Thank you for submitting all these responses! Here is the special edition for February!
- How can improve over the summer without going to camp?
This is a great question. During the summers in which I did not go to camp, I did not do any debate work. However, here is what I suggest doing if you’re willing to do work without a debate camp:
- Find what you’re passionate about debating and get comfortable with it. No matter what positions you read the most and how prominent/prepped out it is on the national circuit, building a deep understanding of it builds the ability to defend it against whatever prep there is.
- When the topic comes out in August, start preparing case ideas and writing things out so you can get ahead.
- It may be hard to find someone to drill with for strategy specific drills, but camp is also great for skill building as well. A. Practice flowing, this will help you in round and also train your ears to be more sensitive to spreading and build comprehension. I used fast-paced rap songs when I taught because those are pretty interesting, and the rhyming makes it a bit harder to decipher everything that is being said. However, using recorded debate rounds off YouTube is just as if not more useful/applicable. B. Spreading drills, your speaker points and your Win/Loss record WILL improve if you practice spreading, not only for clarity but for efficiency also. C. Efficiency drills use old rounds for which rebuttal redos are necessary and do a rebuttal while working on being more efficient. This is more useful if you have someone that stops you and makes you start over for inefficiencies like: “Literally, insofar as” and repeating arguments that were made in earlier sections of the flow.
- How do you make the most out of camp?
- This may seem obvious, but GO TO Lab, Rotations, Electives etc. (unless you are really feeling sick). I say this because as camp goes on, students often get tired and/or feeling rebellious and just do not attend these really helpful sessions and it defeats the purpose of having consistent learning schedule every day.
- Utilize office hours: it is really helpful to get you to do specific work with people who specialize in certain topics/areas/authors. It is also a good time to do homework/get help with it so that you don’t have to stay up late.
- Get some sleep! It is admirable to complete every single homework assignment but not at the expense of a decent amount of sleep throughout camp. If you think you’re having an issue with completing most of your homework every night and getting stressed out, speak to your lab leaders and just be honest
- Work hard and work towards some goal. It might be helpful to go into camp with a sort of goal regarding which things you especially want to improve on by the end of camp!
- Make friends and enjoy your time at camp. This may also seem obvious, but camp is a great place to make friends you can prep with or see around the circuit and also network If you’re looking for people to coach you. Having a good time at camp is important, and if you’re not happy you should reach out to someone on staff to talk about it.
- Tips for choosing a camp?
I will keep this general because I work at TDC and NSD and have an implicit bias.
- Check pricing, financial aid applications, and scholarship – figure out what you can afford, including what your parent/guardians are capable of contributing. Apply for scholarships (e.g. Voices Foundation and Unique Link scholarships) and consider what camps you would be able to go to if you received those scholarships to fill in gaps in your financial contribution. Also reach out to camps about financial aid if you think that is a special barrier/circumstance that should be considered beyond your general financial aid application.
- Location and Timing – If necessary, discuss with your parents/guardians if there are any boundaries on how far you can travel for camp or any locations which they feel more or less comfortable with for some reason and reach out to camp directors for more information if necessary. Go over your summer calendar and make sure the weeks of camp do not conflict with other obligations/plans such as vacations and internships.
For the responses: I do two events and I put a lot more effort into the individual one. However, the other one is a duo event and my partner wants me to go to tournaments with them when I’d rather do the other event. I’m not sure if I should quit the duo event because it’s fun and I don’t want to leave my partner without a partner, but I also don’t want to keep stopping them from going to tournaments.
- I did not do a speech event, so I am not 100% sure how to answer this, but generally: be honest with your partner about which events you want to do and then try to balance them out. If you think the duo event is fun, then don’t quit it but plan ahead of time with a tournament calendar of which tournaments you’ll go to in which event. I know with some tournaments you can double-enter, that might be useful for some tournaments if possible.
Goodbye to debate post? Yay or nay?
- If you want. I don’t think I did one because I didn’t really feel like it. However, if you really want to make a long post about it and shout out people who heavily contributed to your career because you think debate was that important to you – go for it.
I’m planning to apply for an at-large to the TOC in LD. How does the selection process work? I’m from a relatively small school, will that affect my chances? How well do you think one would need to do in order to at-large? Most importantly, are there any tips for applying to at-large?
- I am sorry, but I do not know the answer to this because I have no idea. I think a lot of people who are not on the committee are also left guessing a lot as well.