Vanika Mahesh and Arihant Singhai, Grade 9, Dover Campus
The UWCSEA Dover Debate team spent the weekend of March 10-12 at Nanyang Technological University, amongst top speakers from universities and High Schools across Singapore, debating a variety of motions, from the impact of Emma Watson’s Vanity Fair photo shoot on the feminist movement to the refugee crisis in the EU. Round after exhausting round, tensions grew until we were virtually at each other’s throats. Though with two teams in the novice category pre-semi break, and one progressing into the semi-finals, all tired but satisfied and a little bit proud, we came to school Monday, that little bit more experienced. NTUDC was an undoubtedly enriching experience for all involved, and by exceeding personal expectations, the team can move into upcoming competitions with our heads held high.
With the recent flurry of tournaments, most notably SSDC, weekends like this have almost become routine. We have spent almost 10 hours a week training and countless more writing cases at home just to prepare for competitions and I can honestly say that my passion and love for debate has only grown. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t had my fair share of nervous breakdowns and messy tears, particularly the sleepless nights before big competitions but ultimately, debate has shaped me in more ways than I can count, both as a person and a student.
The first and foremost skill I realized we had to learn, upon joining the debate team among several nervous middle schoolers, was how to compose myself, irrespective of whether I was confident in my knowledge or even understood nothing about a motion. How to walk up to the stand, stressed out and anxious with a blank piece of paper, stare into the eyes of a judge and convincingly deliver a six minute speech. How to construct arguments on the spot which develop and morph into a combination of logic and reasoning, rebuttal, and contention, a meticulously balanced demonstration of style, content, and strategy.
But debate’s impact upon me exists on a significantly broader level. What debate has instilled within me is an inherent work ethic, a new-found passion and enthusiasm about anything I apply myself to, and a significantly greater knowledge about the world around me. One day I am sure I will look back upon the taxing case-writing process and the countless, immensely trying speeches and see precisely how debate has shaped my thinking, my learning and ultimately myself as a human being.
And for all these reasons, we are so very proud to be a part of UWCSEA Dover Debate team!