For our LAS scholarship, we are required to take COM 267L (Introduction to Debate). Taking a debate class sounded absolutely terrifying to me, as I hated public speaking, but it wasn’t as bad as I had expected it to be.
Our 2016 cohort was split into two classes: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:30 and at 12:30. I was placed in the 9:30 class. In our class, we were put into debate “groups”and were required to argue with/against those students for the semester. In my group, I had the pleasure of working with Lucas Gustafson, Mary Miller, Jacob Sova, and Megan Bird. Professor Cory Hillman (otherwise known as Dr. Professor Cory Anthony Hillman) presented information about Aristotle and gave us information that included learning about ethos, pathos, logos, and other topics. We then had a few practice debates and two formal, graded debates. My groups first argument (the Parliamentary Debate) was, “Should Performance Enhancing Drugs/Drug Enhancers Be Used in Professional Sports?” I was placed on the side that had to argue that performance enhancing drugs should be used in professional sports, and it was really hard because it wasn’t something I was passionate about. Our second debate (the Lincoln-Douglas Debate) was, “Should All Schools Be Year Round?” I had to argue that all schools should not be year round, and it was a tad bit easier for me because that I what I truly believe.
Now What? Although I had some nights where I would sit on my laptop and stress about whether or not my debate was going to go well the next morning, I did like the class. This course taught me that public speaking isn’t so bad- especially when you’re passionate about the topic you’re speaking about. I am excited to use the public speaking skills that I learned in other classes when giving presentations over the course of my college career. I can also apply skills like note-taking and heavy listening to my future courses.