A challenge that I often face is being in the present; my thoughts run through my head a million miles a minute and because of that I really enjoy immersive activities.
When I’m in a debate round, it is impossible for me to think about anything other than what’s going on right in front of me. This is my fifth year doing debate and I’ve loved every minute of it. A lot of people think it’s hard but honestly I’m so engulfed by it that I don’t even process the difficulty. It’s just you, your partner and your opponents dishing it out over the most current political issues and their potential but not limited to racist, biopolitical, sexist implications as well as what we can do to combat that. When you participate in higher education, it’s important to understand specific underpinnings that inform our conversations both inside and outside of the classroom, and debate is a great way to do that.
I am currently on the Parliamentary debate team at Whitman college. My coaches names are Lauran Schaefer and Baker Weilert both of whom are some of the most caring, generous, passionate people I’ve ever met. Not only have they made themselves available both as debate instructors and mentors but they’ve made my transition to college significantly easier. They give me the resources to be able to participate in discussions regarding domestic and international politics. Debate also gives me the opportunity to travel to different parts of the country, meet people from other universities with the same interest and desire to participate in politics, and make bonds that do nothing but make me feel loved, secured, and comfortable in college.
Though debate often sounds daunting to a lot of people, it gives me a space where I can explore my identity and it’s interaction with politics. Through debate I learned about the intersections I meet as a brown woman, and I’ve been able to include it in the discussion of policy making and representation in politics. This is important especially when you go to a school like Whitman because it helps you navigate space within the classroom and outside the classroom.
Debate has not only given me the skills to effectively participate in political discussions, but it has given me a community which fosters my growth and supports me. Debate is an activity in which I can fully immerse myself in conversations that develop my ability to further advocate for myself and learn about politics while also building life-long relationships that serve as driving forces for my desire to change the way women of color are represented in spaces. This activity is honestly the most rewarding part of my college career, and I’m excited for what experiences the next 4 years in debate bring me.