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What I Learned From a Season of Forensics

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What I Learned From a Season of Forensics

Before the official season started, I reassured myself it was going to be fine. With my three years of experience with middle school forensics, I knew the high school season was going to be perfectly manageable.

I thought it was going to be easy.

I thought wrong.

Going into my first tournament, my over-extended hubris got in my way.

Upon hearing a well-known senior orator in my second preliminary round, I knew that there was so much I needed to learn.

Her speech had captivating content, and her performance was impeccable. She had what I wanted but I didn’t want to admit it.  

On the car ride home, I reflected back on what had happened during the day. I knew something needed to change.

It was my attitude.  

I needed to acknowledge others’ strengths and realize my own shortcomings.

I needed to get rid of the attitude that came with the obstinate remarks that would have paved the way for a disastrous and upsetting season.

I needed to establish an open mindset that would allow for learning, acceptance, and discovery.

I truly needed to learn from my opponents.

I started taking notes of the unique ways their content and execution helped to engage the audience.

I also started opening up to them, chatting amongst everyone between rounds, smiling warmly when they passed by in the halls and congratulating them. Interacting with my fellow competitors not only boosted my morale, but also gave me insight into each of their unique stories- their journey. I was able to hear the stories of their successes and failures. This gave me a whole new perspective.

Each week I practiced. My spare time was devoted to tweaking the content, fixing each and every place I would shift tone or expression.  

It wasn’t easy. Questions came. Will alI my hard work pay off? Is it going to be worth it? Do I even enjoy Forensics?

But, I began to notice something. As my attitude and work ethic changed, so did my scores. Doing well at the invitationals, qualifying for regionals, making it to States as the only freshman in an individual event from our school, and finally placing fourth in the State, I can say “yes” to all of the previous questions.

But beyond just the art of speaking and performing, I learned that becoming a state finalist was more than just a title or a trophy. Standing up on stage at the awards ceremony, I realized what being a forensics finalist was truly about.

That moment for me symbolized the countless hours of work I had put into improving my performance. It symbolized the hours of coaching sessions, the hours of tweaking and perfecting, the hours of crying my heart out when I thought that the right choice was to quit, the hours of nervousness and fear during and before rounds. Up on that stage everything came together.

I realized that the reason for my success was because I had become open to learning. I had to make the decision to open my mind to something new in an arena that wasn’t. I had to become humble, eliminate my ego, and look for answers myself.

My name had not even been close to being on the “Oratory States Finals Predictions for 2017,” yet I had ended up placing. I had proved those who belittled me wrong, but most importantly, I had learned to overcome myself.

If I had not changed my mindset from the start, I would have gotten nowhere.

About the Writer
Jenny She, Managing Editor

Hi, my name is Jenny She and I am a Managing Editor on the Hawkeye newspaper. I am a junior this year and this is also my 3rd year on staff. Outside...

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What I Learned From a Season of Forensics