Hey Everyone

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Hey everyone!

My name is Caitlin and I'm a parliamentary debater. If you've never heard of parli debate before, don't worry -- it's most common at the college level. Unfortunately, I went to a really small high school, so I didn't get the chance to compete in debate until college. However, I did get to perfect my public speaking skills as the co-captain of my high school's mock trial team, which placed first in the region and second state-wide.

Despite my love for mock trial, I wanted to try something different when I got to college. So, one week into my freshman year at Syracuse University, I tried out to attend the Columbia Novice Tournament with SU's Parliamentary Debate Team. Two weeks later I was on the team's executive board, and two months later, I had been elected president. The rest, as they say, is history!

I think the coolest thing about being a parliamentary debater, in particular, is being able to debate a wide range of subjects -- including ones you know absolutely nothing about. I've faced cases on everything from the morality of vegetarianism to the latest Batman movie, and each time, I had only eight minutes to prepare the strongest counter-case I could.

With more practice, though, speaking extemp becomes much easier -- and much more rewarding. Having trained SU's novices two years in a row, and learning along the way myself, I can definitely testify to that!

Which did you prefer? Mock trial, or debate?

How do you prepare for such a wide range of topics? Just study everything like an extemper?

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