As someone who’s introvert and was rarely doing any public speaking, it is very challenging for me to talk in front of a lot of people, and this also apply with debate. But lately, I really want to prove myself that I can actually do public speaking. So then, when I know that there is this debate competition called ‘World Scholar’s Cup’, I feel like it could help me improve my self-confidence and public speaking skill. And that’s why I joined this competition.
Right now some of you might be thinking, what is World Scholar’s Cup? Well, as I said before, it is a team debate competition with 3 people in each teams. But that’s not the only activities they have in this event. There are also Collaborative Writing, Scholar’s Challenge, and Scholar’s Bowl. I will explain these activities throughout the story.
After practicing for several months, the regional round (or also known as the qualifier for the Global Round) was held last week in Sekolah Ciputra (day 1) and Universitas Ciputra (day 2). I think I’ve learned so much things from joining WSC, so let’s just start with the story!
*Saturday, May 11 2019*
Saturday was the first day of World Scholar’s Cup. There were three activities we did; Team Debate, Collaborative Writing, and Scholar’s Challenge. But first, we got to watch some opening performances from the students of Sekolah Ciputra and speeches from the principle and representatives of WSC.
Long story short, the representatives of WSC, whose name are Robert and Joseph (or also known as Joga), talks about many things. From the aim of WSC to introducing the name of the World Scholar’s Cup’s mascot (Jerry and Skittles), and also cracked some (un)funny jokes.
Me and my friends who also joined WSC, enjoy the opening ceremony very much. Robert and Joga were hilarious and fun. Until they almost made us forgot about our first activity: debate.
One of my friend told me beforehand that the motion for the competition will be easier than the one we practiced in school. So a part of me was kind of relieved, but at the same time I was still nervous because there are three rounds of debate I needed to do.
My first round of debate was definitely not my best performance in debating. I was still in the process of adaptation with the environment and also adaptation in making a 4 minutes debate script in only 15 minutes.
The motion I got for that round was ‘That students should be allowed to choose their own classmates’, and I was in the negative side. As the third speaker for my team, I must sum up their arguments and think fast to form a rebuttal while the opposition team tell their arguments.
To be honest, I was extremely overwhelmed by the tasks I must did in such a short amount of time. Especially seeing how the opposition team got a great teamwork and created some amazing arguments. However from this round, my team gained so many experiences and insights on how to become a better debater. Actually, this insight didn’t only came from our own mind, but it’s also from the opposition team since we were given 90 seconds to give each other feedback.
In my opinion, the feedback time became one of my favorite thing in WSC. Other than the fact that it could make everyone a better debater, it also shows how at the end, the two opposing teams are still friends with each other.
After knowing how debate feels like, slowly but surely, my arguments and public speaking skill improved a lot. From the first round where I was still stuttering and sort of puzzled in making the rebuttals, to the second round where I can control my nervousness, and then lastly the third round where I can just speak the rebuttals clearly without having to always read my script.
Collaborative Writing was the next activity we did after three round of debate. In this activity, each team were given 6 topics from 6 different subjects. Each team member must choose one topic to write an essay about, but no one in a team can choose the same topic.
Then, each team discussed about what they will write in their essay and also did some research about their topic of choice. The time we had to do all of it was about 45 minutes. After 45 minutes has passed, we started to write our essay individually for an hour. Lastly, there were 15 minutes for us to check and revise our teammates’ essays.
The topic that I chose was from the subject Social Studies, and the topic itself was: ‘If someone come up to you and say. “Choosing your own culture’s food is a form of racism.” How will you answer that?’
I discussed about this topic for about 10-15 minutes with my teammates, then I immediately did a research about the relation between food and culture, and how our genetics can determine our taste bud and our food preference. At the end, my essay consist of how culture correlates with food, how culture can determines the people’s food preference, and about how every human in this world should have the same right and freedom to express their thought and choosing what they want. Even if it’s just about food choices.
I think, the key in this part of the competition is to make your essay as persuasive as possible, and to do that it’s better to at least include one of your experience related to the topic. So that it would seem more interesting and legit. But if you don’t have any experience related to the topic, then you can just do a lot of research from reliable source. The point is, the more persuasive your essay is, the better.
Our last activity in the first day of the World Scholar’s Cup is Scholar’s Challenge. I don’t think I will talk much about this activity, because the only think we did was answering 120 questions from 6 subjects in only an hour. And believe me, it was hectic and everyone seems to have a slight mental breakdown during the activity. But thank God, I made it through although I have to admit that I answered some of the questions based on luck (hehe.., don’t do this).
In that first day, I also found something else I really like about WSC. It’s the motion, topic and questions. For the motion and topic, don’t expect it to be so complicated. In fact, all of it were very simple and we could relate it to our lives. Like my first debate round topic: ‘That students should be allowed to choose their own classmates’. This motion (just like any other motions and topics we were given) could make us think about how we live our life right now since it’s related. So with this kind of motion, our mind could automatically imagine what if the topic or motion happens in our life. This means our logical thinking can work optimally with it.
And for the questions, it was also mind-blowing. If you think the questions in the Scholar’s Challenge would include the definition, examples, and those standard questions in a test, then you’re 100% wrong. All of the questions needs our logical thinking for it to be solved. For example, I found a questions like this: ‘If the author of ‘Invisible Man’ sees the painting: ‘Hiding in the City’ by Liu Bolin, then he would most likely say ….’. In my opinion, with answering this kind of questions, we can really understand the actual definition of each terms or topics, and we can understand the perspective of people who are probably mentioned in some questions. And I’m sure we can’t reach this level of understanding with the test-standard questions.
*Sunday, May 12 2019*
Now, let’s move on to the second day where everyone seems much more relaxed. Well this is not weird, because that day our agenda was only Scholar’s Bowl, Debate Showcase, Talent Show, and Award Ceremony. And none of those activities requires many logical thinking as in the first day.
Starting from Scholar’s Bowl, it’s just like Scholar’s Challenge but in teams. Each questions have certain amount of points, depending on how hard it is. The way we answered it was by clicking the right button on the clicker that were given to every team. So the aim here is to gain as many points as we can.
To make the story compact, I was so surprised about how my team did very well in this activity, and was successful in gaining quite a lot of points. Especially because every time everyone did a simulation of Scholar’s Bowl in school, my team was always in the last place. But turns out, the simulation didn’t affect on whether we did well or not in the actual Scholar’s Bowl, and I’m very happy for that.
The activity continued with the Debate Showcase. In this activity, the top 8 debaters were called to debate on the stage (4 people in each team), and the 10 best debaters below them were called to be the panel judges. The other scholars that weren’t called just need to listen to the debate. And if they want to, they can tell their opinion about the motion in the Forum Discussion after the debate.
In the Debate Showcase, the motion was: ‘That teenagers should live in poverty for at least a month’. In my perspective, I truly against this motion. Some people might think that it would make teenagers more independent, brave and knows how poor people feels, but there will be too much consequences. First of all, there will be no one to make sure the teenagers are safe mentally and physically. Second of all, this also means that teenagers will delay 1 year of their education, which is something that no one wants.
But nonetheless, both of the team actually gave a lot of strong arguments. And from watching the debate, I’ve learned so much about how to use body language and gesture to make the speech more persuasive and how to make a strong arguments and rebuttal. Other than that, it’s also fun and interesting to see many perspectives in both the debate and Forum Discussion.
The Talent Show was the activity where I suddenly noticed my improvement. This is the activity where scholars can show their talents in front of everyone. Therefore, I took that chance to perform the song ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’ by James Arthur with some of my friends: Mazaya, Happy, and Kynya. The three of us (me, Kynya and Mazaya), sang the song, and Happy played the piano for the background music.
Before we performed, Mazaya asked me to introduce everyone before we perform, just like the previous performers did. I didn’t know how I got the confidence until I agree with her. So then when we were on the stage, it was not hard for me to introduce myself, and my friends. Maybe because all of the debate I did the previous day, I felt so much more confident than before.
The performance went great, and after many other amazing performances, it was the time for the Award Ceremony. Unlike most of my friends, I was pretty chill during the ceremony, because I was already satisfied by everything I’ve learned during the World Scholar’s Cup. That’s why I thought, even if I can’t win any medal, I could still be happy because of my experiences in this event.
Turns out, I achieved 7 medals from joining WSC! I was so incredibly grateful that I passed my expectation. Those 7 medals consist of 4 silver medals and 3 gold medals, and I won it for: Debate Champion (silver), Team Writing (silver), Champion Scholar (silver), Champion Team (silver), Team Bowl (gold), Writing Champion (gold), Challenge Subjects Award: Science (gold). Then, what’s better is that my team and everyone from my school were qualified for the Global Round! This means we will need to choose which Global Round we want to attend (since it will be held in several countries), and I’m sure I will gather so many more experience and insights during the upcoming event.
Now that I know how does joining WSC feels like, in my opinion it’s more than just a competition where someone needs to be better than the others. It feels more like a celebration of learning where we can either learn from other scholars, or found out our undiscovered ability. Either way, I truly believe that the World Scholar’s Cup is the best competition I ever participated in, and I can not wait for the upcoming experiences I will get from this event. Bye!