Me and the Podium

December 12, 2012
Public speaking has always come easily to me, without the stuttering and nerves that affect most people. It segued into joining the debate club freshman year, an extracurricular that I have come to love more than any other. Over time, I became synchronized with the rhythm of debate tournaments; I memorized the length of each speech, learned how to ask unanswerable questions, and conclude a round so that no judge would ever vote against me. Unlike most, the daunting image of a podium relaxes me, and when standing behind one, I feel most like myself.
When my hands slightly tremble as I hold my speech, I don’t think of how much the other team wants me to crumble. I try to block out the sound of my opponent clicking his pen, a distraction that is far understated in the debate world. Instead, I picture my partners face when we went to the State finals sophomore year. I envision the applause of the audience at the awards ceremony, showing excitement and jealousy at the same time.

High school debate has taught me many unusual things. For one, I can gladly say that I can go up and down stairs in high heels. I can transcribe what people are saying faster than anyone else, and it’s still legible. I have developed the conversation skills to talk to my opponents with an open mind, and end the debating when we walk out of the room. After four years, I don’t judge people who talk to walls because they might just be practicing for an upcoming Storytelling oration. Instead of brushing past people who talk to themselves, I have learned to listen, because maybe, just maybe, they are incredible speakers.

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