Last year, I looked forward to entering university and trying out new things: dodgy sun-tan orange isaw, winding routes to the Math building, and racing from one end of campus to the other. I was fairly certain that my high school interests (i.e. obsessions with Canadian paper and arguing with boys) were going to remain firmly in the land of yellow gingham. "Yeah," I told my fellow IDEA baby, "Debate and I are on a break." And so we were. I went my way (damn you, Math 17) and left debate to the hands of the experts (I'm talking about you, Nicolo Cabrera and Claudia Poon).
Then a few months later, the withdrawal pains kicked in. I lovingly remembered the matter-cramming sessions, the laughs over made-up words uttered during a heated speech, and even the sense of disappointment after a particularly bad debate. Despair after drawing OG for the ninth straight round, smug amusement when an opposing team finds itself boxed out (it's called karma, boys), and heady relief of making it past the break-- all these are feelings I acutely missed. So I took the chance of applying to UPDS, even though I was (or rather, am) afraid of not being decent enough for college-level debate. In a matter of a year I was back at Econ, hoping to be accepted to the only community I ever felt at home with.
It's tough, finishing a ton of tambay debates and playing eenie-meenie-minie-moe on matter exams, but I want to say it's worth it. I certainly hope that the hours of making bola and humiliation for the sake of learning will pay off and I get into UPDS. But I have a feeling that if I don't, it wouldn't hurt too much. I made friends, which I totally am glad about since I have always been intimidated by the thought of forging social relationships, and I learned slang (at last! Aw aw!). I found fellow football fans (Victoria Concordia Crescit), television geeks (Love Sylar), and trippy food fans (ramyun is best served hot). I discovered people are funny and interesting because they don't care about being too loud or too normal. Weird is good. Debate is good.
The application process is not as impossible as some people think. It certainly isn't a frat. Not when those expert jugglers in MAC have got all bases covered. If there was a television series about the travails and triumphs of MAC members (Eureka! New reality show idea!) the theme song would be Ain't No Mountain High Enough by Diana Ross. Incidentally she's got the va-va-voom style MAC has.
If you need me, call me/No matter where you are, no matter how far/Just call my name/I'll be there in a hurry/On that you can depend and never worry.But if there has to be one thing the UPDS application process needs to have for future debaters-to-be, it would be adjudication sessions where applicants can actually listen to the discussion among members adjudicating. I really think that would have helped me understand adjudicating more. Or maybe it's just me. I'm rotten at it.
Whenever I start talking about debate my little brother covers his ears and goes lalalalalalala in a high-pitched panicky voice. Such is the manner in which debate has once again taken over my life. Articles torn from TIME and pamphlets from the World Bank are strewn all over my bedroom floor. I have to dodge the stacks of matterloaded books in order to get to my clothes. I can't go to sleep without hearing George Alagiah on the evening news, nor can I leave the house without reading the ticker on BBC World. My habit of building cases for newspaper headlines has returned, slowly but surely. Debate has wriggled its way into my heart, but I'm not sorry about it.
BJ is a rainbow lollipop
Once he starts he can't stop
He's got the looks; he's got the heart
BJ is so very smart!
He's here and there
Too cool for school
BJ, you rule!