By Noah Spicer, Fellow Class of 2018
A few weeks ago, I had the honor of representing Morehouse College at the Pan American Universities Debating Championship. I competed against college students across the Americas in British Parliamentary debate and participated in the championship round. Since joining my college's debate team this past fall, I have been to seven states I had never seen before and traveled to two countries (Panama and South Africa). I have made lasting relationships not only within my own team but people from around the country and world.
Doing debate is truly a passion of mine, that goes all the way back to high school. The intensive research, the late-night practices, extended time away from home, all of it inspired me and instilled a thirst for knowledge that still carries to this day. However, heading into my first year of college, I made the decision to forgo participating in debate. I choose to prioritize mastering my classes, stepping out of my comfort zone by pursuing activities I otherwise wouldn't, and most importantly I made friends. All of these other pursuits helped to make me a more well-rounded individual who became more balanced with enjoying school, but also my social life.
While I did make tremendous strides when it came to developing my personal and social skills, I missed debating. I missed the intellectual challenge, the comradery of being on a team, I missed doing what I love. I knew that I wanted to join the debate team, but I needed to confer with people who I trusted. I reached out to my Law School Yes We Can (LSYWC) mentorship team. Notably Jesse Brown and Kato Crews who have been instrumental in helping me navigate what is a critical year for me. Both of them have been there to listen to my concerns and reassure me that I am on the right path. When I spoke to both of them about the idea of joining the debate team, they were both enthusiastic about me rediscovering a passion, and of course, gave me the cautionary warning about not falling behind in classes. All in all, they were able to relate to me on a personal level, which is why I am so fortunate to have them as mentors on my journey.
Since joining the debate team, I have made even more lasting friendships with people not only from my school but at places like Cornell and Harvard as well as around the world. My cultural and intellectual horizons have expanded, not only through travel but through the intense and complex debates about issues that affect people across the globe. Doing what you are passionate it about is a privilege, not everyone can do what they love, and this experience has taught me that every moment we get to pursue our passion is worthwhile. The debate team has knocked the rust off of some of the skills I had developed previously and made me even more excited about attending law school and pursuing more of my passions. I cannot say I would have made that decision without the support of my mentorship team, which is why I am so grateful to have them in my life. Even if Jesse is a Thunders fan :).