This week, I’m counseling debate camp. I’m back in the brick buildings of my high school, selling incoming freshman on the merits of giving up weekends and school nights for tournaments and researching. I’m telling them about the friendships they’ll make, the community they’ll be a part of, the ways debate will benefit them in the classroom.
And all of this is true: My best high school memories center around debate. My boyfriend of two and a half years is a former debate partner; two of my closest friends I met at debate. Pictures hang in my room of our tight-knit group frolicking around Boston, DC, and the North Carolina boondocks at tournaments that were more fun than any exotic family vacation. I’ve had more interesting conversations on the backs of buses or in hotel hallways than I ever did in classroom discussions.
But I found myself wavering when my dad confronted me at dinner last night: “If you had to do it again, would you? Read the rest of this entry »
In an earlier post, I discussed the value of dropping extracurriculars to benefit your writing life. That solves for the issue of time by telling you what not to take on, but it doesn’t tell you what you should do: what classes you should take, what non-writing extracurriculars are good, or what you should do with your newfound free time.
At this age, you’re expected to fulfill certain roles. First and foremost, you are a student, expected to take a certain amount of classes and receive in those classes at least halfway decent grades. And, despite my earlier post, I imagine many of you find it hard to fathom dropping every one of your non-writing extracurriculars. (I get it; I joined the Debate team freshman year and never looked back, despite its huge time suck from my creative and academic life. Some things just do it for you.)
The new dilemma, then, is not what to eliminate from your life but what to selectively add to it. You can’t avoid classes, but you can pick only those that will work towards your creative life and minimize the impact of those devils you can’t avoid. Here’s my advice: Read the rest of this entry »