If you're on your college's forensics (aka speech and debate) team, you know that what most people fear the most, we do for fun. Believe it or not, public speaking is fun to us.
1. THAT judge.
There's always that ONE judge that nobody wants to get for a round. They always score you low, and their criticism is not constructive. Instead, their criticism is harsh. While every other judge gives you a 1 and 97 speaking points, that ONE judge gives you a 5 and 75 speaking points.
2. You talk to walls or yourself.
It's normal to talk to either yourself to speak to walls at tournaments. It takes a lot of practice to memorize your intro or your speech, and you have to make sure you have it down pat before your round. Literally nobody judges you for talking to walls. It might be the only environment where you're not judged for doing so.
3. You make lifelong friends from other schools.
At the end of every tournament season, you get sad because you're not going to see the other schools for 3 whole months. When fall rolls around, you get excited to see them again!
4. It's a relief when good people graduate.
Nothing beats the feeling when the good competitors that always place graduate and you finally get your turn to place! You miss them, but it's about time you get recognition.
5. Debate topics can be ridiculous.
I'm not even joking when I say one of the topics for a debate was "BIRT: Pumpkin Spice is overhyped." Another ridiculous one for quote round was "Fuddy duddy." Again, not joking.
6. You have to explain to people that it's not THAT kind of forensics.
No, we don't examine dead bodies. Although OUR bodies are pretty much dead after the second day of a tournament...
7. Sometimes you have to walk across campus to another building...in heels.
Tournament dress is formal, so a lot of girls wear heels. A lot of times, there will be an event in a separate building. Imagine being on an unfamiliar college campus, having to find another building with little no to help or guidance, in heels. Especially if the campus is on a hill.
8. It makes you a better speaker.
Being on a speech and debate team allows you to be more comfortable talking in front of an audience. You learn critical speaking skills and get constructive criticism on how to be a better speaker. If only speech and debate was a replacement for a public speaking class.
9. Sometimes it's just you and the judge.
You're allowed to be double entered in your bracket. There's Bracket A, Bracket B, and Bracket C. You can be 6 events total, meaning you can be in up to 2 events in each bracket. When you're double entered and the other competitors in your rooms are as well, often times it ends up just being you and the judge in the room. It can get a little awkward, but sometimes it's more comfortable because you don't have to worry about making eye contact with people on 2 completely opposite sides of the room.
10. Your team is amazing.
Joining speech and debate in college is one the best decisions I've made. You meet so many incredible people not only on your team but from other schools as well. You make lifelong friends, it's a great resume builder, and you learn how to be comfortable with public speaking.
Everyone should join their school's speech and debate team, whether in high school or college. I promise you that you won't regret it.