Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Learning from the Best

Two days in a row, I was able to experience the art of debate in two different perspectives.  On Monday, I was in a debate, and I was forced to think on my feet, analyze my opponents arguments, and deliver out a clear, concise, and informed speech based on the little preparation that I had.  Yesterday, I was able to take a step back and analyze how my fellow students debate.  It was as if time slowed down and I was able to catch aspects of the debate that I couldn't see while I was in the heat of battle.  Today, the Debate and Rhetoric class was in for a real treat.  The one and only item on the agenda was to watch a debate from the 2011 United States semi-finals, where some of the best, young debaters in the country clashed in an effort to advance to the Finals.

In short, the debate was fantastic.  In long, the debate was a great way to learn from the best.  The motion was "This house believes that organized religion should be banned."  It is important to note that this was not a debate based around whether or not God is real, but rather if organized religion was benefiting or harming the world.  The debate was about an hour long, but after each speech, the class would analyze a speaker's arguments and come to a conclusion as to whether or not they were effective in presenting their case.  I was impressed with how these students were able to present their arguments in such a tremendous fashion with such a little amount of pre-time.  Nearly all, if not all, of the speakers hit and went over the time limit they were presented, an attribute of my debating repertoire that was particularly weak.  Needless to say, I was impressed with each and every speaker, although, by the end, my attention started to wane from hunger and a lack of caffeine.
The 2011 Collegiate Semi-Final

When class concluded, I headed back to my dorm, took a rejuvenating nap for about an hour, then got to work on my Negative Constructive assignment.  I worked on the assignment for about an hour before class started and I continued to work on the assignment following the end of the session.  I was able to get a majority of the work done, meaning tomorrow will most likely be a day where I proofread my paper and add or subtract arguments.

At 6:20, the cohort met up in front of Collegetown Bagels and headed to Saigon Kitchen, a pho restaurant in Ithaca.  On the door of the restaurant, there were Yelp and Trip Advisor stickers, so I knew that the place had to be pretty good and sure enough, it was excellent.  I ordered the House Special Pho, which consisted of the Vietnamese noodles, steak, brisket, tendon, and meatballs.  And, of course, I made sure to add Sriracha and Oyster sauce.  The meal was excellent and a great way to combat the somewhat cold, Bay Area-esque weather.  At the conclusion of the meal, the group was dropped off at RPCC and we headed our separate ways.  Once back at my building, I studied a little bit with classmates Sam, Andy, and Deena, then worked on my Negative Constructive assignment until the conclusion of the night.  

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