A Day in the Life of a Debater

An inside look into Speech and Debate


Being a debater is so much more than simply dressing in a suit and standing in a room, yelling at the guy across from you. It’s hours at a tournament, GRAMS (not milligrams) of caffeine (okay, that may be an exaggeration), and scribbling on notepads at the last second. A day at a tournament typically consists of waking up before the sunrise; running out of your house with your shoes in one hand, your dignity in the other; and stopping at Starbucks, even though you’re already running late.


5:30 AM: It’s time to wake up and finish the rest of your bills. You’ve had your topics for two weeks now, but let’s be real, you didn’t start on anything until last night. It’s time to bust out the trusty yellow legal pad, charge your computer, and get to writing.


6:30 AM: Time to leave the house; if you’re going to make it to the tournament in Irvine, you better take the Toll Roads, or else you’re going to be late. The permission slip says that you must arrive in private auto driven by student with no passengers, but you’re going to pick up your friends because you’re a #REBEL. Don’t forget, you have to stop at Starbucks.


7:00 AM: Okay, you made it to the school. Now it’s time to find Ms. Dagampat and hope that your rounds haven’t been posted yet.


8:30 AM-12:00 PM: The first round. The tournament is running behind (as always), and they’re thirty minutes behind schedule. Now, you have the PO lecturing you that she might just have to shut people out. Oh, joy. Nicole Truong (12) says that the “wait is endless,” even through it’s worth it.


12:01 PM-12:45 PM: You have enough time to run to Subway and get a sandwich and stop for a RedBull. Yay for healthy eating!


1:00 PM- 5:45 PM: Rounds two and three. Here’s to hoping that you did well enough to break to finals, or… maybe not. At this point, you’re oily, tired, and just want to get home and take a shower. The drive home feels like it’s going to be ages away–that’s because you know it will be.


6:45 PM: Breaks are posted; you did it, you broke to finals. Here goes nothing. Unfortunately, you didn’t prepare for out rounds and you are in no way, shape, or form prepared yet. Time to bust out the legal pad, and your phone, once again.


7:30 PM-8:30 PM: The finals round. After the RedBull you had at 7:00, you’re ready to take on anything. You wrote a great speech, and now it’s time to shine.


9:00 PM: It’s time to run to dinner, at least Chipotle is still open.


10:00 PM: It’s time for the awards–aka time to sit through an hour of schools being announced that you don’t know. When the time finally comes for them to announce the YLHS awards, debate is always last. You have to wait for OPP, Impromptu, etc. The wait never ends.


11:00 PM: Now, it’s time for you to either go home and go to bed, or go get some boba with your friends. Either way, you’re done for the night.