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My time in debate has made me more aware and tolerant of other people's views - ApplyTexas Topic A

maggienowlin 2 / 1  
Nov 22, 2015   #1
Thanks for any suggestions to structure and punctuation.

I had never been very interested in the alternate views and beliefs that my peers may have held. It wasn't that I intentionally blocked them out, but that I was never in an environment where those views could be openly discussed and explored. I found this environment when I joined debate, however, it wasn't in the process of learning the official styles of debate that I encountered these alternate beliefs. It was during the free time and Friday breaks in which wildly varied views, from European-esque socialism to libertarianism to far-right conservatism, were all expressed by the other debaters. These views grew into discussions ranging over a number of subjects, issues, and news stories through the years, all with two commonalities.

Firstly, the views all made sense. Even when the points being made by each side were directly contradictory, they always had researched statistics, moving analogies, and stirring phrases that made their way seem like the right one. These students are the most intelligent, highest ranking members of our classes; we didn't come to school and simply spout what we'd heard our parents say the day before. We had opinions that were well-researched and informed, that always combined the unique viewpoints and upbringings of the students with the information they used to form and shape those opinions. We showed that, whatever viewpoint someone may espouse, it is better to judge it based on its own merits rather than by the fact that it's different than one's own. As a somewhat left-wing person from Texas, I've often been surrounded, and will likely remain surrounded, by peers whose politics are vastly different than mine. I learned in debate, more than anywhere else, that the true differences in such discussions are not between people from the left, right, and center, but between those who bring well-thought out, articulate, mature points to the table and those who still exercise the belief than being louder and angrier than your opponent marks the victor.

Secondly, the debates are never allowed to influence the friendships between classmates. Even when voices are raised, it's in passion rather than anger. I realize that there is far more to each of us than how we feel about politics and the economy, and the debates are as much about stimulating our minds as they are about arguing over issues and disagreements. Even when the libertarian went head to head with the socialist concerning the size of the Federal government, as soon as the argument was finished, they went back to talking about everyday things such as NHS, relationships, and the latest Colbert Report episode. I can't say that this is where I learned to not let politics ruin friendships, but it was my first experience with true compartmentalization of arguments. I learned that bringing out the politics is alright, so long as it's put back away when the debate is over.

My time in debate has made me more aware and tolerant of other people's views and has shown me that friendships are more than mere agreement on the latest hot-button issue. If you truly want to meet individuals of varying beliefs and different opinions than your own, join debate.
vangiespen - / 4,137 1449  
Nov 22, 2015   #2
Hi Maggie, I am glad to to tell you that your essay is most certainly interesting, engaging, and portrays the kind of person that you are in a manner that anybody, not just a reviewer will take note of. However, rather than saying you joined debate, you should change the reference to when you joined the "debate team" and what you learned as a member of the "debate team". you see, debate is the name of the club and the description of the activity done. The people who perform the activity are known as "debaters" who are members of the "debate team". That little term adjustment should help to improve your description of the world where you were involved with people who have different ideas from yours.

Right now, it feels like your second paragraph runs extraordinarily long. Would it be possible for you to shorten the paragraph without affecting the content or topic you are presenting? Try to simplify the description of the members of the team and instead, concentrating on focusing the statement on your point of view as a "left wing" Texan instead. After all, the essay should talk more about your differing opinion instead of a generalized description as you have presented at the moment.

Your paper actually presents a unique response to the prompt. It is something that not all students would consider an appropriate response because it would be a bit difficult to discuss. However, you managed to pull the discussion off to your benefit. If I have one small critique of your essay, it is that you did not present the reasons that made you engage in debate as an activity. I believe that while your opening paragraph is acceptable at the moment, it is not as strong as it could be. My opinion, is that your opening statement can be strengthened immensely by the presentation of your personal reasons for having joined a world where you knew that you would be faced with beliefs and ideas that are far different from yours. It gives the decision to join debate and engage in the activity more sense and reason.
irhame 52 / 50 25  
Nov 23, 2015   #3
My time in debate has made me more aware ...

the debate has made me aware about tolerance. it also showed me that friendship is more than mere agreement on hot issues. if you want to meet individual characteristics, you can join debate.

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