us the academic ability of doing research; the construction of warrant and impact  trained my logic; the confrontation when debating with others during the tournament reflected my confidence. In addition, I gained unforgotten friendships. During these two weeks, I’ve been through a lot. I’ve once felt desperate, hopeless, and despairing. But with their companionship, I finally set foot on the stage with hope. I remember the dinner that we had on the night before the tournament and the simulations after the dinner. We were all so warm and caring. During this time, I felt the sense of belonging. Really. This is not just a tournament or a club. This is the collision of ideas. This is my belonging.

During the tournament, we have experienced so much: the fierceness of the battles, the sense of discouragement while being disputed, and the feelings of achievements. However, what appealed me the most is still the brilliant of exchanging ideas. After six rounds of debates, my teammate and I finally reached the quarter final and earned the second place for our school.

I personally have participated in many other academic activities, but American Debate is still the most meaningful from my perspective. It allows me to dig into the problems deeper and think comprehensively. It also enables me to build up my contentions step by step. I have experienced being beaten till speechless in the crossfire, but also underwent to question others’ ideas - debate allows me to express my thoughts and grow maturer.

After a few days of exhausted but enjoying time, I found myself in love with debate.

Written by: Vikki Tang S2C1

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