The Pursuit for Debate

Stanford students possess an intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development.


It was the start of something new. There I was, a freshman bouncing on the beanbags in the debate room, ready to embark on a new journey called Extemporaneous Speaking. I decided to try this event defined by its rapid-fire intensity to prepare and memorize a seven-minute speech in thirty minutes.

Yet, this optimism crumbled as I opened the school's evidence Dropbox at my first tournament. Harker Extemp: 3.2 MB, 10 files. With this minute evidence pool, I walked into the speaking room and attempted to emulate a professional politician, haphazardly piecing together strings of random phrases. Unsurprisingly, I finished my almost comedic performance embarrassed and flustered. But I saw a vision of what I could become. With encyclopedic knowledge, I would analyze the geopolitical relationships between Japan, Afghanistan, and Malaysia or predict the direction of Bulgaria's economy. I would leave the audience perplexed, enlightened, and in awe of the workings of the world, even for seven minutes.

It's that surging desire to conquer knowledge that drove me to unravel the complexity of the world on a deeper level. My journey swept me across Paul Krugman's economic theories to present-day adaptations of revolutionist political...

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