At the start of the semester, everything was very new and nerve-wracking. Adjusting to a new life was a lot harder than I had imagined. College was a bit unsettling at the time, so adding a public speaking class to all the hustle and bustle did not sound very appealing. Speaking in front of groups is really not my forte, so I was anxious to see what COM267L- Intro to Debate-was all about.
Half of the LAS cohort met on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s at 9:30AM to discuss the art of rhetoric, proper debate format, and how to think critically. We related our discussion to the times of Aristotle and his methods of persuasion: ethos, pathos, logos.
Professor Cory Anthony Hillman presented information very well, as the topics were clearly outlined with PowerPoint slides to help. If there was any confusion, we could refer to the book Argumentation by James A. Herrick that provided many examples and good writing.
We put all of our new knowledge to the test in real, physical debates. In all, we had three debates (one being a practice round). Each debate followed a different format, but had only slight differences between the two. Both the affirmative and negative side had to withstand a cross-examination, which made us all sweat a tiny bit (or a lotta bit)
Topics of discussion included animal testing, free college tuition, a coffee drinking age, and more. Despite learning debate methods and the art of persuasion, gaining knowledge of relevant topics was another plus to this class. I got a thrill of knowing a topic inside and out, and being able to provide a strong argument.
My wonderful debate partner, Stephanie Buckholz, and I prepared our arguments against Kendall Schrauben and Maddie Karcher. Nerves were high during the first debate; honestly, I expected to choke at the podium. Although I was nervous for each debate, I can say that this class has really improved my public speaking skills – I feel much more confident in front of a group of people. All it takes is a little confidence, being fully prepared, and getting inside the mind of my opponent. The rest will easily fall into place.