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How Speech and Debate Changed My Life

During my freshman year of college, I reluctantly joined the speech and debate team offered at Valdosta State University. I have a complicated personality and I wouldn’t call myself shy, but I would get really anxious about public situations. I loved the idea of arguing, talking to people, and changing someone’s perspective on an issue so I decided to join. Speech and debate has done a variety of things for my personality and strengthened a lot of my other skills and I’ll go into that as we diverge into the article. I’m currently in my sophomore year and I am now the vice president of the speech and debate team so, I’m going to show you four ways in which speech and debate has changed and is changing my life as how I present myself. Hopefully, after reading you might be interested in joining.


A photo of scrabble words assembled to spell \"anxiety\"
uploaded to Pixabay by Wokandapix



1. Mental Health

I’ve hated public speaking for as long as I can remember, ever since I was a little girl, and it was always something that brought me high amounts of anxiety and stress. However, as I joined the speech and debate team I became more comfortable with talking to people in large groups and talking to people I’ve never seen before. Whether that was trying to convince people of what I’m arguing and debating on a topic. I’ve seen that my social life and how I present myself has overall changed in a positive way due to my participation on the team, and it’s benefits outreach to different parts of my life even away from the team experience.  

Photo of people at work putting their hands on top of each other
Photo by fauxels from Pexels

2. Making friends

Being on the speech and debate team has made me experience a group of people that I’ve never would have met before, and now people that I see regularly on a weekly basis that I’m happy to call friends and or acquaintances who I can talk about issues with. Especially in the times of the Coronavirus where a lot of clubs and friends can’t meet in person, speech and debate allows us to see each other and meet at least virtually up to three times a week, so I get to talk to people and I don’t feel as closed off as I would if I wasn’t in the club. We also as a team participate in different activities outside of the club and when we go on trips together, so that’s always fun to do with a group of friends as opposed to by yourself. I’ve always had trouble expressing myself and having a group of people who I can talk to on a regular basis has seriously helped me. I actually met my best friend and now roommate due to speech and debate and I never would have met her if I didn’t join the club, so it’s one of my happiest things that I’ve taken out of the debate.

Giovanni Rufino / Netflix

Speaking skills

 Getting away from all the emotional and mental benefits of the club,  speech and debate can also result in a variety of raw skills that will benefit you in the long run. Being able to participate in public speaking and being able to correctly outline what you’re saying in a way that convinces someone is a great skill to have in your adult life. Whether that is when you will be in an interview, trying to make a marketing claim to your future boss, or even trying a right a research paper. Practice overall makes perfect and being our highly competitive world today where you have to sell yourself to an employer having the technical and speaking skills to help yourself gives you a leg up in most situations.


Current Events

black lives matter protests
Photo by Clay Banks from Unsplash

Knowing about politics is becoming more and more important in our current events and global climate. Just being part of Speech and debate resulted in me, someone who had very little background knowledge on politics, being able to have these educated conversations, and be able to back up what I’m saying with actual evidence. Overall my entire debate experience has helped me become a more well-rounded and educated person is current events in politics, pop culture, social justice, and many more topics.


Hello, my names Yetunde Oluwadare (pronounced Yeah-tune-day) I am 18 years old and a freshman at VSU. I love to paint, draw, and cook in my free time and I'm also a psychology major.
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