Historically, competitive debating has been regarded as the monopoly of students who study legal or politically oriented courses at university. This weird hobby of arguing on highly relevant societal issues against strangers was later extended to people who study other conventional subjects like Economics, Philosophy, and English. The fundamental aim of this article is to talk about how, in the status quo, this trend is rapidly changing, with people from a wide range of educational backgrounds becoming highly competent debaters.
For freshers who enter university with the hope of having a strong balance of social life and academic commitments, societies act as the perfect platform to meet new people, and possibly gain new insight into the things that they are particularly passionate about. Warwick Debating Society, one of the few hundred societies that you will come across on the Student Union page, has for long offered a safe space for people who want to discover themselves, gain understanding of complex global issues or just have some chill time with even more chill people. WDS has always aimed to open itself to students from various backgrounds by offering an inclusive ecosystem which is structured around extensive speaker development and a highly supportive executive which constantly motivates its members to take that extra step to become better debaters.
To focus on why debating is a relevant activity for everyone, regardless of the degree that they are doing, we need to talk about the fundamental benefits of debating. For long, the activity has been perceived as the torch bearer of people who want to improve their public speaking, and get over that clamping fear of talking in front of a crowd. But a few months into debating, people realise that the element of public speaking is highly miniscule in comparison to the kind of skills that one develops through this activity. Talking about global issues repeatedly offers a strong motivation to read about stuff which one would normally ignore, primarily because they would want to look smart the next time they speak on the Israel-Palestine conflict, Donald Trump’s idiosyncrasies or even the legitimacy of marriage in today’s culture. Debating pushes you to think about issues outside the normal scope of thought, fundamentally because in a conventional debate, seven other people would be talking about the same topic in a space of one hour, and every single person would offer wide ranging perspectives. Therefore, this activity isn’t just for people who study politics, law or economics, but for anyone who wants to develop an informed view of highly relevant issues that affect them in their day to day life.
Warwick Debating Society is particularly proud of the fact that its executive has been formed by people who study a wide variety of subjects, ranging from Economics to Liberal Arts to Accounting and Finance. This offers evidence that people can, regardless of their educational background, enjoy debating and excel at it with a little effort and truly, the results can be astonishing at times. The next time you go to the society fair, you will probably find a group of people arguing about something, which would invariably be filled with standard Warwick banter. Just go up them and say hi, it might just be a start to something absolutely amazing.