My Passion for Debate

The 18th century French philosopher Denis Diderot said, “Only passions, great passions can elevate the soul to great things.” Describe one of your passions and reflect on how it has contributed to your personal growth.


The great passion of my high school years has been debate. One of the reasons that I attended Damien High School in the first place was because of its reputation in competitive debate. I was thirteen years old when I began and I realized very quickly that I loved it. I loved the teamwork and I loved the intensity and excitement of the competition. I had not anticipated that what began as an elective in my freshman year would grow into an activity that would influence my future, academically and personally, so much.

The intensity of a debate round is unrivaled by any other activity I have participated in. Even the feeling of standing on the diving block at a swim meet pales in comparison to the intensity of standing behind the podium, waiting for the timer to start. Before a debate round, I am completely immersed in preparing for the arguments we will make and anticipating the arguments we will hear. When it is my turn to speak, I know the spotlight is on me. For the next five minutes all ears and eyes will be scrutinizing my every word, noting the slightest detail. All the nervous energy leaves me once the timer starts, and I speak with all the passion I have. I crave those five minutes of intensity when the words flow naturally...

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