Monday, June 29, 2015

Policy Debate (Re)Introduction

The second week of Cornell Summer College has just started. Today in class, our TA Austin introduced the why and how of Policy debate. In the summer before 9th grade, I took a debate camp where I took part in policy debate, so I wasn't completely out of the loop on the subject, but it was good to go over it for sure. Austin explained the format, as well as what each speaker tried to do.

Policy debate is different from World Schools because participants only have one debate topic for the entire year. They research and come up with hundreds of pages of information, and can alter and change their arguments from debate to debate. Because these debaters have hundreds of pages of information, and only 9 minutes in their opening speech to present it, they have a nifty speaking skill known as spreading. Spreading is a spastic, fast, reading and speaking skill where debaters just pour out all their information in between loud, ugly gasps of air. I may sound critical and judgmental of the technique, but it is a skill I don't have and I'm impressed with those who can spread well. It's not pretty sounding or looking, but it gets the job done in policy debate.

Our project that is due next Monday is to write a full affirmative policy case on the resolution that the United States should legalize all or nearly all of one or more of the following: marihuana (spelled like that on purpose), prostitution, online gambling, the sale of human organs, physician assisted suicide. My affirmative case is going to be for legalizing marihuana because there is a lot of information out there that I can hopefully use.

After our policy debate introduction, Rodney took us all to see an exhibit of brains preserved in the building next door. They were of smart people, as well as a murderer, and they were originally used in the early study of brains to try and figure out what made people smart, such as the size of their brain. The murderer's was the largest brain, so just because you have a big brain doesn't mean you're going to be the best person in society...
Working in a dorm room
I really like my debate class because it's one thing to think logically and identify logical arguments and formulate your own opinions, but we're actually learning diagrams and ways to break down arguments to prove whether they are logical or not. I've never really thought it was possible to prove your logic, but there are actual ways to do so. 

When class finished, Justice, Thao, and I went to the Cornell Store to buy sweatshirts to bring home. A group photo will be taken Wednesday with all the Cornell students with their swag. 

Once we all returned to the dorms, Thao and I grabbed our laptops and went to Reese's room to blog and do homework. The dorm rooms aren't that large, and there were six of us in one room so it was a bit cramped. It wasn't too bad though, and everyone likes talking to each other and hanging out. All the people I've met at Cornell so far have been friendly and intelligent in their thoughts and words. No one hears curse words shouted out across hallways, which is different from my high school experience. It's a really nice atmosphere that has me looking forward to college, where everyone wants to be there and they want to learn and have fun as well.  


  1. Maybe it’s my eyesight but where exactly is that “working” going on in that photo?